Though his father, the late President John F. Kennedy, was only alive for a small part of John F. Kennedy Jr.’s life, the two shared a special bond.
Almost 20 years after JFK Jr., his wife Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, and her sister Lauren Bessette died in a plane crash en route to a Kennedy family wedding in Hyannis Port, ABC aired a two-hour primetime special Thursday night about the late son of John F. Kennedy.
The special, titled “The Last Days of JFK Jr.,” included a segment on the loving relationship between father and son. Christopher Anderson, author of “The Day John Died,” told ABC News that it was fascinating to watch the president play with John John.
“There was a bond between the two of them,” Anderson said. “John was definitely the apple of his eye.”
The special also featured archival audio of JFK Jr. talking about some of his early memories of playing in the Oval Office, moments which were often captured by White House photographers.
“He had this desk in the Oval Office, which belonged to a sea captain, it was made from an American frigate,” JFK Jr. said. “And I just remember the inside you could climb around in. He used to give us chewing gum because my mother didn’t like us to chew gum. So we used to go over to the Oval Office at night. He’d feed us gum at the desk.”
Anderson and Doug Wead, author of “All the Presidents’ Children,” acknowledged that JFK often used the children for political purposes, much to Jacqueline Kennedy’s disapproval. Wead said that the president would tell his press secretary to get the children out of bed for photos, even after they’d been tucked in for the night.
“These wonderful pictures we have of the Kennedy children cavorting around the Oval Office, almost all of those photographs were taken when Jackie was out of the country,” Wead said.
“Mrs. Kennedy would come back, [and] she’d be furious to see pictures of her children,” Anderson said. “And his press secretary, Pierre Salinger, would tell me that he had to take the heat.”