In 1972, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, best known as a former First Lady of the United States and widow of late President John F. Kennedy, faced the greatest scandal of her life.
Nude photos of her taken without her knowledge had been printed across the pages of infamous men’s magazine Hustler, showing her body for the world to see.
Jackie was horrified by the breach of privacy, but little did she know someone close to her was supposedly responsible for the whole scandal.
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According to biographer Steven M Gillon, her second husband Aristotle Onassis « arranged for photographers to take photos of [Jackie] sunbathing nude on Skorpios – photos that made their way into Larry Flynt’s pornographic magazine Hustler. «
In his book America’s Reluctant Prince: The Life of John F. Kennedy Jr., Gillon explains the photos weren’t the only thing Aristotle allegedly leaked to the press.
His marriage with Jackie was supposedly more of a business deal than anything else, with a pre-nup that specified the couple would sleep separately and Jackie wouldn’t have to have his children.
In return for marrying him, Jackie would be provided thousands of dollars in monthly allowances.
This included a base $ 10,000 allowance, plus another $ 10,000 for clothing, and half as much to spend on her two children, John and Caroline.
But – according to Gillon – Jackie would regularly exceed her allowances and demand more money, which Aristotle would respond to by leaking stories about her spending habits.
Their marriage was on a downward spiral through the late 1960s and early 1970s, and just four years after they wed, Aristotle supposedly orchestrated the 1972 nude photos in a grand gesture of resentment.
Photographers snuck to a beach on Skorpios, an island in Greece, where she was living with Aristotle and snapped photos of Jackie in the nude.
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They were published soon after in Hustler, before being splashed across front pages and newspaper spreads around the world as a shocked public watched on.
Jackie reportedly didn’t know her husband was behind the photos and immediately went to him when she heard about their publication, demanding Aristotle sue every outlet that had printed them.
Of course, the damage was already done by that point.
Jackie had been exposed to the world at her most vulnerable – completely without her consent, may we add – and her reputation suffered for it.
Her children were also subjected to merciless bullying, according to reports, after their peers heard of the mother’s nude photos.
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Jackie and Aristotle’s relationship was already messy when the photos were published, and it only continued to break down after that alleged betrayal.
Eventually the pair started the process of divorcing, however Aristotle died in 1975 before the divorce could be finalized.
Jackie contested her late husband’s will, which left her $ 200,000 a year, but the former First Lady supposedly wanted « no less than $ 20 million » of Aristotle’s vast fortune.
Eventually, his daughter agreed to give Jackie $ 26 million to settle the issue.
Jackie never remarried, and though she is widely remembered as one of the most stylish and beloved First Ladies in American history, the nude photos were undoubtedly one of her most scandalous moments.