14 Crazy Things You Didn’t Know About The Kennedy Family
The Kennedy family is the closest thing to royalty that the United States has. For years, the public has been fascinated by them, and even though there is a wealth of knowledge out there about the family, there’s still so much that people don’t know about the Kennedy dynasty and its tragic past. We have collected 14 crazy facts about the famous family – check it out:
14. Ted Kennedy Survived a Plane Crash
Just seven months after his brother JFK had been assassinated, on June 19, 1964, Ted Kennedy was in a plane crash and survived. He had been flying in a small plane while campaigning for re-election to the Senate when the plane crashed into an orchard. The pilot and Edward Moss, one of Ted’s aids, were killed, while Senator Birch Bayh, Democrat Indiana, and his wife suffered minor injuries. Ted suffered a severe back injury, a punctured lung, broken ribs, and internal bleeding. He spent months recovering in a hospital and suffered chronic back pain after the accident.
13. Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy Was Shunned by Her Family
Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy was one of JFK’s younger sisters. She stunned her very Catholic family when she decided to marry William Cavendish who was known to family and friends as Billy Hartington, Protestant and future duke. Joe Sr. and Rose Kennedy viewed this decision as an unforgivable act of defiance. The only member of the family that supported her relationship with Hartington was her brother Joe Jr. and he was the only person in her immediate family who attended their wedding. After Hartington died just four months after the wedding, Kick was devastated and within two years began an affair with another Protestant, Earl Peter Wentworth Fitzwilliam, who was even wealthier than her deceased husband. Unfortunately, Fitzwilliam was a gambler, a drinker and was married. He promised Kick that he would leave his wife and when she told her parents about the affair they were furious and threatened to cut her off from the entire family, but that wasn’t enough to end the relationship.
12. The Chappaquiddick Incident
The Chappaquiddick incident refers to a single-vehicle car accident that occurred on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts, on Friday, July 18, 1969, and involved Ted Kennedy – who was a Senator at the time – and left his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, dead. The two had been leaving a party when Ted took a wrong turn and accidentally drove his car off a narrow bridge. While he was able to save himself, Kopechne wasn’t so lucky. The big reason that this incident became so controversial was that Ted waited another 10 hours after his escape from the car to notify authorities about what happened, so it was only the next morning that police were called to the scene and found Kopechne still in the car. Kennedy was charged with leaving the scene of a crash causing personal injury, to which he pleaded guilty, and received a two-month suspended jail sentence.
11. Kick Kennedy Died in a Plane Crash
Kick died in a plane crash in 1948 when she and her married lover Earl Peter Wentworth Fitzwilliam were flying from Paris to the French Riviera for a vacation. They were supposed to be meeting her father in Paris afterward to try and mend the relationship. While Joe Sr. identified his daughter’s body, no one in the Kennedy family attended her funeral, which was hosted by her deceased husband Billy Harrington’s family in England. Kick was only 28 years old.
10. Rosemary Kennedy’s Failed Brain Surgery
Rosemary Kennedy – the third of Joe Sr. and Rose’s nine children – wasn’t like her siblings. She was born mentally impaired and, when she was 18, she was still struggling at a grade four level. She was also prone to rages and running away and the family felt that she was becoming harder to control as she got older. To rectify this, Joe Sr. scheduled a lobotomy for Rosemary without his wife’s knowledge and it went horribly wrong. She was left with limited motor and speaking skills and had to be institutionalized for the remainder of her life. For 20 years, Rose didn’t visit and Joe Sr. never visited her. Her absence wasn’t explained until 1961 after John F. Kennedy (JFK) had been elected president, but it was never revealed that she had been institutionalized due a failed lobotomy and was instead labeled by the family as “mentally retarded.” She died in 2005 at the age of 86.
9. JFK Had Addison’s Disease
After JFK’s death, it was confirmed by physicians who treated and examined his body that the president had Addison’s Disease, an endocrine disorder in which the adrenal glands do not produce enough steroid hormones. Kennedy had been treated for Addison’s disease when he had back surgery in 1954 and his struggles with the rare illness had been an open secret when he ran for president in 1960; however, he denied it when his opponents accused him of having the disease.
8. Joe Kennedy Jr. Was Initially Groomed to Be President
Joe Kennedy Jr. was the first-born Kennedy child and was groomed by his father Joe Sr. to become the first Catholic president of the United States. He was going to run in Massachusetts’s 11th congressional district in 1946, but his life was cut short when he was killed in World War II during a suicide mission when the explosives that were being carried in his plane detonated early. After Joe Jr.’s death, Joe Sr.’s high expectations then fell upon his younger brother, JFK.
7. Marilyn Monroe Sang Happy Birthday to JFK
On May 19, 1962, Marilyn Monroe sang the iconic “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” song for JFK in a sheer and flesh-colored gown that had rhinestones covering it and made her appear nude. This was just months before her August 5, 1962 death. She was rumored to have had sexual relationships with both Robert Kennedy and JFK.
6. JFK Jr. Dated Some Really Famous Women
During his life, JFK Jr. dated some really famous celebrity women. He dated Madonna, Daryl Hannah, and Sarah Jessica Parker. His mother, Jackie, was reportedly less than impressed when he took Madonna home to meet her in 1988. Following that relationship, he dated Hannah for five and a half years from 1988 to 1993, and he and Parker dated during one of his breaks with Hannah in 1991.
5. Jackie Kennedy Was a Heavy Smoker
Jackie Kennedy is one of the most stylish and sophisticated women in American history, but she had a very unexpected and dirty habit that most people didn’t know about – she was a heavy smoker. She reportedly smoked all through pregnancies (it wasn’t considered harmful at the time), but she never smoked in public, which is how she managed to keep the habit a secret for so long.
4. Connor Kennedy Dated Taylor Swift
Back in 2012, Taylor Swift briefly dated one of Robert Kennedy’s grandsons, Connor Kennedy. The relationship only lasted three months and it was reported that Swift was a little more serious about her beau than he was about her. At the time, she was 22 and he was only 18 and still in high school. She was also pretty fascinated by his famous family, telling Vogue that the only time she’s “ever been star-struck was meeting Caroline and Ethel Kennedy.”
3. Carolyn Bessette Kennedy Was Friends with a Woman Who Would Join RHONY
One of Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy’s good friends was Carole Radziwill, a cast member on The Real Housewives of New York. The two met because Carolyn dated (and then married) JFK Jr and Carole was married to JFK Jr.’s cousin, Anthony Radziwill. Carol even published a memoir, What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship and Love, which includes her memories of her friendship with Carolyn.
2. JFK Jr. Had Promised His Mom Jackie Kennedy that He Wouldn’t Pilot His Own Plane
Jackie Kennedy reportedly tried to steer JFK Jr. away from flying. When he was a student at Brown, he wanted to take flying lessons and she made him promise her that he would never pilot his own plane. She reportedly had premonitions of John dying while flying his own plane and it ended up becoming a reality because, after her death, he obtained his private pilot license in 1998 and then crashed his small plane off the coast of Martha’s Vinyard, killing his wife, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, and her sister Lauren when he became disoriented because of some haze.
1. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Ex Maria Shriver Is a Kennedy
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ex Maria Shriver is a Kennedy. Her mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, is the sister of JFK, Robert Kennedy, and Ted Kennedy. Like her family, she has always considered herself a Democrat; however, her ex was a Republic, who served for two terms as Governor of California. This made them a political odd couple but, according to Shriver, she was glad that her children grew up in an “understanding that we do not live in a one-party system.”