LOS ANGELES – Marilyn Monroe, who notoriously had an affair with John F. Kennedy, apparently believed she was going to marry the president and even phoned the White House to tell his wife.
The story, reported in a new book by journalist Christopher Andersen, asserts that Jackie Kennedy told Monroe that the screen siren was welcome to take over her role as first lady.
“And you’ll move into the White House and you’ll assume the responsibilities of first lady, and I’ll move out and you’ll have all the problems,” she reportedly told Monroe.
The incident is just one layer of the complex marriage in the year before the president was assassinated, according to the new account.
The book chronicles how Jackie Kennedy begged to stay by her husband even in the face of a nuclear strike, how the couple withstood the death of their newborn son, Patrick, and how they weathered the president’s many extramarital affairs.
According to Andersen’s research, Jackie was well aware of her husband’s infidelities but was only upset over Monroe because the first lady feared the scandal set her up for public ridicule.
When the Cuban missile crisis was brewing in 1962, she protested plans to send her and the children to shelter away from Washington in the event of a nuclear attack: “I want to die with you, and the children do too — rather than live without you.”
“These Precious Few Days: The Final Year of Jack with Jackie,” also recounts how the couple mourned their third child, Patrick, who died two days after being born Aug. 7, 1963.
“The president returned to the vacant room upstairs, closed the door behind him, sat on the edge of the bed, and wept,” Andersen reports. “But when Jack walked in the door of her hospital room, they broke down together: ‘Oh, Jack, oh, Jack’, she sobbed. ‘There’s only one thing I could not bear now — if I ever lost you.’ “
Just months later, on Nov. 22, she did lose him.