The real reason Jackie Kennedy married JFK

One of the enduring mysteries about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is why she would have chosen to marry politician and presidential hopeful, John F. “Jack” Kennedy, despite that she had already accepted a marriage proposal from another eligible bachelor, despite her discomfort being under public scrutiny, and despite that Jack already had a reputation as a womanizer. A new book by Randy Taraborelli, Jackie, Janet & Lee: The Secret Lives of Janet Auchincloss and Her Daughters reveals a compelling theory involving Jackie’s mother, Janet Lee Bouvier Auchincloss.

Janet Norton Lee was only 21 when she married Jackie’s father, John Vernou “Black Jack” Bouvier III, according to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, and only 33 when she divorced him over his philandering. The divorce left the Bouvier girls to struggle financially before Janet remarried two years later, this time to the wealthy investment banker, Hugh Auchincloss. The entire experience made Janet certain that she didn’t want her daughters to ever struggle financially.

RELATED: Inside their wedding

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Inside JFK and Jackie Kennedy's wedding
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Inside JFK and Jackie Kennedy's wedding
(Original Caption) Newport, RI: Democratic Senator John F. Kennedy and his bride, the former Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, cut their wedding cake after their marriage yesterday at St. Mary's Church in Newport.
(Original Caption) Mr. and Mrs. John F. Kennedy and wedding party after church ceremony. Photo.
(Original Caption) Jackie and John Kennedy cut their wedding cake in 1953. (Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Sygma via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Mr and Mrs. John F. Kennedy cutting their wedding cake.
Jackie and JFK in 1953
The wedding party posing 
So in love! 
A little girl smelling a flower at John F. Kennedy's wedding reception. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Guests attending John F. Kennedy's wedding reception. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier sit together in the sunshine at Kennedy's family home at Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, a few months before their wedding.
Two little girls playing at John F. Kennedy's (L) wedding breakfast. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917 - 1963), Democratic senator for Massachusetts, escorts his bride Jacqueline Lee Bouvier (1929 - 1994) down the church aisle shortly after their wedding ceremony at Newport, Rhode Island. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) 9/10/1953- Hyannisport, MA: Senator John F. Kennedy (D-MA) and Miss Jaqueline Lee Bouvier of Newport, RI, will be married September 12 at Newport, in one of the most elaborate weddings of the current season. The couple are shown above at Kennedy's Hyannisport, MA home shortly after their engagement was announced recently. Miss Bouvier sips a cup of tea demurely.
Socialite Jacqueline Bouvier fixing veil of wedding dress outdoors at Hammersmith Farm on day of her marriage to Sen. John Kennedy. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Sen. John Kennedy (R) w. bride Jacqueline (L) in wedding attire, sitting together at table, eating pineapple salad at formally set table outdoors at their wedding reception. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Jacqueline Bouvier in gorgeous Battenburg wedding dress w. her husband Sen. John Kennedy as they stand in front of church after wedding ceremony. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Former US Amb. to Great Britain Joseph Kennedy, dancing with son John F. Kennedy's bride, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, at their wedding reception held at her mother's home. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Jacqueline Bouvier (C), bride of Sen. John F. Kennedy, wearing a gorgeous off-the-shoulder wedding dress. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Sen. John F. Kennedy (4R) with his bride Jacqueline at their wedding reception. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Sen. John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline (C), standing with a group of ushers. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
12th September 1953: John Kennedy (1917 -1963) and Jacqueline Bouvier (1929 - 1994) pose with their ushers and maids of honor on their wedding day, Newport, Rhode Island. (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)
NEWPORT, RI - SEPTEMBER 12: Senator Leverett Saltonstall congratulates Sen. John F. Kennedy at the wedding reception as Kennedy's wife, Jacqueline Bouvier, looks on, Sept. 12, 1953. (Photo by Charles McCormick/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
View from behind of Jacqueline Kennedy (1929 - 1994) (in a Battenburg wedding dress) as she dances with her husband, future US President John F Kennedy (1917 - 1963) at their wedding reception, Newport, Rhode Island, September 12, 1953. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Portrait of future US President John F Kennedy (1917 - 1963) (middle row, center) and Jacqueline Kennedy (1929 - 1994) (in a Battenburg wedding dress), as they pose with their groomsmen, among them Kennedy's brothers Ted Kennedy (1932 - 2009) (middle row, left) and Robert Kennedy (1925 - 1968) (middle row, second right) on the day of his wedding, Newport, Rhode Island, September 12, 1953. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
View of the head table of at the Kennedy wedding reception, Newport, Rhode Island, September 12, 1953. Among those pictured are Robert Kennedy (1925 - 1968) (seated, second left), bride Jacqueline Kennedy (1929 - 1994) (seated, center) (in a Battenburg wedding dress), groom and future US President John F Kennedy (1917 - 1963) (seated second, right); standing behind them is Eunice Kennedy Shriver (1921 - 2009). (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Low-angle view of future US First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (1929 - 1994) (in a Battenburg wedding dress) as she holds the arm of her husband, future US President John F Kennedy (1917 - 1963), in front of St Mary's Church after their wedding ceremony, Newport, Rhode Island, September 12, 1953. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Future US President John F Kennedy (1917 - 1963) and Jacqueline Kennedy (1929 - 1994) (in a Battenburg wedding dress) take the first dance at their wedding reception, Newport, Rhode Island, September 12, 1953. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Future US First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (1929 - 1994) (in a Battenburg wedding dress) is escorted to St Mary's Church by her stepfather, Hugh D Auchincloss (1897 - 1976) for her wedding to John F Kennedy who walked her down the aisle, Newport, Rhode Island, September 12, 1953. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Future US President John F Kennedy (1917 - 1963) and Jacqueline Kennedy (1929 - 1994) (in a Battenburg wedding dress) stand in front of St Mary's Church after their wedding ceremony, Newport, Rhode Island, September 12, 1953. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
American future First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (1929 - 1994) poses with her husband politician and future US President John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963) immediately after their wedding at Hammerstein Farm Newport, Rhode Island, September 12, 1953. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Senator John F. Kennedy and his bride, the former Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, leave a Newport, Rhode Island, church following their wedding ceremony. An estimated one thousand people waited outside the church for the newlyweds.
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“Money and power,” is what Janet told Jackie and her sister, Lee, holds the secret to happiness, according to Taraborrelli, who maintains that if it were not for Jack’s money and power, Jackie would not have been with him. As Taraborrelli recounts it, Jackie had gotten engaged to John Husted Jr., a stockbroker, in January of 1952.

In a letter from Jackie to a confidante soon after, she wrote of how she knew Husted was “the right one” and it’s “the deepest happiest feeling in the world.” The marriage was set for June, but in March, Jackie returned the ring to Husted, reportedly at their engagement party. According to Taraborreli, this was at her mother’s behest, after Janet found out that Husted was making $17,000 a year (approximately $159,000 in today’s money).

According to the JFK Library and Museum, Jackie met Jack, a favorite son of a wealthy New England political family, while she was working as the “Inquiring Camera Girl” for the Washington Times-Herald newspaper. She had started the job in the fall of 1951. In June of 1953, Jack Kennedy proposed while Jackie was in London covering Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation (here’s what happened when Jackie finally got to meet the Queen in 1962), and the two married in September of that year. Exactly when, why, and how the courtship began between the future president and his future wife is not public knowledge, but the timeline suggests that Taraborrelli isn’t far from the truth in suggesting the real reason Jackie left Husted was that John F. Kennedy would be more acceptable in her mother’s eyes.

Fans of the glamorous First Lady will want to see these rarely seen photos of Jackie that take us back to her youth and young adulthood.

RELATED: Jackie O's childhood home 

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Jackie Kennedy Onassis' Childhood Home
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Jackie Kennedy Onassis' Childhood Home
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