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Mimi Alford has officially broken her silence and recounts details of her affair with John F. Kennedy in her memoir, Once Upon a Secret: My Affair With President John F. Kennedy and its Aftermath. The book is to be released Wednesday but the New York Post apparently got a copy at a Manhattan bookstore and reveals lots of salacious details.
Mimi Alford, then Mimi Beardsley, interned at the White House in the summer of 1962, quickly caught the president’s eye. The 19-year-old joined the 45-year-old president for a noon swim four days into her internship. Later that day, he took her virginity in “Mrs. Kennedy’s room.”
“After he finished, he hitched up his pants and smiled at me.” Alford says their sex life was “varied and fun” and describes an affair that was more than just sex. They apparently spent an “inordinate amount of time taking baths” and listened to music together. He confided in her during key personal and professional moments, such as when his infant son died and during the Cuban Missile Crisis. But he never kissed her on the lips.
At one point, during another noon swim, Kennedy allegedly asked Alford to “take care” of an aide. He watched as she performed oral sex on him. Kennedy ended up apologizing to both of them. At a later date, Kennedy asked her to “take care of my baby brother,” meaning Ted Kennedy, during a Democratic fund-raiser. She refused.
Alford also describes a party in Bing Crosby’s desert ranch when “yellow capsules” that were “most likely amyl nitrate” were passed around. The president asked her if she wanted to try it. She said no, but “he just went ahead and popped the capsule and held it under my nose.”
Alford’s identity was first revealed in 2003 when Robert Dallek published portions of a 1964 oral history that described the affair. A press aide had described the affair to a researcher but had asked that it be kept secret. Dallek convinced her to release the interview for his book. The New York Daily News then tracked down Marion Fahnestock, who, faced with a media frenzy, confirmed the affair.
At the time, the late Hugh Sidey, who covered Kennedy at the White House, wrote in Time, confirming that “there was a Mimi,” quickly adding: “there was also a Pam, a Priscilla, a Jill (actually, two of them), a Janet, a Kim, a Mary and a Diana I can think of offhand.”
In 2009, the New York Times wrote that Alford was working on a memoir. Random House’s executive editor said she bought the book after seeing 20 pages, noting it would have “an extraordinary heart and soul.” The editor also insisted that Alford’s “just not that type of person, where she’s going to spill her guts about intimate stuff for the whole country to see.”