| John F. Kennedy Jr (right) and his wife Carolyn Bessette
By the time they died in a 1999 plane crash, John F. Kennedy Jr, and his wife, Carolyn Bessette, were living a life of drugs, separate beds and violence, according to a new book by Kennedy family biographer Edward Klein excerpted in Vanity Fair yesterday.
In The Kennedy Curse: Why Tragedy Has Haunted America’s First Family for 150 Years, Klein said that two days before he died, Kennedy, the only son of assassinated US President John F. Kennedy, told a friend his marriage was deteriorating.
“It’s got to stop. Otherwise we’re headed for divorce,” Kennedy told the friend in a call from the Stanhope Hotel, where Klein said he took refuge from his wife’s cocaine habit and violent temper.
“I want to have kids but whenever I raise the subject with Carolyn, she turns away and refuses to have sex with me,” Kennedy told the friend. He had picked out a name, Flynn, for the son he dreamed of having, Klein reported. Klein quoted Bessette’s fashion industry friends as saying it was known she was a heavy user of drugs, and that Kennedy caught her snorting lines of cocaine with friends at the couple’s New York apartment. “You’re a cokehead,” Kennedy screamed at his wife.
A staff member from Kennedy’s political magazine, George, told of a dinner in which Bessette made at least half-a-dozen trips to the bathroom, returning to the table with white rings around her nostrils. “We went from bar to bar, and she wanted to come over to my apartment, but I said no, because I knew it would be an all-nighter,” the friend said. The next morning, Kennedy asked why the staffer and his wife were out so late. The staff member replied: “A better question is why your wife didn’t want to go home.”
According to friends, Kennedy worried that Carolyn was cheating on him with old flame, Michael Bergin, a Baywatch actor and former model of Calvin Klein underwear. They continued their affair even after Bessette had moved in with Kennedy, Klein, a Vanity Fair contributing editor as well as Kennedy biographer, said.
Although Bergin cut off the affair after Bessette's marriage, she continued to taunt her husband with Bergin. Klein said the actor also revealed Carolyn’s violent side in an incident in which Bessette got angry after seeing him light an ex-girlfriend’s cigarette at a bar. She showed up at Bergin’s door and threw two heavy candles through a window and a mirror, shattering both. “Then she knocked myVCR onto the floor and jumped on my VCR and squashed it,” Bergin said.
”I ran out of the apartment. I'm very athletic and fast, but she caught up with me and started yelling at me and taunting me, calling me a baby.”
Kennedy's friends suspected that something similar happened to him when he was rushed to an emergency room for an operation to repair a severed nerve. Kennedy said the injury was an accident, but he had told friends that he felt trapped in an abusive relationship. “Carolyn was like a wild horse,” the acquaintance from George told Klein. “She had a trash mouth... She used to call John a fag all the time.”
Public scrutiny drove Bessette into depression, the friend said. She refused to leave their apartment and spent long periods crying, telling friends that she hated “living in a fishbowl.” Klein said Carolyn reportedly stormed out of a marital counselor's office when her drug use was raised.
Klein said Bessette's self-absorption made her late for the fatal 1999 plane ride with her husband and sister, who had arrived at the airport in New Jersey while it was still light. The plane, piloted by Kennedy, went down in darkness off the coast of Martha's Vineyard near Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Klein quotes a hair colorist named Colin Lively as saying he saw Carolyn order a pedicurist to apply her toenail polish three times that day to match a fabric she had brought to the salon. During the pedicure, her mobile phone rang over and over, Lively told Klein.“What'” she said impatiently into the phone.“I told you I'm getting a pedicure.”