Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy Was ‘Irked’ JFK Jr. Never Introduced Her to Mom Jackie; New Book Says It Was One of His Regrets

A new biography of Carolyn Besette-Kennedy reveals a sore spot between her and husband John F. Kennedy Jr. A book, Once Upon a Time: The Amazing Life of Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, out this month from Gallery Books, reveals new details about the couple’s relationship, including the story that Carolyn was upset that John never introduced her to his mother, Jackie Kennedy, before her death on May 19, 1994. According to the biography, excerpted in this week’s issue of PEOPLE, Bessette-Kennedy and John began dating, on and off, in the early ’90s. For a while, John was still seen in public with girlfriend Daryl Hannah, with whom he broke up in 1994.

Portrait of the Kennedy family in the 1930s.

Bachrach/Getty Images

Bessette-Kennedy wasn’t happy with the overlap, or the fact that she couldn’t meet the former first lady.”Carolyn grew increasingly angry that he wouldn’t introduce her to her mother,” writes author Elizabeth Beller. “‘I took him to meet my mom,’ Carolyn told a friend.”

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Speaking to PEOPLE for a story in this week’s issue, Beller says John may have been preoccupied with launching his political magazine at the time George“I think at that point it was hard for him to take anything other than his work too seriously,” says Beller. “If Carolyn met Jackie, I think he knew it would become a life for himself. And maybe he wasn’t quite ready for that.”

Carolyn Bessette with her cousin, sisters and grandmother in 1985

Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy with her family.


“I know he regretted it,” Beller continues. “That’s one of the things he’s said to a few friends, one of his main regrets is that he didn’t meet those two.”

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For more on Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy and her relationship with JFK Jr., pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here.The relationship had its ups and downs before the couple tied the knot in a secret wedding in 1996. “The heat of their relationship between ’92. and in ’94, in part, it was sometimes excluded because [Bessette-Kennedy] broke up with him because of the fact that he didn’t introduce her to Jackie,” says Beller. “[She was] thinking, ‘This can’t be serious unless he really introduces me to his mother.'”

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“Carolyn wasn’t going to put up with something like that,” Beller continues. “A man must protect himself.”

Carolyn and Lauren Bessette in 1982

Carolyn and Lauren Besette in 1982.


Beller notes, however, that Bessette-Kennedy’s desire to meet Jackie may have had something to do with her own family. Her parents, William and Anne Marie Bessette, divorced when she was young. Beller says, “I think for her not being introduced to a parent was a particularly vulnerable point as someone who felt like maybe a parent didn’t stay in her life as much as she would have liked growing up.”

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Beller’s biography explores the complicated relationship between Bessette-Kennedy and John, as well as their tragic end. The couple, along with Bessette-Kennedy’s sister, Lauren, died in a plane crash near Martha’s Vineyard on July 16, 1999. John was 38, Lauren was 34, and Carolyn was 33.

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Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE’s free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best PEOPLE has to offer, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.Once Upon a Time: The Amazing Life of Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy it goes on sale May 21 and is available for pre-order now, wherever books are sold.

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