These days, a President sleeping with a Hollywood superstar behind the back of his beautiful wife would make front-page news right across the world. But American under President Kennedy was a different world. The young, handsome Commander-in-Chief would enjoy countless affairs, including extra-marital dalliances right inside the White House, without a hint of scandal. JFK was adept at cultivating a popular image of a family man, while at the same time being one of the biggest womanizers of his generation.
As is often the case, biographers look to JFK’s formative years when attempting to explain his insatiable – often self-destructive – sex drive. As a young man, John endured several traumas, not least having to deal with serious illness himself and then with the deaths of two of his siblings. But it’s arguably the behavior of his father that really affected the future president’s relationship with women the most. Joe Senior was a serial philanderer, with his unfaithful ways only too obvious to his own wife and children.
So, when JFK got married to the beautiful Jaqueline “Jackie” Bouvier in 1952, it was inevitable he would soon start to stray. And stray he did. Indeed, according to some accounts, the rising politician believed that only casual sex with a chain of lovers could help cure him of his migraines. Like any good politician’s wife of the time, Jackie simply looked the other way, accepting that her husband took lovers on the side, among them A-list celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and Marlene Dietrich. He also bedded many other actresses, socialites, and once installed in the White House, secretaries and interns too.
The full extent of JFK’s womanizing ways only really came to light after his tragic death in 1963. What’s more, some claim that his insatiable lust helped contribute to his death – albeit indirectly. So tired had the Secret Service become of sneaking mistresses in and out of the Presidential bedroom that they didn’t ride on the side guard of his car on that fateful day in Dallas. However, while he may have kept his liaisons under wraps during his lifetime, these days JFK is widely regarded as a flawed man and is remembered as much for his personal life as for his political career.