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Book suggests JFK Jr. marriage in trouble

Klein cover
Edward Klein's new book is his third on the Kennedys.

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NEW YORK (CNN) -- A new book by a journalist who has previously written books about the Kennedy family suggests the marriage of John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Carolyn Bessette was less perfect than the image the couple projected.

An excerpt from Ed Klein's "The Kennedy Curse: Why Tragedy Has Haunted America's First Family for 150 Years" appears in the August edition of Vanity Fair magazine, where Klein is a contributing editor.

The magazine goes on sale Wednesday, and the book July 8.

The article's information, which comes almost entirely from anonymous sources, depicts the three-year-old Kennedy-Bessette marriage as in trouble, with the couple embarking on counseling four months before they died in the July 1999 crash of a plane Kennedy was flying, and living apart in their final days alive.

"It's impossible to talk to Carolyn about anything. We've become total strangers," Klein quotes Kennedy as telling an anonymous friend on the telephone two days before the fatal crash.

"I've had it with her ... It's got to stop. Otherwise we're headed for divorce," Kennedy reportedly said, according to Klein.

Attorneys for John Kennedy's estate, Martin Edelman, and for Carolyn Bessette Kennedy's estate, Christian Ralli, have declined to comment to CNN about the article and book.

At odds over children

Klein reports that Kennedy, the famous only son of President John F. Kennedy, had taken up residence in the expensive Stanhope Hotel on Manhattan's Upper East Side, while his wife remained in the their Tribeca neighborhood loft, though, Klein reports, she didn't feel at home there.

"She hated it ... and John had decorated it badly," according to an anonymous Bessette friend quoted by Klein.

The article says that Kennedy wanted to have children, and had even chosen a name for a future son -- Flynn -- but Bessette Kennedy was not ready to conceive.

Vanity Fair
The story is the cover of the new Vanity Fair.

"Whenever I raise the subject with Carolyn, she turns away and refuses to have sex with me," Kennedy reportedly told an anonymous friend quoted by Klein.

Bessette Kennedy "hated living in a fishbowl," according to an anonymous Bessette Kennedy friend quoted by Klein. The friend reportedly remembers her saying, "How could I bring a child into this kind of world?"

Klein also alleges that Bessette Kennedy was unfaithful to Kennedy during their relationship, that she was a habitual drug user with a taste for cocaine, and that she suffered from depression.

Klein quotes Bessette Kennedy friends as saying Carolyn "could not handle the relentless public scrutiny" of being Kennedy's wife and that she was "cracking under pressure."

In one anecdote, Klein describes Kennedy returning to the couple's apartment to find his wife "sprawled on the floor ... snorting cocaine with a gaggle of gay fashionistas," according to an anonymous source that Klein says was present.

Klein later quotes one anonymous staffer at Kennedy's political magazine, George, describing an evening where Bessette Kennedy made numerous trips to the bathroom and returned to the dinner table "with white rings around her nostrils."

'Her cell phone kept ringing'

Kennedy and his wife are depicted by Klein as jealous spouses who fought frequently and suspected each other of cheating.

According to Klein, Bessette Kennedy continued a sexual affair with a male model "even after she met John Kennedy and moved in with him" but not after she married Kennedy in Cumberland Island, Georgia in 1996.

One of the few named sources in the six-page article for revelations about the Kennedy and Bessette Kennedy's personal life is Manhattan hair stylist Colin Lively, who says he was seated next to Carolyn at a salon on her last night alive.

Lively, as quoted by Klein, says Bessette Kennedy kept her husband waiting at a New Jersey airfield, because she was having a pedicure redone so her toenails would match a piece of white fabric with a hint of lavender.

"Her cell phone kept ringing," Lively reportedly said. "The more times you call, the longer it's going to take," Lively recalled Bessette Kennedy saying, according to Klein.

Later that evening, Kennedy and his wife, joined by her sister, Lauren, embarked on their fateful night flight to Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, for the weekend wedding of Kennedy cousin, Rory.

Klein reports, relying on an anonymous source, that Lauren Bessette had encouraged the couple to make the trip together on Kennedy's Piper Saratoga plane and volunteered to come along.

With no sources or medical records cited, Klein reports that Kennedy suffered from Grave's disease, a thyroid disorder that Klein says "drained John of energy and made him grouchy."

Klein also says Kennedy took Ritalin "much of his life" stemming from a childhood diagnosis of attention-deficit disorder.

Neither Klein, his magazine nor his book editors would make themselves available for interviews with CNN, even on the telephone.

"The article was thoroughly fact-checked by Vanity Fair," said spokeswoman Beth Kseniak.

Friends with Jackie

St. Martin's Press, which paid Klein a $500,000 advance, would not provide a review copy of the book before next week.

The book is Klein's third on the Kennedy family. His previous efforts, "All Too Human: The Love Story of Jack and Jackie Kennedy" (1996) and "Just Jackie: Her Private Years" (1998), were briefly bestsellers.

Some reviewers criticized those books for repeatedly quoting verbatim conversations Klein never could have heard. One critic called his technique "dubiously reconstructed eavesdropping."

Klein became acquainted with President John F. Kennedy's widow, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who later became an editor at Doubleday, when the publisher handled Klein's 1981 novel, "The Parachutists."

Klein, 66, was the editor of the New York Times magazine for 11 years, until 1987. Before that, he worked for Newsweek magazine.

Klein has also been the author, since 1991, of the "Walter Scott Personality Parade," published in the weekly Sunday newspaper supplement, Parade.

"He's got a very fine reputation," said Dan Strone, Klein's agent at Trident Media Group. "He's highly respected."


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