Who was John Kennedy Junior?

John Kennedy jr” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by John Mathew Smith & www.celebrity-photos.com – Under Commercial use allowed

JFK Junior was the second child of JFK and Jackie Kennedy. His name as an American royalty circulated the media ever since his birth. In 1983 he enrolled in American History at Brown University. His grandfather, his father, uncles and sister, Caroline, had all previously chosen to attend Harvard University. John was the first one to break the family tradition. Then later in 1989 he graduated law school and worked at the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

In his junior year at Brown, John Jr. joined a 6-week program and tutored teens from low-income families. People who knew John always described him as humble, very down-to-Earth and adventure loving. In 1983 after finishing his studies in American History, John Jr. took some time off and flew to India. There he spent his time giving lessons to children in the Delhi’s slums. According to numerous close sources he wanted to pursue an interest in acting, but his mother, Jackie, who was a very influential figure in his life, was not impressed with the idea. John would deny those claims, calling acting “a hobby”.

John was also very charming and he always received lots of female attention. He dated Sarah Jessica Parker, Madonna and Daryl Hannah. In 1992 he eventually met his wife, Carolyn Bessette. Carolyn was a hard worker, she had worked her way to the top, going from a position in retail in a Calvin Klein store to becoming the publicist for their flagship store in Manhattan. 

Carolyn Bessete Kennedy” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by John Mathew Smith & www.celebrity-photos.com – – Under Commercial use allowed

Carolyn did not like the spotlight, she never gave a single interview and in fact, was afraid for her safety. She and John started dating in 1994, two years after they first met. And in 1996 they organized a secret wedding ceremony with only 35 guests on Georgia’s Cumberland Island, away from the paparazzi. No photos from the event were ever published until 2019 when a close friend of John, shared his personal video footage. In it John could be seen giving a toast.

“Carolyn has changed my life in a way that I never thought was possible, and just made me, tonight, the happiest man alive.”

In September 1995 John changed directions and founded his own magazine “George”. It covered political analysis in an entertaining way. The project was ahead of its time and criticized at the time. On its first controversial cover “George” featured Cindy Crawford dressed up in a ruffled shirt as George Washington. John Jr. was not only a founder, he was also an editor-in-chief: conducting information first-hand and writing on his own. The project turned out to be low profitable so in 1999 he was actively attending meetings, looking for new investors. 

In July 1999, John and Carolyn were on their way to attend the wedding of his cousin Rory Kennedy. John had just received his private pilot’s license a year ago and prior to this point he had only flown with an instructor by his side, Jay Biederman. Jay was occupied on that particular evening so John decided to fly by himself. The plane was scheduled to take off earlier but his passengers, Carolyn and her sister, Lauren, arrived late. John was granted the permission to fly even though the weather conditions offered little visibility and other pilots decided not to take off on this evening. He was not only inexperienced, but he was also still recovering from a broken ankle. A friend of John, Dan Samson, was waiting to pick them up from the airport and so when they did not arrive on time, the navy and coast guard were signalized and an intensive search began. The plane was found on the next day, a few days later it was concluded that there were no survivors among the three people on board.

JFK Junior and Carolyn Bessette are still frequently making headlines, they remain one of the most iconic NYC couples of all time. No other due was so interesting to the public in the late 1990’s.

The Last Days of John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. Town&Country Magazine. 2019. Adrienne Gaffney.
Never-Before-Seen Footage of JFK Jr. and Carolyn Bessette’s Wedding to Air in a New Documentary. Town&Country Magazine. 2019. Chloe Foussianes.
JFK Jr.’s short life and daring choices: ‘Someone who lives in a cage, finding a way to escape’. ABC News. 2019. Allie Yang, Monica Delarosa and Alison Lynn.
John F. Kennedy, Jr. 2000 Elaine Landau.

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