Jackie Kennedy Onassis was the wife of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, and First Lady of the United States during his presidency from 1961 until his assassination in 1963.
Find out more facts about her, here!
1. Jacqueline Lee “Jackie” Kennedy Onassis was born July 28, 1929, in Southampton, New York.
2. Wall Street stockbroker John Vernou “Black Jack” Bouvier III (1891–1957) and socialite Janet Norton Lee (1907–1989).
3. Bouvier’s mother was of Irish ancestry, and her father’s ancestry included French, Scottish, and English.
4. Named after her father, Bouvier was baptized at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in Manhattan.
5. She was raised in the Catholic faith.
6. Her younger sister Lee was born in 1933.
7. Bouvier spent her early childhood years in Manhattan and at Lasata, the Bouviers’ country estate in East Hampton on Long Island.
8. She idolized her father, who likewise favored her over her sister, calling his eldest child “the most beautiful daughter a man ever had”.
9. Biographer Tina Flaherty attributes her father’s praise to fueling Bouvier’s confidence in herself, and her sister Lee has stated that she would not have gained her “independence and individuality” had it not been for the relationship she had with their father and paternal grandfather.
10. From an early age, Bouvier was an enthusiastic equestrienne and successfully competed in the sport.
11. Horse-riding would remain a lifelong passion.
12. She also took ballet lessons, was an avid reader, and excelled at learning languages, with French being particularly emphasized in her upbringing.
13. Bouvier was enrolled in the Chapin School in Manhattan in 1935, which she attended for grades 1–6.
14. While a bright student, she often misbehaved; one of her teachers described her as “a darling child, the prettiest little girl, very clever, very artistic, and full of the devil”.
15. Bouvier’s mother attributed her behavior to her finishing assignments before classmates and then acting out in boredom.
16. Her behavior improved after the headmistress warned her that none of her positive qualities would matter if she did not behave.
17. Bouvier’s parents’ marriage was strained by her father’s alcoholism and extramarital affairs; the family had also been in constant financial problems since the Wall Street Crash of 1929.
18. They separated in 1936 and divorced four years later, with the press publishing intimate details of the split.
19. She attended the Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Maryland, from 1942 to 1944, and Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Connecticut, from 1944 to 1947.
20. She graduated among the top students of her class and received the Maria McKinney Memorial Award for Excellence in Literature.
21. Bouvier enrolled as a student in Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, in the fall of 1947.
22. After some time, she transferred to The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in French literaturein 1951.
23. Before dating John F. Kennedy, Jackie was once engaged to a Wall Street banker named John Husted at the age of 22. She broke it off after three months in 1952, because she was reportedly hesitant about becoming a housewife.
24. During the early years of her marriage to John F. Kennedy, she took continuing education classes in American History at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
25. Bouvier and then-U.S. Representative John F. Kennedy belonged to the same social circle, and were formally introduced by a mutual friend, journalist Charles L. Bartlett, at a dinner party in May 1952.
26. Bouvier was attracted to Kennedy’s physical appearance, charm, wit and wealth.
27. Kennedy was then busy running for the U.S. Senate but after his election in November, the relationship grew more serious and he proposed marriage to her. Bouvier took some time to accept, as she had been assigned to cover the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in London for The Washington Times-Herald.
28. After a month in Europe, she returned to the United States, accepted the proposal, and resigned from her position at the newspaper.
29. Their engagement was officially announced on June 25, 1953.
30. Bouvier and Kennedy were married on September 12, 1953, at St. Mary’s Church in Newport, Rhode Island.
31. After JFK’s assassination, Jackie refused to change out of her bloodstained dress.
32. Though Lady Bird Johnson offered her a change of clothes at Lyndon B. Johnson’s swearing in, Jackie declined with a heartbreaking statement: “Oh no, I want them to see what they’ve done to John.”
33. The outfit would go on to be one of the most famous artifacts from the day her husband was assassinated. It is now kept in a climate-controlled vault outside of Washington.
34. Her iconic pink suit was actually a reproduction of a Chanel design.
35. Though she wasn’t a professional actress, she did win an Emmy. Jackie’s televised White House tour exposed millions to the ins and outs of her restoration project on the iconic building, eventually earning her an Emmy.
36. She held a job all the way to her death. From 1978 to 1994, the former First Lady worked as a book editor for Doubleday, an American publishing company located in New York City. While there, she worked on several JFK biographies.
37. Despite her own background as a reporter, Onassis strived to shield her two children from the media during her time in the White House. When press scrutiny and security concerns made it difficult for her young daughter Caroline to travel into the city, Onassis turned the White House’s third floor solarium into a nursery school and invited other kids—some of them children of Kennedy administration staff—to attend.
38. She spoke multiple languages. Onassis was a lifelong student of foreign cultures, and became fluent in French, Spanish and Italian during her school days and European travels.
39. Following her 1968 marriage to Greek billionaire Aristotle Onassis, “Jackie O” became a favorite target of the paparazzi.
40. After Robert Kennedy’s death, Kennedy reportedly suffered a relapse of the depression she had experienced in the days following her husband’s assassination nearly five years prior.
41. On October 20, 1968, Kennedy married her long-time friend Aristotle Onassis, a wealthy Greek shipping magnate who was able to provide the privacy and security she sought for herself and her children.
42. The wedding took place on Skorpios, Onassis’s private Greek island in the Ionian Sea.
43. Following her marriage and now going by the name Jacqueline Onassis, she lost her right to Secret Service protection, an entitlement to a widow of a U.S. president.
44. The marriage brought her considerable adverse publicity, including talk of excommunication by the Roman Catholic church.
45. She was condemned as a “public sinner”.
46. She appeared in Hustler Magazine accidentally. In 1972, she was photographed while sunning herself in the nude on husband Aristotle Onassis’ private Greek Island Skorpios, by a photographer using a telescopic lens on a fishing boat.
47. In November 1993, while participating in a fox hunt in Middleburg, Virginia, Onassis fell from her horse and was taken to the hospital to be examined.
48. A swollen lymph node was discovered in her groin, which was initially believed by the doctor to be caused by an infection.
49. In December, Onassis developed new symptoms, including a stomach ache and swollen lymph nodes on her neck, and was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
50. She began chemotherapy in January 1994, and publicly announced the diagnosis, initially stating that the prognosis was good.
51. While she continued to work at Doubleday, by March, the cancer had spread to her spinal cord and brain, and by May to her liver.
52. She passed away May 18, 1994, 10:15 p.m. in her sleep at age 64.
53. Jackie Kennedy Onassis’s life will be portrayed in the 2017 movie “Jackie”, starring Natalie Portman.