Jann Wenner says that John F. Kennedy’s marriage was “on the rocks” when he died.
In his upcoming memoir, “Like a Rolling Stone,” out Sept. 13, the rock ’n’ roll magazine founder reveals that he spoke to the political scion just two weeks before Kennedy died while piloting a small plane in July 1999.
“His marriage was on the rocks,” Wenner writes. “He had flown after sunset, two hours late, chose a route over open water despite low visibility, instead of along the well-lit shoreline.”
The private plane was also carrying Kennedy’s wife, Carolyn Bessette, and her sister, Lauren. Wenner, who was invited to the small church service, shared that the first person he saw at the service was Kennedy’s cousin, Maria Shriver and the two “collapsed into each other’s arms, crying. I loved John. He was my good buddy, a little brother, and now a mythological fallen prince.”
Wenner adored his friend — even naming Kennedy a guardian to his children should anything happen to Wenner — but nevertheless offers an honest portrait of the George magazine co-founder.
He recalls attending a Rolling Stones concert at the Meadowlands with Kennedy.
“I said I’d get the tickets if he’d bring the dope,” Wenner writes. “Once we parked he pulled out a foot-long bong, as if we were going to bring it to our seats. Very John.”
He also thinks the son of assassinated President John F. Kennedy should have been a politician himself.
“We had often discussed what he wanted to do; it was assumed he would run for office. I thought he should,” Wenner writes. “He had the common touch, spoke earnestly, and was a compassionate person. In fact, he was polite, funny, and an all around terrific guy.
“He also had a temper, was impetuous, and sometimes reckless.”
Wenner confesses that the two had a falling-out in the months leading up to Kennedy’s death.
“John was impetuous and had too quick a temper. He wouldn’t return my calls,” he writes, explaining that the acrimony began when Kennedy’s cousin Anthony Radziwill asked him what he “really thought about George [magazine]” and “repeated it to John, who felt I was bad-mouthing him around town. I shouldn’t have been so direct with Anthony, but I thought it was all in the family; on reflection, that had made it worse.”
The two reconciled with the help of a little prodding by Maria Shriver. Kennedy died only a few weeks later.
Wenner was also close pals with Kennedy’s sister, Caroline, and his mom, Jackie Onassis.
“I loved the time I spent with Jackie,” Wenner writes. “Being in public, even walking, was like being in the inside of a beautiful and shiny sunlit bubble. People watched her, made way for her. She seemed to enchant them. The force was strong. We had many lunches.”
He also reveals that the former first lady loved to gossip “about rock stars and movie people and whoever was in the news.”
Wenner’s final lunch with Onassis was at the end of April 1994. The two spoke about her children and “her sadness about her sister Lee’ [Radziwill’s’ anger toward her, how Lee just wouldn’t let it go.”
He remembers that the 64-year-old had “a strange dry cough. I had no idea that she was being treated for cancer. Two weeks later she was dead.”