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This Is How JFK and Jackie Actually Met

It all started with a simple dinner party.

On September 12, 1953, John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier's love affair was set in stone when they tied the knot in Newport, Rhode Island. However, their love story began one year earlier, when they first met in their future hometown of Washington, D.C.

The year was 1952. Back then, the politician was still a congressman from Massachusetts, campaigning to be senator. Bouvier, meanwhile, was working as the "Inquiring Camera Girl" for the Washington Times Herald.

While at the Herald in the spring of 1952, Bouvier was invited to a dinner party in Georgetown, hosted by her friend and fellow journalist Charles Bartlett and his wife, Martha.

Little did Bouvier know, Bartlett had also made sure his friend Jack Kennedy would be in attendance. The Bartletts were determined to bring these two individuals together—and thankfully, their efforts paid off when the journalist and the politician hit it off immediately.

"She knew instantly that he would have a profound, perhaps disturbing, influence on her life," said Jackie's family friend Molly Thayer, as quoted in Sarah Bradford's America's Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Following cocktails and chicken casserole, the group played a game of a charades, during which Kennedy and Bouvier's flirtation kicked into high gear, according to Edward Klein's All Too Human: The Love Story of Jack and Jackie Kennedy. Though Kennedy asked the new object of his affection out for a drink, Bartlett recalled to Klein that Bouvier left early for another date. "Perhaps some other time?" she said. "Sure, some other time," he muttered.

However, there was do denying that sparks had flown between these two future America's sweethearts. In fact, Bouvier caught Kennedy's attention like no other woman ever had. "My brother really was smitten with her right from the very beginning when he first met her at dinner," Jack's youngest brother, Ted Kennedy, once claimed, according to Bradford's book.

Eventually, a called-off engagement to John Husted and some months later, Bouvier and Kennedy were finally able to begin their courtship. "Members of the family knew right away that she was very special to him," Ted Kennedy said. "He was fascinated by her intelligence: They read together, painted together, enjoyed good conversation together and walks together."

The duo quickly became serious, and in the summer of 1953, Kennedy proposed to Bouvier with an emerald and diamond Van Cleef & Arpels engagement ring.

As for the D.C. house they first met in? The Washington Post reported in 2018 that the Georgetown red brick row house on Q Street was on the market for $1.725 million. And Scott Stewart, a history buff with an affinity for the Kennedys, decided to buy the house that built America's most famous couple.

"I like to think that the first couple…talked longingly about their first date and the house," Stewart told the Post. "It's neat to be woven into that fabric."

And for more secrets about the Kennedys, here are 25 Crazy Facts about the Kennedys You Never Knew.

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Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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