Style that still lets the bride shine...
With his chiselled features, piercing blue eyes and a surname that opened just about any door in the US, Robert Kennedy jr must have been all but irresistible to the women he tried to seduce.
That he was married with children seems to have given neither him nor his many lovers pause for thought.
Yet when he’d bedded a woman, he’d write in a diary that the liaison constituted yet another “mugging” – of him, not his companion. He also wrote that if he went a day without adultery it was a “victory”.
Sadly, there were far too few days when his “lust demons”, as he called them, did not win their battle.
In the extraordinary diary found by his wife Mary shortly before she committed suicide in grief over the break-up of their marriage, the son of Bobby Kennedy and nephew of JFK, recorded serial philandering which puts even the priapic ways of his presidential uncle in the shade.
When challenged by a journalist who’d been handed the bombshell diary, Kennedy, a 59-year-old former heroin addict, initially insisted it didn’t exist, but then belatedly admitted it was indeed his.
Across 398 pages, in puerile detail, the thick, red journal records his every conquest during 2001 – and in the process becomes the latest shameful chapter in the history of the US’s most venerated yet most dysfunctional family.
Part self-flagellating Catholic mea culpa, and part smutty school-boy boasting, the diary includes a scorecard in which he recorded the names of the women he slept with, alongside a number from one to 10 denoting how far he went with each.
The numbers corresponded to sexual acts, with 10 denoting intercourse. At the back of the diary, in the section marked “cash accounts”, Kennedy noted the names of all 37 women with whom he cheated on his wife that year – 16 of whom received 10s. They reportedly include a lawyer, a doctor, an environmental activist and the wife of a famous actor.
The shocking details were revealed by the New York Post, which has seen the diary.
The timing of his adultery was awful. Not only did Mary give birth to their fourth child in July of that year, but many of his affairs came at a time when the rest of America was deeply traumatised by 9/11.
It seems even that horror was not enough to quash his addiction to sex, which led Kennedy – on November 13, 2001, his diary reveals – to seduce three women in a single day, although only one was a “10”.
The same day, he mustered enough energy to squeeze in a charity fundraiser at a Manhattan hotel. That month alone, as Kennedy travelled around the US for his work as an environmental campaigner, he listed one woman’s name on 22 different days.
In May, he hosted a dinner for Leonardo DiCaprio in New York, but “got mugged on my way home” – noting the woman’s name, and the fact she inflicted a 10 on him.
“I’ve got to do better,” he wrote, as though confessing to a priest.
Sometimes he managed to resist.
“I narrowly escaped being mugged by a double team (two women),” he related in a February diary entry. “It was tempting, but I prayed and God gave me the strength to say ‘no’.”
Serial adultery is a weakness among the testosterone-fuelled male Kennedys. Patriarch Joe showed the way with his open affair with actress Gloria Swanson, reportedly telling sons John, Bobby and Ted to get “laid as often as possible”. They dutifully obliged.
It seems the infidelity gene has been inherited by a third generation.
Even to his diary, Robert jr couldn’t be completely true. Despite Bobby Kennedy’s track record, his son comically insists he’s ashamed by what his father might think of his philandering. And he makes clear in the book that he is one of many younger Kennedys who have had trouble living up to the family’s gilded “Camelot” reputation.
After his father was assassinated in 1968, Robert jr “struggled to be a grown up”, he told his diary. He went on: “I felt he was watching me from Heaven. Every time I was afflicted with sexual thoughts, I felt a failure. I hated myself. I began to lie, to make up a character who was the hero I wished I was.”
Since when was having “sexual thoughts’ a sign of failure in the thrusting Kennedy family?
But the Irish-American clan has always been able to hide its sins behind its supposedly staunch Catholicism, and Robert jr used biblical imagery to describe his womanising.
“My life is… great,’ he wrote on November 5, 2001. “So I’ve been looking for ways to screw it up. I’m like Adam and Eve, and I can have everything but the fruit. But the fruit is all I want.”
On another occasion, he told himself to be “humble like a monk. Keep your hands to yourself. Avert your eyes”. He should avoid women, he said, as he didn’t have the strength to “resist their charms”.
When he spent a month in a Puerto Rican jail for his involve-ment in a protest against US bombing exercises on a local island, he told his diary: “There’s no women. I’m happy!”
On the eve of being released, he claimed he had a “three-point plan” to fix his “greatest defect… my lust demons”. Such high hopes appeared to last little more than two weeks before he was again recording the names of women he had seduced.
The infidelity in the diary alone would be enough for any philanderer, but inevitably it was only one chapter in Kennedy’s bed-hopping lifestyle. His serial adultery was cited 10 years later in the breakdown of his marriage.
Robert jr and Mary shared a history of alcoholism, which he compounded with a drug problem. Mary was pregnant with their first child when they married in 1994, just a few weeks after he divorced first wife, Emily.
Kennedy – who has talked in the past about running for the Senate – clearly regards himself as a public figure. He has endorsed various Democrats in presidential campaigns and appeared in an ad campaign for Hillary Clinton. Recently he faced embarrassment as the New York Post published what he revealed in his diary about fellow public figures.
Robert jr, who has positioned himself as a lion of the Liberal-Left, described George W Bush as “an idiot and a puppet” a day after 9/11.
But he was equally damning of black allies on the Left. Civil rights activist and presidential contender Al Sharpton was a “buffoon” whose “venal blackmail and extortion schemes taint all black leadership”. Fellow civil rights firebrand Jesse Jackson was, he wrote, a publicity addict who made him feel “dirty”.
The Kennedy brand remains so strong that Robert jr will be forgiven his political posturing in time, but his sexual antics will be rather harder to sweep away.
His compulsive infidelity is particularly damning given that the Kennedys have been in a bitter dispute with his wife’s family over the circumstances of her death.
Mary was found hanged in a garage at her home in May last year. She had been struggling with depression, alcoholism and financial problems as she fought a vicious divorce and child custody battle with her estranged husband.
The year before her death, the Kennedy camp leaked a shocking court affidavit from Robert jr in which he asked for a protection order against his wife.
Kennedy claimed she had been violently abusing him since they married, and once – in a rage about his friendship with his ex-wife Emily – hit him in the face, her engagement ring crushing his tear duct, causing permanent damage.
But even he implied she was justified in telling their children he was a “sex addict”. By 2001 – the year covered by the diary – he was “committing numerous infidelities to keep my sanity”, he admitted in the affidavit.
After Mary’s death, Kennedy – who was dating the actress and Curb Your Enthusiasm TV star Cheryl Hines at the time – said his wife had phoned him the day before her death pleading for help.
“She told me she was sorry for everything… that everything was her fault,” he told police.
But her family were so appalled by his behaviour towards her that they insisted on holding a separate memorial service, from which the Kennedys were excluded.
We now know at least partly what might have sent Mary out of her mind – even, according to their housekeeper, once attacking her husband with a pair of scissors as he sat in the bath. Some women would say he was lucky she didn’t kill him, given the way he behaved.
The “curse of the Kennedys” may have become a part of American folklore, but from the evidence of Robert jr’s self-pitying diary, no one believes in it more than the family does. – Daily Mail