Marilyn Monroe called John F Kennedy’s wife to confess to having an affair with her husband, only to be told: “that’s great, I’ll move out and you have all the problems”.
Jackie Kennedy is said to have responded: “Marilyn, you’ll marry Jack, that’s awesome… 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”.
Yet is there any truth to the rumor that John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe had an affair? We take a look at their relationship and what evidence has emerged to decide true or false.
On March 24, 1962, John F Kennedy and Ms. Monroe both were present for the party at Marilyn Monroe: The Biography, biographer Donald Spoto quotes that Marilyn Monroe called her close friend and personal masseur, the actor , from the same bedroom where the president John F Kennedy was staying at Bing Crosby’s house. Roberts, JFK, and Monroe then had a brief conversation about the President’s famously back problems. Ralph Roberts was later interviewed by Spoto, who clarified what Marilyn Monroe had told him about her sexual experiences with JFK:. In
Later, once the rumor mill was grinding, Marilyn confessed that this night in March was the only time of her “affair” with JFK. Of course she was thrilled beyond belief, because for a year the president had been trying, to have an evening with her, through Lawford. A great many people thought, after that weekend, that there was more to it. But Marilyn gave me the intuiton that it was not a major event for either of them: it happened once, that weekend, and that was that.
The late actress Susan Strasberg, whose father Lee Strasberg was Marilyn’s acting coach and close friend of Monroe, endorsed this story in her unpublished memoir. “It was O.K. to sleep with a charismatic president,” Susan said, adding that “Marilyn loved the secrecy and the drama of it, but Kennedy was not the kind of man she wanted to spend her life with, and she made that very clear.”
The next and last time Marilyn Monroe crossed paths with JFK was at Kennedy’s 45th birthday party where Marilyn shimmied onto Madison Square Garden stage. The knowledge that Marilyn and JFK had already had a one-night stand by this point makes the sensuality she sang a breathy rendition Happy Birthday, Mr. President even more tangible.
“Thanks, Mr. President / For all the things you’ve done / The battles that you’ve won / The way you deal with U.S. Steel / And our problems by the ton / We thank you so much.”
After that performance, JFK took the stage to thank her and said: “I can now retire from politics after having had Happy Birthday sung to me in such a sweet, wholesome way.”
Soon after the event, White House photographer Cecil Stoughton clicked the only existing picture of the two figures.
Monroe is alleged to have given Kennedy a Rolex as his birthday present and the watch sold at auction a decade ago for $120,000. The gold Rolex is engrave: “Jack, With love as always from Marilyn May 29th 1962” and it is said the Marilyn had given the watch to Kennedy aide Kenneth O’Donnell, who passed it on to the president, but when Kennedy saw it, he told O’Donnell to “get rid of it,” according to a note that was sold with the watch.
The watchcase contains a poem, written on a small piece of paper, titled, “A Heartfelt Plea on Your Birthday.”
The poem reads:
“Let lovers breathe their sighs
And roses bloom and music sound
Let passion burn on lips and eyes
And pleasures merry world go round
Let golden sunshine flood the sky
And let me love
Or let me die!”