Happiness and Fame: What Jackie Kennedy Onassis’s Life Reveals


The moment you have finished this article, you will be able to learn how you can find whether the years just ahead are good or bad for you, and how long this season will last, so that you can act accordingly: if there is a storm on the horizon, you will take shelter in time, if sunny days loom ahead, you will take advantage before the opportunity passes, so that you can highly succeed in life.

Before that however, we have first to see what derives from ex-U.S. first Lady Jackie Kennedy Onassis’s life, how the alternations of her life seasons from good to bad and vice versa radically shaped her tumultuous life. Jackie Kennedy Onassis was born in 1929 as Jacqueline Bouvier, on Long Island, New York. That year’s stock market crash had severely hurt the fortunes of her father, John Bouvier, giving her “a sense of insecurity and fear of poverty,” as her biographer Sarah Bradford says.

When she was seven or eight, her family started to crumble. Her parents quarreled frequently over her father’s pursuit of other women, then they separated. The other kids needled Jackie, and she was “like a motherless kitten.” In 1940, the humiliation went public: the news of the separation of her parents became known in the local press, with details of her father’s womanizing. That fact caused Jackie deep insecurity and a shyness toward the world.

But from 1941 on, things would change: a good season was about to begin for her. In 1941, at the age of 12, she had her first big success, winning a prize for horsemanship at a horse show. And in 1942 things became even better: her mother married a rich man, heir to an oil company and to two luxurious houses. Jackie embraced her new family with love, experiencing a stability she had never known before.

In 1944, she enrolled in a school for wealthy girls, where she soon became an outstanding pupil. In 1946 she won first prize in literature, and when she left the school in 1947, she was “a bright, confident, imaginative 17-year-old” girl, looking forward to unlimited possibilities. The same year, she entered a prestigious college for women, Vassar. And in 1948, Jackie was dubbed as “Queen Debutante of the Year,” a fact that immediately “put her almost on the level of a Hollywood star.”

In 1952, the highest moment arrived. Jackie met the man who was to have the most profound influence on her life: Congressman John F. Kennedy, “America’s most eligible bachelor” and one of the richest members of Congress. Soon, Kennedy proposed to her, and in September 1953 they were married; he was 36 and she was 24. For the next three years (1954-1956), Jackie lived a life full of grandeur and satisfaction. The parties given by Kennedy’s fabulously rich friends were endless.

But 1957 was the last year in this good season of Jackie Kennedy’s life. The first clouds began appearing immediately. Soon after her daughter’s Caroline birth in 1957, Jackie started to decorate and redecorate her home, the White House. But her husband objected. He was furious. “What’s the point of spending all this money?” he demanded. It was her first clash with him.

The turn in Jackie’s own life had started. So, when John Kennedy campaigned in 1958 for re-election to the Senate, she accompanied him with “a phony show of enthusiasm,” Sarah Bradford, Jackie’s biographer, notes. The next year, Kennedy announced his candidacy for the presidency. But Jackie was unhappy. The previous year, her husband was so tired while he was campaigning that they barely spoke. What would happen if he were elected president? So, while Kennedy and his friends were celebrating their victory in the 1960 West Virginia primary, Jackie was so miserable that she disappeared from the scene and went out to the car and sat by herself.

The same situation persisted when Kennedy gave his speech accepting the Democratic nomination for president. While all the Kennedy family members were present, Jackie was not. She watched the speech on television at home, feeling that she “was all alone in the country,” as she said later. And when Kennedy was elected president in November 1960, Jackie again was not happy. When she heard the news, she “put on a raincoat and a headscarf and headed for the beach for a solitary walk as the other members of the family were dressing for a victory photograph.”

Jackie became first lady after John Kennedy’s inauguration in January 1961. But she soon found herself “buried behind a façade of suspicion, mistrust, and a sense of imprisonment.” Most devastating was the fact that she became aware of her husband’s many “other women” -among them Hollywood star Marilyn Monroe- a fact that started to terrify her. As if all that was not enough, she became increasingly aware that her husband’s health was not good at that time. He had Addison’s disease, and his back pain was so severe that he needed cortisone for relief and had to rely on crutches to be able to walk. As she said later, she and her husband were at that time “emotionally, twin icebergs.”

So in the next year (1962) Jackie decided to go away. She traveled to India and Pakistan, then to Rome and London. The press was increasingly critical of Jackie’s Italian vacation and of her nightclubbing activities: “Doesn’t she have enough respect for her husband to be a good wife?” they asked. (The news about Kennedy’s “other women” was not known publicly at that time).

The following year was even more devastating for Jackie, a year of tragedy. First, she was pregnant, but the baby arrived almost a month early and was stillborn. Withdrawal and depression followed. Then, in November of the same year, the end came. On November 22, 1963, while campaigning in Dallas, Texas, together with Jackie, the president was assassinated. At 34, Jackie was a widow.

The first year of mourning (1964) was a year of emotional turmoil. The now ex-first lady was disturbed and couldn’t sleep at night, and she felt her life was over. At the same time, she began to worry about money: the $50,000 annual appropriation she was receiving from the government was not enough, especially after the kind of life she had become accustomed to in the White House. She drank too much and sometimes wanted to commit suicide. She lived in an atmosphere of profound anxiety and grief, describing herself as a “living wound.”

Another cause of concern at that time was her desire to find another husband, a desire that really started to surface in 1965. This goal was not soon fulfilled. In the year after her husband’s death, Jackie had worked with a successful architect, Jack Warnecke, on the design for Kennedy’s grave. In 1966, they were contemplating marriage. But he was not rich and had no private plane, yacht, and so on. So Kennedy’s brother Robert objected. Jackie “had to return to the stratosphere of the superrich,” he said.

Such a superrich person appeared in 1967: the Greek tycoon Aristotle Onassis, a ship owner, one of the world’s wealthier persons. Jackie had first met Onassis in 1955 aboard his yacht Christina, where she and her husband had been invited for cocktails. The second time was in 1963, when Jackie was despondent over the loss of her baby: Onassis invited her for a cruise on the Christina. Jackie was impressed by his charm, so, on the day of her husband’s funeral in 1963, Onassis -invited by Jackie- was a guest at the White House.

Ever since, Jackie and Onassis had kept in touch by phone. And in the summer of 1967, Onassis invited her for a vacation on Skorpios, his private island in Greece. There, she agreed to marry him -and they married the next year. She was 39, and he was 62. But Jackie’s marriage immediately caused her a new reason for worry: it was greeted by worldwide hostility -everyone felt that Jackie was betraying John Kennedy’s memory. Also the Vatican accused her as “a sinner, who would be banned from taking the sacraments,” because Onassis was a member of the Greek Orthodox Church while Jackie was a Catholic.

The marriage was not also a happy one for Jackie. Soon after the wedding, Onassis went back to the woman he loved, Maria Callas, the famous Greek opera singer, and they continued their love affair. Jackie learned about it and was furious. And the next year (1969), was boring and more disturbing for her: she remained alone and sad on the island of Skorpios when Onassis flew off on business, and she would burst into tears, saying she felt she would never again be really happy.

In 1970, the situation worsened: Onassis and Maria Callas were photographed in Paris dining together at the famous restaurant Maxim and the nightclub Régine. It wasn’t now possible for Jackie to pretend she didn’t know her husband met Callas every time Jackie wasn’t present. Jackie’s marriage started to degenerate. Though she did everything she could to please him, Onassis “was constantly complaining, yelling and screaming at her,” and humiliated her publicly by calling her “stupid” and so on, in front of their friends.

In 1972, Onassis presented Jackie with a legal document stating that she relinquished any rights to his estate. Jackie signed it. Two months later, Onassis started gathering evidence against Jackie to ask for a divorce. Soon, she found out about it, and was unnerved.

But from 1974 on, this bad season for Jackie ended and a good season started for her. Onassis’s health began to deteriorate that year. He was diagnosed as suffering from the incurable disease myasthenia gravis. But Jackie ceased worrying any more what would happen to her marriage or to her husband Onassis. When he died in Paris in March 1975, Jackie wasn’t there at the moment of his death; she was in New York, in a party her daughter was giving. And at the funeral, “she appeared fierce, icy, remote, uncaring” -and she didn’t weep at all.

Also, Onassis’s death gave her the means to become at last financially and personally independent. After his death, negotiations started between Jackie and Onassis’s daughter Christina for a financial settlement regarding Onassis’s estate. Though Jackie had signed the document stating that she relinquished any rights to Onassis’s estate, Christina’s lawyers informed her that the document wasn’t valid according to Greek law. So, in May 1975, a settlement was reached under which Jackie received the huge sum of $20 million. Also, under a second settlement in 1977, it was agreed that Jackie would receive an additional lifetime income of $150,000 per year. Jackie’s life had entirely changed.

With all that money in hand, Jackie moved back to New York. It was here that she could come into her own as an individual. She revived her old dream of being a writer, taking a job in 1977 as a journalist. And in 1978, she bought a magnificent house in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. Then, she became an editor with one of the most prestigious publishing houses in New York.

Meanwhile, a new satisfying element was added to her life: the presence of Maurice Tempelsman, a partner in one of the biggest diamond firms in the United States. Almost the same age as Jackie, Tempelsman left his wife in 1982 and moved into Jackie’s apartment. He loved her deeply and was very protective of her. For the next ten years, Jackie led an independent life, she travelled, and returned to her beloved horsemanship.

But somewhere here, this good season would end for Jackie. In 1993 she began to experience bouts of ill health, soon diagnosed as cancer. A painful swelling in her groin was diagnosed first, and then it was found that her brain had been affected. She began experiencing mental confusion, so in March 1994, she drew up a will. In April 1994 she collapsed and was taken to a hospital: the cancer had invaded her liver. The next month she died at the age of 64. The woman, who was wife of two most famous men of 20th century, had left this world.


Jackie Kennedy Onassis’s alternations of her life’s seasons from good to bad ones and vice versa reveal that even famous people we think of being successful and happy throughout all their lives have had also bad seasons, sometimes unbelievably hard. We must not worry, therefore, when we notice we past through a bad season in our life. The same can happen to most famous and successful people.

Also, from Jackie Kennedy Onassis’s life derives that the bad season she experienced till 1941 ended that year and a good season started (her mother married a rich man and so Jackie was experiencing a stability she had never known before, while soon later, she met John F. Kennedy, they were married, and lived a life full of grandeur and satisfaction. But in 1957, a bad season began (her marriage to Kennedy proven to be unhappy, later she became a widow at age 34, and soon her second marriage to Onassis also proven to be unhappy). In 1974, however, a reversal of seasons happened in her life: the bad season ended and a good one started (Onassis died and Jackie inherited a very large portion of his vast property).

Resembling alternations of seasons, however, derives also from the biographies of many other famous people I have studied. Among them, there are the biographies of Napoleon, Beethoven, Verdi, Churchill, Picasso, Queen Elizabeth I of England, Elizabeth Taylor, Margaret Thatcher, Columbus, Mandela, and many others, more than 20 biographies in total.

For example:

— Beethoven’s good and bad seasons alternated in 1776, 1792, 1809, and 1825

— Napoleon’s alternated in 1776, 1792, and 1809

— Churchill’s alternated in 1875, 1892, 1908, 1924, and 1941

— Verdi’s alternated in 1825, 1842, 1859, 1875, and 1892

— Picasso’s alternated in 1892, 1908, 1925, 1941, and 1957

— Elizabeth Taylor’s alternated in 1941, 1958, 1975, and 1990

— Margaret Thatcher’s alternated in 1941, 1957, 1975, and 1990

— Mandela’s alternated in 1941, 1957, 1974, and 1990

— Queen Elizabeth’s I of England alternated in 1545, 1562, 1578 and 1595

— Columbus’s alternated in 1479 and 1496.

Comparing these biographies, I arrived at an astonishing discovery: the seasons of all the above people alternated according to a certain pattern. Also, after extensive research, I found that our own lives’ seasons alternate according to the same certain pattern. That means, therefore, we can foresee how our life’s good and bad seasons will alternate in the future, with amazing accuracy.

So, we can act accordingly. If there is a storm on the horizon, we can take shelter in time. If sunny days loom ahead, we can take advantage before the opportunity passes. We can thus highly succeed in life by taking crucial decisions regarding our career, marriage, family, relationships, and all other life’s issues.

Source by George Kouloukis