The Complicated Reality of John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette's Tragic, Legendary Love Story

JFK Jr. and Carolyn Bessette had been married for less than three years when they were killed in a plane crash on July 16, 1999, but their gorgeous, volatile romance remains the stuff of legend.

Carolyn Bessette didn't say yes when John F. Kennedy Jr. first proposed to her.

She didn't say no, either, but remarkably the 29-year-old Calvin Klein publicist, who had been dating the eligible bachelor for about a year, wasn't yet sure that she was ready for what marrying him would entail.

Namely, a merging of lives that would come with a host of perks but also require a daunting amount of self-sacrifice, not even including the matter-of-fact assault on her privacy.

Carolyn had spent enough time at the Kennedy family compound in Hyannis Port to know that there was no exaggerating the legend behind the larger-than-life name,

a family technically made up of flesh and blood just like any other but which had embedded itself in the very fabric of American culture over the greater part of the 20th century.

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