John F. Kennedy Jr. grew up in the spotlight, commonly thought of as America’s son. In fact, his uncle, who delivered his eulogy, told mourners that, “from the first day of his life, John seemed to belong not only to our family, but to the American family.” Here, we take a look back at John F. Kennedy Jr.’s life in pictures.
Early life in the White House
John F. Kennedy Jr. was born on November 25, 1960. He was the second child born to former U.S. President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.
After John F. Kennedy was elected president, John Jr. and his older sister Caroline would explore and frolic in the Oval Office while their father worked.
On his third birthday, John F. Kennedy captured hearts around the world when he saluted his father’s coffin during the funeral procession. According to Steven M. Gillon’s 2019 book, America’s Reluctant Prince: The Life of John F. Kennedy Jr., the young boy continued to ask people if they could take him to see his dad after JFK was killed.
Trying to stay out of the public eye
After John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Jacqueline Kennedy moved her family to an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City. In 1965, Britain dedicated a memorial to the late president at Runnymede. During this memorial dedication ceremony, JFK Jr. met Queen Elizabeth II.
After Robert Kennedy was assassinated in 1968, Jacqueline Kennedy moved her children out of the United States. That same year, she married shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis, and the family moved to his private island of Skorpios.
During his adolescent years, JFK Jr. attended a number of different private schools, including Saint David’s School and Collegiate School. He eventually graduated high school at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.
In 1979, JFK Jr. was a freshman at Brown University where he majored in American studies. During his time at Brown, JFK Jr. took an interest in acting, and appeared in many productions during his four years as a student there.
In 1983, he graduated from Brown University with a Bachelor of Arts in History.
Starting his career
After Kennedy Jr. graduated from Brown, he took a job with the New York City Office of Business Development, where he worked as a deputy director until 1986. In 1988, he became a summer associate at an LA law firm that had strong connections to the Democratic Party. Although he steered away from a profession in politics, he nonetheless had strong ties in the political world. When he was 27 years old, he introduced his uncle, Senator Edward Kennedy, at the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia.
In 1989, Kennedy earned a J.D. degree from the New York University School of Law. However, he failed the New York bar exam two times before eventually passing on his third try in July 1990. After passing the bar, he took a job as an assistant district attorney in New York City. However, this profession was short-lived as in 1995, he launched his political magazine George.
‘Sexiest Man Alive’
In 1988, JFK Jr. was named People’s “Sexiest Man Alive.” His private life was often publicized, and he was romantically linked to a number of Hollywood celebrities, including Madonna, Daryl Hannah, Cindy Crawford, and Sarah Jessica Parker.
Marriage and later life
In 1994, Kennedy started dating Calvin Klein publicist Carolyn Bessette. In 1995, the couple became engaged and were married in a secret ceremony off the coast of Georgia in September 1996.
Carolyn had difficulty adjusting to the paparazzi and constantly being in the public eye. JFK Jr. initially believed that once he was married, the paparazzi would leave them alone, but unfortunately, it was the opposite. While JFK Jr. was used to being in the public eye, Carolyn wasn’t. This put a strain on their marriage.
On July 16, 1999, JFK Jr., Carolyn Bessette, and her sister Lauren Bessette were on their way to Cape Cod for a wedding. JFK Jr. had recently obtained his pilot’s licence and was flying the Bessette sisters in a single-engine plane. Sadly, the plane crashed into the Atlantic, and on July 21, Navy divers located the bodies of JFK Jr., Carolyn Bessette, and Lauren Bessette. John F. Kennedy Jr. was only 38 years old when he died.