She was powerless to save him as the shots rang out. In the moments after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated at 46 while being driven through Dallas in 1963, his wife, Jacqueline, cradled him in her arms, her pink Chanel suit covered in blood and brains. In the years that followed, she experienced excruciating, pulsating neck pain that sometimes made it difficult to get out of bed — agony she attributed to nerve damage suffered as she gripped Jack’s shattered head in her lap, a new book reveals.

She was also diagnosed with PTSD. But JFK’s horrific death isn’t the only thing that caused her trauma. In the bombshell book Ask Not: The Kennedys and the Women They Destroyed, out July 2, author Maureen Callahan delves into an American dynasty and Jackie’s private hell, revealing that the former first lady’s psychological turmoil was fueled not only by a violent act but also by JFK’s “constant infidelities.”

The world Jackie inhabited “was steeped in power, glamour and wealth,” says an insider, “but her life was more deeply marred by pain and tragedy — some of her own making — than anyone realized.”

Jackie Kennedy’s Love and Loss

The decade Jackie — who died in 1994 of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at 64 — was married to JFK was hardly a fairy tale behind the scenes. Though Jackie relished being a mother to Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg (the current U.S. ambassador to Australia) and JFK Jr. (who died in a plane crash at 38 in 1999), she was haunted by loss. Daughter Arabella was stillborn; son Patrick died 39 hours after his birth; and Jackie suffered multiple miscarriages that Callahan reports were likely caused by all the sexually transmitted diseases, including asymptomatic chlamydia, JFK gave her amid his exploits.

But according to the book, JFK wasn’t the only one who enjoyed extramarital liaisons. Drawn together by their “shared trauma,” fragile Jackie began a “yearslong affair” with JFK’s married brother Robert F. Kennedy, writes Callahan, claiming the relationship ended when Bobby ran for president in 1968. Months after RFK was assassinated at 42 in 1968 while campaigning, Jackie wed Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, who began cheating on her just weeks later.

Jackie “negotiated 170 clauses in her marriage contract,” Callahan claims. These included how frequently they’d have sex and terms ensuring her financial security, with Aristotle reportedly paying Jackie “$3 million up-front and $1 million for each of her children,” the book reveals, plus “$600,000 a year for travel.”

But he was no savior: Two years before his death at 69 in 1975, the billionaire “gave [Jackie] a black eye,” the book claims, after he lost his son from a previous marriage in a plane crash. Aristotle blamed Jackie for being the “living embodiment of the Kennedy Curse,” which he believed ended another life too soon.

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