The Kennedys are legendary; many consider them the American equivalent to a royal family. However, as glamorous as their dynasty may be, there are two sides to every coin, and, on the opposite side of “Camelot,” there are some seedy elements – the most prominent being the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and all the conspiracy theories surrounding it.
Other aspects of the Kennedy dark side include tales of JFK's infidelity toward Jackie O, tragic accidents, excessive drinking, pay offs, and gambling addictions. Buried even deeper in the collection of Kennedy dark secrets are family members tucked away for mental disabilities, or shunned for religious differences, or ostracized for crime allegations.
So much misfortune has befallen a seemingly charmed family, that the phrase “The Kennedy Curse” has become the common, simplified way to describe the scandal and tragedy that seem to follow not just the Kennedys, but their extended family as well.
Michael Skakel Slayed 15-Year-Old Martha Moxley
15-year-old Michael Skakel, nephew of Ethel Skakel Kennedy, was tried and convicted for the slaying of 15-year-old Martha Moxley.
It was October 30, 1975, "Mischief Night," when Martha went out with friends. Around 9:30 pm, she was seen kissing Michael’s brother, Thomas Skakel, in their backyard. The next day she was found dead, near a tree in her own family's backyard. She had not been assaulted, but her pants and underwear were pulled down. Her autopsy revealed she was both bludgeoned and stabbed with a golf club that traced back to the Skakels.
Thomas Skakel was the prime suspect at first; his father refused to cooperate with police and denied them access to his school and mental health records. Both brothers changed their stories multiple times, but the focus shifted to Michael for a number of reasons. At one point, Michael Skakel claimed he was peeping in people’s windows and pleasuring himself in a tree near the Moxley residence that night.
Two former patients at a treatment center Michael had attended testified to hearing him confess to the crime and bragging, "I'm going to get away with [it]. I'm a Kennedy."
In October 2020, Connecticut Chief State's Attorney Richard Colangelo Jr. said he would not retry Kennedy because too many witnesses had died, and the case would be dismissed.
Ted Kennedy Was Involved In A Fatal Car Accident
After a big party on Martha's Vineyard, Senator Ted Kennedy offered to give a young campaign worker a ride to her car. On the way, however, he drove his car off a Chappaquiddick Island bridge on July 18, 1969. He swam free of the wreckage with 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne still trapped inside, and, although he claimed he dove beneath the surface and attempted to free her several times, he did not report the situation to anyone for 10 hours.
Kopechne's body wasn't recovered until the next day, and Kennedy pled guilty to leaving the scene of a crash and causing personal injury. He was given a two-month suspended jail sentence. He stayed in the Senate for the next 40 years.
JFK Took Steroids And Had Serious Health Problems
President John F. Kennedy took various steroids, including injections of anabolic steroids and eventually ended up overusing them. The President suffered from Addison's disease, which affects the adrenal gland’s function, which required his steroid use. He was hospitalized for it at least half a dozen times, so ill he received his last rites, sometimes left in a semi-comatose state.
Addison's disease also makes it harder for the body to fight off infections, so, after getting an infection in 1961, he nearly didn't survive that either. The source of the illness was sexually transmitted bacterium, which is why this incident was hidden from the public.
Jackie’s Father Struggled With Several Demons
As it turns out, Jackie Kennedy Onassis’s father was quite the gambler of questionable morals. John Vernou Bouvier III, commonly known as “Black Jack,” was a heavy drinker and careless spender, known for liking a good time in the bedroom. His excessive vices are what led to his divorce from Jackie’s mother.
Bouvier never remarried, and his lifestyle didn't improve. He was too drunk to walk his daughter down the aisle when she married JFK. Her stepfather, Hugh Dudley Auchincloss, Jr. escorted her instead. Bouvier was diagnosed with liver cancer in the spring of 1957, and by August 3, he was gone. He was 66 years old.