Who do you think the most glamorous woman to be called the First Lady of the United States is? A lot of people would probably answer this question with the name Jackie Kennedy. After all, she is best known for her boatneck wedding dress and her gorgeous pillbox hats. While her style was effortless, there is something about her shoes that stayed a secret for the longest time. Who would have thought that she was hiding something in plain sight the entire time? Perhaps the most shocking thing about this is that no one had noticed it until now…
Out Of The Bag
The truth only came out after her live-in aide published an autobiography in 2017. Kathy McKeon held this role for a total of 13 years. In a chapter called “Jackie’s Girl,” she talked about the famous wardrobe of her boss. But how exactly did she stumble upon this when no one else had noticed it in the past?
Taking Care Of Her Closet
You see, she was tasked to take care of the closet of the former first lady. In her book, McKeon said, “The bedroom walk-in closet was jam-packed with Madam’s everyday clothing, all arranged according to color. I had never seen such a dazzling selection of shoes!” Upon taking a better look, however, she saw an unusual thing about the pieces of clothing. What on earth could it be?
Why It Only Came Out Now
In our opinion, it is shocking that the secret has only come out now. After all, she has always been the subject of fascination not only in the US but around the globe! In 1929, Jacqueline Lee Bouvier was born to a stockbroker father and a socialite mother in Southampton, New York. She held a degree in French literature from George Washington University. When she was a student, she was a socialite in her own right. She also worked as a junior editor at Vogue and took photos for the Washington Times-Herald.
She Broke It Off
In 1952, word got out that she was engaged to a stockbroker by the name of John G.W. Husted Jr. She ended up breaking it off after realizing that he was “immature and boring.” In the same year, she was introduced to then-U.S. representative John F. Kennedy at a dinner party. A little over a year after that, they shared that they were getting married! Despite all this, this lovely lady had been hiding a secret.
It Was Official
In 1953, the two of them made things official. Their wedding at St. Mary’s Church in Rhode Island was considered the social event of the year. The pair went on to travel to Acapulco in Mexico for the honeymoon. After that, they settled down in Hickory Hill, Virginia. Sadly, tragedy followed in the form of a miscarriage and then a stillbirth. In 1957, they were finally blessed with a daughter called Caroline.
Helping His Campaigns
In 1958, her husband was triumphantly re-elected to the Senate. She deserved credit for helping with this. As a matter of fact, JFK once shared that her support and appearances during the campaign period had been “simply invaluable.” She did the same thing during his bid for the presidency. Despite this, she had many other concerns of her own at this time. Two weeks after her husband won the presidential race, she went into labor and delivered their first son! John F. Kennedy, Jr. was named after his father.
A Popular First Lady
It was not a given that she would be popular as the first lady. Jackie went on more official international trips than those who came before her. In 1963, she had to take it easy with a new baby on the way. Sadly, Patrick died from hyaline membrane disease not long after he was born five weeks premature.
More Tragedy Followed
That was not the only tragedy that the family faced that year. That was the same year that they both attended a motorcade in Dallas. As you already know, the President of the United States was shot to death in November 1963. He was pronounced dead not long after he was taken to Parkland Hospital.
Leaving The Spotlight
After the assassination of JFK, Jackie mostly retreated from the limelight. Despite this, the press kept shoving its nose into her personal life. For one thing, she was known to be close to Robert, her brother-in-law. There are people who think that their friendship turned into a romantic relationship. However, what we can tell you for sure is that she married Grecian shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis in 1968.
Widowed Once More
Her second husband died in 1975. She went back to work after that. She was first a consulting editor at Viking Press and then an associate editor at Doubleday. Aside from this, she also got involved in cultural and architectural preservation work. Jackie was a part of these efforts back when she was the first lady too.
Her Failing Health
In late 1993, she fell from a horse. After that incident, her health started to go downhill. Subsequently, she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. As of May 1994, it had already spread to her brain, spinal cord, and liver. Within the same month, she died in her sleep. She was 64 years old at the time.
Her Incredible Fashion Sense
Jackie made a name for herself with her iconic fashion sense. A lot of the credit should go to none other than Oleg Cassini, her close friend and a fashion designer. After JFK was elected president in 1960, Jackie asked Cassini to come up with a unique set of clothes for her first lady duties. The French-born American artist whipped up some of the most stylish outfits Jackie wore. This includes the inaugural gala gown!
How Much She Spent
As a matter of fact, Jackie spent more than $145,000 on her wardrobe in 1961. Mind you, this is almost $50K more than the annual salary her husband received as the President of the United States. It sounds like it was worth it. The public adored her clothes and called her the most stylish woman in the world.
Her Favorite Designers
Jackie had her favorites when it came to designers. She was a fan of French couture designers such as Chanel, Balenciaga, and Givenchy. Sadly, the most patriotic parts of the US media did not approve of her tendency towards Parisian styles. She then asked a fashion editor called Diana Vreeland to source American designers who could recreate the Parisian style!
American Designers Too
Vreeland recommended Ben Zuckerman and Norman Norell to the first lady of the United States. The latter has been called the “first designer of America,” while the former is known for putting his own spin on Parisian fashion. As a matter of fact, Jackie donned a purple Zuckerman woolen coat for the famous White House tour with Mamie Eisenhower!
Her White House Look
During her time at the White House, Jackie became known for her suits, above-the-elbow gloves, low-heel pumps, hats, and sleeveless A-line dresses. Aside from that, she also became known for her bouffant hairdo. This was the creation of a famous hairdresser called Mr. Kenneth. Even now, you will find her style being recreated by a number of clothing manufacturers across the globe.
She Changed Her Image
But after the death of JFK, Jackie ended up changing her image. She started to wear big lapel jackets, gypsy skirts, silk headscarves, round sunglasses, and pantsuits instead. Apart from this, she also made it clear that she was a trendsetter by wearing a black turtleneck hanging outside of her white jeans.
Her Jewelry Collection
Jackie wore stylish clothes, but it would be a disservice not to talk about her jewelry collection. Kenneth Jay Lane contrived her signature item. Why, it is none other than her pearl necklace! She also wore Jean Schlumberger bracelets. Her Van Cleef & Arpels wedding ring was her most beloved piece, however.
An Appropriate Exhibit
The John F. Kennedy Library is now the home of many of her iconic outfits. In 2001, the Metropolitan Museum of Art displayed a number of pieces. The exhibit was called “Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years.” In the 2010s, Forbes and Time gave the former lady a spot in their list of top fashion icons.
No Matter How Famous She Is
Despite all of this, people only got to know this side of Jackie when Kathy McKeon wrote “Jackie’s Girl.” Released in 2017, she talked about how she was in charge of the closet of the former first lady. It meant that she got up close and personal with shoes and clothes from retailers like Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue. She claimed to have been awed by the content and the organization of the closet.
Inside The Closet
“It was extremely easy to find anything in it,” the author shared when she was interviewed by Fox News in 2017. “Everything matched. A pair of pants would always be accompanied with the right blouse… and her shoes were always lined up. Nice and shiny… London-look boots, pumps in every color, spotless sneakers for morning jogs around the reservoir.” Well, we expected nothing less from this fashion icon.
About The Shoes
But the truth is that this only made her discovery even more shocking. What exactly did she see in the great footwear collection that belonged to Jackie? McKeon saw that every single heel from each pair of shoes was elevated by a quarter of an inch. It meant that she had a tiny imperfection related to her legs!
One Leg Was Shorter
The altered heels had been designed specifically to hide the fact that one of her legs was shorter. In her memoir, the former aide to Jackie Kennedy said, “No one would have ever guessed.” Some reports suggested that this tactic was inspired by none other than her first husband. But what does this mean?
For Severe Back Pain
Let us explain. Two years after the couple got married, JFK received treatment from Dr. Janet Travell for his severe back pain. The doctor learned that his left leg was not the same size as the right one. In the end, they added a minor heel lift to all of the left shoes of the future president.
No One Knows
It is not known if Travell, who became his physician, was responsible for the discovery and treatment of the similar problem Jackie suffered. However, we are sure that JFK’s treatment influenced the adoption of the same method. The first lady did not really need to disguise it since the disparity was very small.
She Was A Perfectionist
The alternation of the heel can be used as an example of her quest for perfectionism. Jackie became known for her consideration of the tiniest details and features as she renovated the White House. In the same vein, she was a scrupulous editor. This can be seen in the script of the White House renovation tour. It came out on Valentine’s Day of 1962 and was viewed by around 80 million people!
In A Series Of Letters
Her perfectionist streak became even more evident in the letters auctioned off back in 2013. The series of letters came from Marita O’Conner, who was her personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman. It revealed that the first lady adds sketches, pieces of fabric, and catalog pages to show the exact items she wanted.
Her High Standards
It showed that Jackie had high standards and specific requirements. In one letter, the first lady said, “Please order me a pair of alligator shoes – size 10A – medium heel – slender – pointed toe but not exaggerated – tricky vamp business… I like elegant and timeless. I must have these for Inauguration Day so you’ll have to rush.”
What She Did Not Want
She knew what she wanted, but she also knew what she did not. In a different letter, Jackie complained about a specific pair of shoes with a vamp that she did not like. “Tell [Mario] I want them in the same model as my black faille evening pumps and impress on that rather disorganized Italian that they simply must be ready in time,” she said.
It Is Indeed Incredible
An appraiser by the name of Dan Meader shared this with WWD: “You have to think her husband had just been made president-elect after this whole dramatic campaign. She was about to have a baby and this was what she was worrying about: her fashions. It’s pretty incredible.” We sure agree with him.
Not Her Best Quality
But when McKeon talked to People, she was eager to point out that style was not the most notable quality possessed by the former first lady. “[Jackie] was more than this glamorous figure. She made me feel like part of the family,” the former aide revealed. We are glad to hear more about this side of Jackie.
They Became Close
Aside from this, McKeon talked about how close she had become with Jackie through the years. The aide moved from Ireland to the United States when she was only 19 years old. Not long after she got here, she earned the position with the former first lady. It turned out to be a longer stint than expected.
Getting Swept Up Into It
It sounds like it did not take long before she became immersed in the role. In the memoir, McKeon revealed, “I couldn’t know… mere days into my new job, how thoroughly I would be swept up into this most royal of American families. How their everyday life would also become mine, my heart lifted by the powerful love they shared and shattered by the unimaginable tragedies they endured.”
Attending Her Wedding
As a matter of fact, Jackie went to McKeon’s wedding. She was accompanied by John Jr. and Caroline, her two kids. The first lady also stayed in touch with the aide after she quit to take care of her children. Jackie also invited McKeon and the rest of her family to her home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.
Paying Her A Visit
When McKeon spoke to Fox News, she revealed, “My best friend lived in the Cape [Cod] and whenever I would visit, Madam was always happy to see me. She would always invite me for lunch and dinner… and she would also invite me to her private beach. She always made sure someone sent us lunch.”
Her Warm Nature
In the memoir, she talked about the warm nature of the former first lady: “She was very shy and scared of crowds, but she had a personality that really shined when you got to know her and she opened up to you. Whenever she would meet someone, she would say, ‘Kat, what did you think of him?’ She wanted to know my reaction.”
They Lost Touch
McKeon admitted to Fox News that they lost contact: “I wasn’t really aware that Madam was sick. It was in the papers and magazines, but I wasn’t one to read that gossip. So I felt like there was a lot I didn’t know about her until I saw a picture of her in Central Park. It wasn’t the Madam that I remembered.”
It Never Died Out
The interest in the style of the former first lady never really died out. In fact, it remains high even to this day. For one, a pair of pumps that she used to own went on auction in Los Angeles. The footwear was designed by Rene Mancini. The shoes were in size 10 and sold to an anonymous bidder for nearly $30K.
Her Fake Pearls
Three years before that, two of her fake pearl necklaces were also auctioned off. They went for around $47K at an auction in England. When Jacie bought them, they were only worth a couple of hundred bucks. Jean Ghika, a jewelry expert at Bonhams, said, “It’s fair to say that 99.9 percent of the value is because they belonged to Jackie Kennedy.”
His Private Island
We have another interesting fact about her. Skorpios is an idyllic private island that belonged to Aristotle Onassis. Better known as Ari, the billionaire got married to Jackie in the small slice of paradise all the way back in 1968. However, the island is not open to the public any longer. A number of strict security measures have been introduced since then.
Where It Is
Skorpios is located on the Ionian Sea as part of the Greek Islands. It is to the east of Lefkada island and west of mainland Greece. Even though the private island has an unusual shape, it has an area of around 3,280 ft by 4,921 ft. It now boasts thick forests and sandy beaches, but this was not always the case.
How Much It Was Worth
You see, it had been mostly barren when it was purchased as a private retreat by Ari Onassis in 1962. He bought the piece of land at the price of 3.5 million Greek drachmas. In today’s currency, this is going to be the equivalent of about $12,000. He went on to transform this arid plot of land into what it is now.
Transforming The Island
In an effort to make it tranquil and idyllic, he imported over 200 types of trees to the island. Onassis also established the forests that now run the length of Skorpios. He did not only help build the widespread woodlands, but he also created East Beach with the use of sand from the nearby Salamis Island.
Becoming A Couple
In 1968, the Skorpios island caught the attention of the general public at last. This happened because Ari Onassis and Jackie Kennedy got married there. The Greek tycoon and the former FLOTUS had been good friends for a long time, but their friendship bloomed into romance after she became widowed. This took place after the assassinations of her late spouse John F. Kennedy and his brother, Robert F. Kennedy.
Fearing For Their Safety
As you can imagine, the assassinations left her fearing for the safety of her family. This makes a lot of sense to us. After Robert F. Kennedy passed away in 1968, Jackie said, “If they’re killing Kennedys, then my children are targets.” This is the reason she admitted, “I want to get out of this country.”
Love And Security
Jackie found not just love but also security in Ari Onassis. The two of them tied the knot in October 1968. The Greek shipping magnate had been 23 years her senior. Despite this, it was clear that there had been true love and affection between them. Let us get to know more about what the relationship had been like.
Tying The Knot
They exchanged their vows in a traditional Greek Orthodox service. Her children, John Jr. and Caroline, were involved in the ceremony, as was her sister Lee Radziwill. The event was also attended by around 40 guests. The vast majority of them were close friends and family members of the bride and groom.
Where They Lived
After the wedding in Skorpios, the couple and the guests boarded his super yacht for the reception. Over the years that they spent with each other, the island was a big part of their lives. It also became one of the six residences that they called their own. Apart from the private island, they also had homes in Athens, Manhattan, New Jersey, and Paris. The last one goes to Christina, his yacht.
It Become Popular
The popularity of Skorpios has to do with them. It is now one of the most well-known private islands in the world. Sadly, it also cost them their privacy. In 1971, Jackie was photographed naked as she was sunbathing on a beach on the island. The photos came out in Italy and led to public outrage in the US.
An Italian Paparazzo
Italian paparazzo Settimio Garritano had been the one to take the revealing nude photos of the former first lady. He gained access to the island by posing as a gardener. After he found out that Jackie liked to sunbathe naked sometimes, he headed to the said spot and hid the boat beneath some undergrowth.
He Was In Disbelief
From his hidden spot, he leered at her as Jackie went on to take off her all clothes until she was totally nude. In 2009, Garritano admitted that he did not initially believe the rumors going around about her habits. “It didn’t seem possible,” he went as far as to say when he spoke to The Telegraph.
It Was True
When he took a peek from his hiding spot, he saw that the rumors were true. There she was, naked as the day she was born. “Suddenly, she appeared and wandered around the patio area. I concentrated on just taking the pictures, not composing them. It was a matter of moments, not even minutes,” he said.
Selling The Nude Photos
At first, he found it hard to sell the photos that he took of her. Many editors flat-out refused to publish them. However, his luck turned around when they came out in an Italian magazine called Playmen in 1972. Even though the decision to publish them caused outrage in the United States, Ari Onassis did not seem bothered by all the uproar. He did not seem to mind it at all!
He Was Not Bothered
After the photos came to light, the Greek shipping magnate only said, “Sometimes I take my clothes off to put on a bathing suit. So does my wife.” The nude images were later published by an American magazine as well. Published in 1975, the edition even became the all-time best-seller of Hustler.
Not The Only Scandal
The naked photos were not the only scandal that she went through during her marriage to Ari Onassis. In 1973, for one, his son Alexander passed away at the age of 24. Before the fatal plane crash, he and his sister Christina expressed disapproval of the marriage between their father and the former first lady.
They Had Their Own Hopes
Apparently, this had to do with their hopes that he was going to reunite with Tina, their mother. They called it quits after he had an affair with Maria Callas, the famous opera star. With his new relationship with the former first lady, the chances of their reconciliation seemed slim to none. Alexander went as far as to say, “My father loved names, and Jackie loved money.”
Her Dislike For Jackie Grew
After the untimely death of Alexander, Christina only grew to dislike Jackie even more. As the health of her father got worse, Christina tried to convince him that the former first lady was suffering from a curse. As a way to support her claims, she directed him to the assassinations of JFK and Robert Kennedy.
The Kennedy Curse
Over the years, the idea of a Kennedy curse has attracted both the media and the public. The idea of it grew more popular after all the deaths and tragedies that have befallen the political family. Not only were John and Robert assassinated, but a lot of members of the family have died early or suffered other unlucky circumstances as well.
What Skeptics Have To Say
Of course, there are also people who laugh at this. Skeptics say that this is only normal for a family like theirs. With a size like that, they say that it is more than likely for tragedies to take place at a seemingly higher frequency than normal. This does not mean that there is any supernatural event taking place.
The Chappaquiddick Incident
We bet they have heard of the curse linked to their last name. In 1969, Ted Kennedy steered his car off a bridge in Massachusetts. This accident has since become known as the “Chappaquiddick incident.” It is a good thing that he escaped unharmed, but it did lead to the death of his passenger Mary Jo Kopechne.
He Pleaded Guilty
After the awful car crash, Ted Kennedy did not report it to authorities until a couple of hours later. In the end, he pleaded guilty to the charge of causing personal injury by leaving the scene of the accident. The senator even wondered “whether some awful curse did actually hang over all the Kennedys” in court.
She Allegedly Transferred It
No one knows what Jackie had to say about the Kennedy curse. However, some people have accused her of transferring it to the Onassis family when she tied the knot with the shipping magnate. From the look of things, Christina was a supporter of this line of thought. We are sure that her suspicions only grew even more when her mother passed away after a reported drug overdose back in 1974.
There Was More Bad Luck
This was not the end of the bad luck suffered by the Onassis family either. The family business soon ran into trouble as well. This happened around the same time that his health began to fail. It was said that he eventually believed that the curse had been passed on to them. He allegedly planned to get a divorce from her, even changing his will to lower the payout that his wife would receive upon his death.
After He Passed Away
In March 1975, Ari Onassis passed away in Paris. Christina was the sole heir of his estate, but Jackie contested his will and got a settlement worth $26 million from her estranged stepchild after several years of negotiations. The shipping tycoon was laid to rest on Skorpios, where his son is also interned.
There Was More
Sadly, there was more tragedy awaiting the Onassis family. It did not end with the death of Ari Onassis and the estrangement of the former first lady. In 1988, Christina died of cardiac arrest at the age of 37. Jackie herself passed away at 64 years old, which is still pretty young in our books. In 1994, she contracted a form of cancer known as Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Athina Onassis Roussel
After the death of Christina, she was laid to rest with her brother and father on Skorpios. The rest of her stake in their assets, together with the island, went to the hands of her only child. This turned Athina Onassis Roussel into one of the richest women in the world as well. The heiress rarely goes to Skorpios. In fact, she left for Sao Paulo following her marriage to Brazilian equestrian Àlvaro de Miranda Neto.
No Interest In It
It does not look like she has a lot of interest in the island. Skorpios allegedly caught the eyes of people like Bill Gates and Giorgio Armani. Aside from that, both men allegedly expressed an interest in it. In the end, it went to neither of them. A Russian heiress called Ekaterina Rybolovlev bought it in 2013.
The New Owner
Ekaterina Rybolovlev was born to a billionaire by the name of Dmitry Rybolovlev. Can you believe that she was only 24 years old when she obtained a long-term lease of the Greek island? The deal between the two women is allegedly worth $150 million, but no one knows what she plans to do with it.
She Improved The Security
All the same, one of the first things that Ekaterina Rybolovlev did after the acquisition was to stop tourists from going there. Visitors used to be allowed, but their access was simply confined to several small coves on the retreat. The new owner, however, did not tolerate any outsiders at all. In an effort to ensure that no one could go there without her express permission, she hired a team of bodyguards from France and the United States to monitor the island at all times. They rely on advanced surveillance equipment as well. The heiress allegedly wanted to get a team of frogmen to keep an eye on the water surrounding it. However, there are rumors that these measures did not go through the Greek police. At any rate, we can definitely see that she is serious about privacy! Hopefully, no paparazzi can take photos of her sunbathing.