They are America’s royalty, but they are also doomed by fate. The Kennedys have reached the heights of power and fame, but they have also fallen victim to assassinations, accidents, overdoses, and scandals.
Some believe that the Kennedys are cursed by destiny or God, as a result of their greed, wealth, or sins. Others blame their troubles on their reckless and flawed personalities. Whatever the reason, the Kennedys have suffered more than their fair share of sorrow and grief。
- The curse started with Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., the patriarch of the family who made a fortune through banking, film production, and bootlegging. He pushed his nine children to achieve greatness in politics, business, and society.
- His eldest son, Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., died in 1944 when his plane exploded during a secret mission in World War II. His daughter Kathleen Kennedy Cavendish died in 1948 in a plane crash in France.
- His second son, John F. Kennedy, became the 35th president of the United States in 1961, but he was shot and killed in Dallas in 1963 by Lee Harvey Oswald. His wife Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis died of cancer in 1994.
- His third son, Robert F. Kennedy, was a senator and attorney general who ran for president in 1968, but he was shot and killed in Los Angeles by Sirhan Sirhan. His wife Ethel Kennedy had 11 children, but many of them faced tragedies. David Kennedy died of a drug overdose in 1984. Michael Kennedy died in a skiing accident in 1997. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. battled addiction and mental health issues.
- His fourth son, Edward “Ted” Kennedy, was a senator for nearly 47 years who championed liberal causes. But he also had his share of scandals and controversies. In 1969, he drove his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, killing his passenger Mary Jo Kopechne. He later faced allegations of womanizing and drinking. He died of brain cancer in 2009.
- His daughter Rosemary Kennedy was born with intellectual disabilities and underwent a lobotomy at the age of 23 that left her incapacitated for life. She died in 2005.
- His daughter Patricia Kennedy Lawford married actor Peter Lawford, but they divorced amid rumors of his affairs and substance abuse. She died in 2006.
- The curse did not spare the next generation of Kennedys either. John F. Kennedy Jr., who was only three years old when his father was killed, grew up to be a handsome and charismatic lawyer and magazine publisher. He married Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, a former Calvin Klein publicist, in 1996. But they both died in 1999 when their small plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near Martha’s Vineyard.
- Kerry Kennedy became a human rights activist and lawyer. She married Andrew Cuomo but they divorced in 2005 after she had an affair with a married man. She was also arrested for driving under the influence of drugs in 2012.
- Patrick Kennedy, the son of Ted Kennedy and Joan Bennett Kennedy, was a congressman who admitted to having bipolar disorder and substance abuse problems.
- Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the son of Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Kennedy, was arrested for heroin possession in 1983 and later struggled with alcoholism. He divorced his first wife Emily Black in 1994 and married actress Cheryl Hines in 2014. He is an environmental lawyer and activist who has been criticized for his anti-vaccine views.
- Christopher Kennedy Lawford, the son of Patricia Kennedy Lawford and Peter Lawford, was an actor and author who battled drug addiction for years. He died of a heart attack in 2018 at the age of 63.
- Kara Kennedy, the daughter of Ted Kennedy and Joan Bennett Kennedy, was a filmmaker and television producer who survived lung cancer in 2003. She died of a heart attack in 2011 at the age of 51.
- The curse also claimed the lives of some of the youngest members of the family. Saoirse Kennedy Hill, the granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Kennedy, died of an accidental overdose at the age of 22 in 2019 at the family home in Hyannis Port. She had suffered from depression and wrote about her mental health struggles in her high school newspaper.
- Maeve Kennedy McKean, the granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Kennedy, died in a canoeing accident at the age of 40 in 2020 along with her eight-year-old son Gideon. They were trying to retrieve a ball that had fallen into Chesapeake Bay during the coronavirus lockdown.
The Kennedys have faced unimaginable losses and hardships over the decades, but they have also shown remarkable resilience and courage. They have continued to pursue their passions and causes, such as human rights, social justice, environmental protection, and public service. They have also supported each other through their grief and pain.
The Kennedys are not just a family, but a dynasty that has shaped American history and culture for generations. They are also a symbol of hope and tragedy, of glory and curse.