What looked like a fairy tale was actually a lot more complex than a meet-cute involving the son of a president. People reports that a new book by J. Randy Taraborrelli, The Kennedy Heirs, explores all of the intricacies of the relationship between JFK Jr. and his wife, Carolyn Bessette. In the book, Taraborrelli explains that the two had an immediate connection, but the storybook romance was just a facade. Behind the gloss and glamour of their wedding, there were some dark secrets.
"John and Carolyn loved each other," Taraborrelli says. "But their struggles were much more real than people realize."
The Kennedy Heirs delves into the less publicized side of John Jr. and Carolyn, including the days they spent partying. Taraborrelli alleges that there were people who saw them doing drugs as a way to deal with the stress involved with handling the press on a daily basis. JFK Jr. had been dealing with it his whole life, but Taraborrelli writes that Bessette never really got used to it. Add to that the fact that the Kennedys never really accepted her and it's not that surprising that she was swimming in stress and anxiety. Taraborrelli adds that John never really understood how Bessette felt. She felt like the press was constantly hounding her, but for him, the reporters and photographers were just a part of life.
"This was the nineties when young people, like John and Carolyn, sometimes partied," he added. "They had experiences the way people often do. I found no evidence of any addiction or problems for either of them."
Taraborrelli also explained that Anthony Radziwill's cancer diagnosis also shook their marriage. Radziwill, JFK Jr.'s cousin, was one of John's closest companions. Bessette felt like she could never get through to her husband while he was mourning his cousin's death and when she sought the support of one of her friends, the night ended with a kiss and a confrontation with her husband.
"He opened the door to find John Kennedy, his face twisted in anger. John swung a punch. 'Stay away from my goddamn wife,' [John said]," Taraborrelli explained. "Both wanted to improve their marriage. John didn’t want to be one of those Kennedy men who didn’t care how his wife feels."
The incident may have been the catalyst to the couple seeking therapy. Taraborrelli writes that the two would be working on their marriage until they passed away on July 16, 1999. In the two decades since their untimely death, speculation about their relationship troubles have continued to make headlines. It's something that Taraborrelli delves into with his new book, but no matter what people think they know, he wants readers to come away with one fact: that John Jr. and Carolyn loved each other no matter what. One question that he does pose is a big one. Was that love enough to make it last? With pressure coming from every direction, nobody knows for sure.
"They were working on their relationship at the time they died. They thought they had all the time in the world to figure this out. Together they had the most thrilling highs and the most crushing blows," he said. "They really did love each other, but the question I ask in the book and the question they asked themselves was, 'Is that enough?' Their love for each other was undeniable, but was it enough considering everything that was working against them?"