JFK: Mistress and missiles

Former White House intern Mimi Alford details 18-month presidential affair and says President sent his family away so he could have her during nuclear stand-off

When the United States stood on the brink of nuclear Armageddon during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, President John F Kennedy sent his wife and children away to stay at the family's summer farm in Virginia. But he pulled his 19-year-old mistress close, summoning her from her college while he stared down the Soviet Union.

Later, Jackie Kennedy revealed in recently-released interviews that she had begged her husband to keep her, Caroline and John Jr. close, but instead he turned to Mimi Alford, the young press intern with whom he carried out an 18-month affair.

Miss Alford revealed this shocking story about the president's behaviour along with the sordid details of what she says was her 'tender, funny, loving' relationship with JFK. And despite the shame that she felt for some of the act she performed and keeping her secret for half a century, she says she would do it all over again.

Young intern: Miss Alford says that while her affair with the president felt overpowering at times, she believes she was willing
Broken lips: Mimi Alford kept her secret affair with the former U.S. president safe for years before deciding to write a tell-all book about their time together

In an interview with NBC's Rock Center after the release of her explosive new memoir, 'Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath,' Miss Alford said the president directed her to perform a sex act on his 50-year-old special assistant, Dave Powers, while he watched.
The next summer, she claims, he told her to do the same to his baby brother, Teddy Kennedy. But this time, Miss Alford -- ashamed of what she did with Mr Powers -- refused.

The retired New York church administrator says the night before the Cuban Missile Crisis ended, Kennedy sent a limo to Wheaton College, where she was studying. It picked her up and took her to a hotel near the White House in Washington. 'God knows I didn't belong there,' Miss Alford said.
But it was surreal and exciting. She never saw the president that night. It was a waiting game, as she so often played with Kennedy.

In addition to stories of her sex life with the president, she also revealed tender moments she shared with him. 'He had a collection of little yellow rubber ducks and they were in the bathtub and rubber ducks sort of became part of the game,' she said in the interview.

'We had races with rubber ducks in the bathtub.' Far from being repulsed by his advances, the former church worker also admitted that she found him 'unbelievably handsome'. Extracts from her memoir have detailed how she was shocked when on her fifth day as a White House press aide he led her away from co-workers who were having cocktails down the hall to his wife's bedroom where they had sex for the first time.

Aged 19 at the time, she writes that 'short of screaming' there was nothing she could do to get Mr Kennedy off her. But in an interview with NBC, Miss Alford said that she actually meant 'overpowered in the sense that he was the president.'

Speaking to Today she said: 'He was this unbelievably handsome man who was 45-years-old.
'Not overpowered physically as in somebody grabbed me and made me do something that I wasn't really willing to do, because I really think I was willing to do it.'

Miss Alford added that the first time she met the President the day before at the White House pool, during which time he eyed her up, felt perfectly normal too. She said: 'It really didn't feel unnatural because everybody was friendly because everybody went back to work afterwards.'

Miss Alford was first 'outed' in 2003 in a biography of Mr Kennedy but she has kept quiet until now.
Asked why she now decided to write her memoirs, she said: 'Most mornings I thought: 'I don't want to get up and write this book'. 'Then I thought: 'Why keep a secret? Why keep silent about something? You do something because you think it's keeping you safe, but in fact it's deadly.'

In the book, 'Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath,' Miss Alford writes how she went from being a debutante from a prominent New Jersey family to a White House press aide -- and into the president's bed.

Taken: Miss Alford claims that President Kennedy, seen here with his wife Jacqueline, took her to his wife's room in the White House where she lost her virginity to him
'Best friend': Dave Powers

Her lurid claims include allegations that he once made her inhale a sex drug at a debauched party at Bing Crosby's desert ranch. 'The president asked me if I wanted to try the drug, which stimulated the heart but also purportedly enhanced sex.

'I said no, but he just went ahead and popped the capsule and held it under my nose. He didn't try it himself. This was a new sensation, and it frightened me. I panicked and ran crying from the room,' she writes in her autobiography.

On another occasion he coerced her into performing a sex act on an aide while he looked on.

When she thought she was pregnant that same aide arranged for her to see an abortion doctor, even though abortion was illegal at the time.

It turned out to be a false alarm. Miss Alford, now a 69-year-old grandmother living in New York, also writes in her autobiography that through their affair she never called Mr Kennedy by his first name 'Jack' and always called him 'Mr President,' even when they were in bed together.

Miss Alford, who ironically went to the same Miss Porter's school as JFK's wife Jackie, described Kennedy as 'playful', the sex as 'varied and fun' and said he could be 'seductive and playful'.

She said they spent a lot of time 'taking baths' and that if they spent the night together, she would wear his own soft-blue cotton nightshirts.

But she also revealed complications in the relationship, saying they never kissed, and that she was often subjected to a 'waiting game' where she was told to stay in her hotel until he called for her.
In a different direction for their affairs, Miss Alford also writes of the president asking her to 'take care' of his friend, staff member Dave Powers, who 'looked a little tense' in his description while they were swimming in the White House pool.

'It was a dare, but I knew exactly what he meant. This was a challenge to give Dave Powers oral sex. I don't think the president thought I'd do it, but I'm ashamed to say that I did... The president silently watched,' she wrote.

During the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, where the U.S. and USSR had a nuclear stand-off, he reportedly told her that: 'I'd rather my children red than dead.' In another, more personal moment when her lover reached out to her following the death of his infant son Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, she wrote of their time together seated on a White House balcony while he quietly wept.

She wrote: 'I had never seen real grief in my relatively short life. He invited me upstairs, and we sat outside on the balcony in the soft summer evening air. There was a stack of condolence letters on the floor next to his chair, and he picked each one up and read it aloud to me... Occasionally, tears rolling down his cheeks, he would write something on one of the letters, probably notes for a reply. But mostly he just read them and cried. I did, too.'

Miss Alford said she saw President Kennedy for the final time at The Carlyle hotel in Manhattan on November 15, 1963, just a week before his assassination in Dallas. At this point she was due to be married to her college sweetheart, Tony Fahnestock.

'He took me in his arms for a long embrace and said, 'I wish you were coming with me to Texas.' And then he added, 'I'll call you when I get back.' I was overcome with sudden sadness. 'Remember, Mr President, I'm getting married.'

''I know that,' he said, and shrugged. 'But I'll call you anyway.''

© Daily Mail, London

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