In the last months of her life, Jackie Kennedy received a letter from her former lover, the architect Jack Warnecke. He confided to her that the former first lady was rarely out of his mind.
According to the new biography Jackie: Public, Private, Secret (temporary translation) Jackie: Public, Private, Secret) by J.Randy Taraborrelli, exclusively quoted in the magazine People This week – the letter led to a reunion at Jackie’s apartment a few months before she died on May 19, 1994 from cancer at the age of 64.
Three decades earlier, Jackie Kennedy had fallen in love with architect Jack Warnecke, who had designed the memorial to her late husband, President John F. Kennedy, at Arlington National Cemetery.
Years later, Warnecke shares his memories with Taraborrelli – with a caveat. Because Jackie Kennedy was notoriously private, Warnecke asked to keep things private until a decade after his death. He died in 2010, at the age of 91.
Now, those details are among the many moments revealed and shared in Taraborrelli’s new biography. “A lot of books about Jackie celebrate glamor and fame. I wanted to write about the human side,” Taraborrelli told People.
Here is an excerpt from Taraborrelli’s book, Jackie: Public, Private, Secret.
… As night fell, Jack Warnecke walked to 1040 Fifth Avenue to visit his former lover, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The apartment is dark and quiet. Warnecke – better known as “Jack” – noticed a telescope in the corner. Jackie once told him that she used to look there to see how her other half was doing. He noticed a light coming from one of the rooms. Wearing a pink sweater over her white silk pajamas, she was sitting near the fireplace. Jackie asks Jack not to reveal to anyone what is about to happen, not to reveal while either of them is alive, by all means.
In a 1998 interview, Jack said, “When I sat down, Jackie handed me a stack of envelopes neatly tied with thread. My presence that night was part of the ritual. Every night in Every week, she invites a trusted friend or family member over to her house to join.”
Jackie untied the thread and took a letter from the stack of books. She read it before putting it in the fire. Jack recalls, “There were letters from Jackie’s children, John and Caroline… There were also letters from John F. Kennedy, Aristotle Onassis, her father Jack Bouvier and even some of mine. “. She holds one of the photos and stares at it. It was a picture of her with John F. Kennedy on his inauguration day. “Keep this for me, okay?” she asked.
Jackie Kennedy was with her husband in the motorcade in Dallas (USA) when he was assassinated on November 22, 1963… Confused, she watched John grab his throat and stagger left after the shot from the rifle . It all happened in less than five seconds.
“John turned and I looked back,” Jackie later recalled. “I could see a piece of his skull falling off. He was reaching out his hand and I could see the skull fragment separating from his head. Then he fell into my lap.”
Less than a year after her husband’s death, architect Jack Warnecke approached Jackie – causing some of her relatives to raise eyebrows.
It was mid-May 1964 when Jack Warnecke called to ask her out. “Dating?” she asked. “Because I’m not dating, Jack, I’ll never date again,” Jackie said.
“No!” Jack told her, it wasn’t a date. It was just dinner. That night, he came to her doorstep with flowers. “But, Jack, I didn’t say yes,” she told him irritably. “But you didn’t say no,” Jack said with a smile. “That’s how our story began,” Jack Warnecke recalls.
After President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Jackie hired Jack Warnecke to design her husband’s grave in Arlington. Jackie told herself Jack deserved the job. However, her friends wondered and John F. Kennedy’s younger brother Bobby Kennedy wondered. Bobby believes Jack is approaching Jackie too quickly.
“It’s too early, Jackie,” Bobby told her. “It’s none of your business, Bobby,” Jackie replied.
In November 1964, she took Warnecke to the Kennedy estate in Hyannis. “We had dinner – clam chowder – and talked until the sun went down, and then we talked…”
Jackie took Jack upstairs to her bedroom, the same room she had shared with John F. Kennedy. To Jack’s surprise, she wanted to make love, and they did. The next morning, Jack woke up to find her staring out at the beach. He tried to talk about what had happened the night before, but she didn’t want to. Instead, she asked him to leave. He realized it was too soon for her.
It’s an emotional seesaw: up now, down later. Jackie later told Jack Warnecke, “Every time I think I’m having fun, I look down at myself from above and can see it’s all performance art.”
They dated for three years. In 1966, Jack was about to propose to her in Hawaii.
The two simply started talking about marriage as if it were a thing of the past, but what puzzled Jack was that no official plans had been made yet.
However, their intimacy was not affected. Warnecke said they had sex not only in the bedroom but also in the car and on the beach “and as often as possible… being alive is fun to be together”.
Soon after, Jack called to tell her that the expansion of his architecture firm – and their lavish lifestyle – had left him a million dollars in debt.
After a moment of silence, Jackie’s answer was completely blank: “Oh?”. Jack says he hopes this doesn’t completely ruin things for them. Before hanging up, he told her that he loved her. She did not answer. She stopped answering his calls.
“Is Uncle Jack coming today?” little John asked his mother one afternoon. “No, honey,” she said, hugging her son in her arms. “We won’t see Uncle Jack again.”
Jackie Kennedy married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis in 1968. It was a tumultuous marriage that ended in his death at the age of 69 in 1975. During that time, she joined the court. data with a psychoanalyst, Dr. Marianne Kris.
“Dr. Kris will never discuss Ms. Onassis, citing physician-patient confidentiality,” Patricia Atwood, Kris’ secretary from 1972 to 1974, said in an email.
“They tackled Mrs. Onassis’ ongoing PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) issue following the assassination, as well as some of the nagging issues with their marriage.’ John F. Kennedy passed away in March. bright aura,’ Mrs Onassis once said.
Jackie Kennedy discovered that Dr. Kris had been treating Marilyn Monroe – who was believed to be in a long-term relationship with John F. Kennedy.
During the last years of his life, Jackie befriended the diamond merchant Maurice Tempelsman. Then, in early 1994, she was diagnosed with lymphoma. Two months before his death, Jackie called Warnecke.
After Jack and she burned the letters in the fireplace, Jackie told Jack that after four rounds of chemotherapy, her tests had returned to normal. She thought she had defeated the disease.
Then, unbelievably, magnetic resonance imaging revealed that the tumor had spread to her meninges and spinal cord. Jack asked when she looked back on her life, did she have any regrets. Jackie replied that she wished she hadn’t let November 22, 1963 poison the rest of her life.
“I never got over it. I may have gotten over it, but never did. It’s a shame. I spend so much time tormented by one thing I can never change.” Jackie said sadly.
Jack recalls: “I told her I never stopped loving her. I think Jackie Kennedy would say the same to me. Instead, she confided, ‘Thank you Jack. I want to let everyone know. it’s okay to lie there if you can’.” The two promised to talk again soon, but never did.