New York: Mimi Alford was terrified in 1998
when the Monica Lewinsky scandal turned the word "intern" into
a dirty joke, exposing an affair with a United States
Her decades-old secret about her trysts with John
F Kennedy was still safe then. Outed in a 2003 biography and a
New York newspaper account, Alford has learned to tell her
story and not be ashamed of it from the moment she said
Kennedy seduced her on her fourth day working at the White
House until the affair ended shortly before his death.
In "Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F
Kennedy and its Aftermath," published last week by Random
House, she writes of her first encounter as a naive teenager,
her "varied and fun" sex life with Kennedy, whom she always
called Mr President.
She was 19 and had no sexual experience when she first
went to bed with Kennedy in his wife, Jacqueline's bedroom. It
was June 1962.
"Short of screaming," she writes, "I doubt I could have
done anything to thwart his intentions."
Nor did she want to thwart his intentions.
"I wouldn't describe what happened that night as making
love," she writes. "But I wouldn't call it non consensual,
either." Addressing people who have questioned the encounter,
she said, "I don't consider it was rape. I have never
considered it rape because I was willing."
The relationship continued, even after Alford had become
engaged while attending college in suburban Boston, until
Kennedy's 1963 assassination, she wrote.
The two raced rubber ducks in the bathtub; they had
multiple sexual encounters, though he never kissed her; when
he called her at her college dorm, he would use the code name
Michael Carter, she wrote.
Her account seems "quite credible," said Robert Dallek,
whose Kennedy biography made a passing reference to a college
sophomore who was a favourite of the president's.
"This is how he operated," Dallek said. "He was a
A lawyer for the Kennedy family did not respond to
requests for comment over the weekend.
Writing the book was liberating, Alford said in an
interview last week in her publisher's midtown offices.
First Published: Monday, February 13, 2012, 17:28