SHE was the First Lady of glamour and the international style icon of the Sixties; he was the rising ballet star with the world at his feet.
But at a time when it seemed Jackie Kennedy and Rudolf Nureyev could not put a foot wrong in their public lives, their private lives were a different matter.
For according to claims made in an explosive new book, the pair had a wild fling while Jackie was still in the White House.
And to add to the intrigue, it says Nureyev, who was nine years younger than the First Lady, was also once spotted with Jackie’s brother-in-law Robert F. Kennedy “kissing each other passionately in a phone box”.
Much has been written through the years about President John F. Kennedy’s dalliances while in office. His mistresses were famously said to include actresses Marilyn Monroe and Angie Dickinson, mafia moll Judith Exner and a 19-year-old White House intern.
But the latest dramatic claims suggest that, despite playing the picture-perfect wife, Jackie was not content to sit idly by while her husband had affairs.
According to Globe magazine in the US, which has an advance copy of book The Pink Triangle, Jackie flew Nureyev to Washington in 1963 and they “plunged into a secret love affair that lasted years”.
“Jackie first fell for Rudi the day she invited him and his legendary dance partner Margot Fonteyn to perform at the White House,” writes the book’s co-author, celebrity biographer Darwin Porter.
The First Lady arranged a private jet for Nureyev and he reportedly sat in JFK’s rocking chair and informed the president’s wife: “Unlike your husband, I have a powerful back.”
While only a few close friends in America knew about the fling, the couple remained close after JFK’s 1963 assassination.
They were photographed together in New York in 1967 and England in 1968 – and that same year, Paris Match magazine claimed the ballet star had been overheard drunkenly boasting about his conquest.
Nureyev, who defected to the west from the Soviet Union in 1961, made no secret of the fact that the Kennedys had fallen under his spell.
“I am the sexiest man alive,” he told a Danish newspaper before his death from Aids in 1993. “Just ask [Jackie’s sister] Lee Radziwill. Just ask Jackie Kennedy. And if you don”t believe me, ask Bobby and John-John Kennedy. Nobody can resist me. Everyone who has gone to bed with me has fallen in love with me.”
The book claims Jackie told her close friend, author Truman Capote, that: “I think Rudi systematically plans to seduce every member of my family, even my son when he grows up.”
Jackie ended the relationship only when she saw the dancer paying too much attention to her son, JFK Jr., claims Porter. He also says she clashed with Nureyev in 1993 when she learned he was encouraging her son to become an actor rather than go into politics.
According to the book, another ballet dancer, John Kriza, was also linked to Jackie, who died from cancer in 1994.
Writer Gore Vidal is quoted as saying: “Each of us launched an affair with him, Jackie using my apartment when I did not have John otherwise engaged.”
The book, which details the lives of Capote, Vidal and playwright Tennessee Williams, is due for release next month. - Bang Showbiz