Backstage

The Globe, by Jove!

Anthony Wilson-Smith July 26 1999
Backstage

The Globe, by Jove!

Anthony Wilson-Smith July 26 1999

A stylish mate with a will of steel

Cover

It was probably inevitable that as a person who married into the Kennedy clan,

Carolyn Bessette would always rank several rungs below her husband in attracting public attention. But among friends there was never any doubt the strongwilled Bessette Kennedy could give as good as she could take. After their marriage, a friend of both, Richard Wiese, observed: “I don’t think she has any problem hanging with him. If anything, he has more trouble hanging with her.”

A striking blond and former model with a fondness for cutting-edge fashion,

she captivated Kennedy from the moment they met in 1992 while jogging in Central Park. Born in White Plains, N.Y., the 33-year-old Bessette Kennedy came from a broken home: her estranged father, a doctor, was not at her 1996 wed-

ding. But she, her mother and two older twin sisters—including Lauren, 35, a vice-president at the Morgan Stanley investment firm—were close. She earned a bachelor of science degree from Boston University in 1988 and moved to New è York City, where she worked for fashion I designer Calvin Klein. She left that job I shortly before marrying Kennedy, s Recendy, observers compared Bessette Kennedy favourably to John’s mother, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. “She is very good at making people feel they are special,” said one friend. “It was the same with Jackie.” In last weekend’s tragedy, she again earned second billing— to everyone but those who knew her.

Anthony Wilson-Smith