Carolyn Jeanne Bessette was born in White Plains, Westchester County, New York, the youngest child of William J. Bessette and Ann Messina Freeman, an administrator in the New York City public school system. She grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut, and attended St. Mary’s High School, where she was voted an “All-Around Beautiful Person”. She graduated from Boston University in 1988. While at Boston University she met and dated John Cullen, an NHL player.[1]

She had two older sisters, twins Lauren and Lisa Bessette.


After college, she worked as a saleswoman at the Calvin Klein store in Boston before being transferred to the corporate office/headquarters in New York, where she worked as a publicist and met John F. Kennedy, Jr. while at work. The couple became a popular paparazzi target, with gossip columns detailing where they ate and shopped and even covering the arguments they had. Photographers waited outside the couple’s Tribeca apartment to snap photographs. She was reportedly uncomfortable with the media frenzy and the repeated comparisons to her mother-in-law, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Bessette and Kennedy were married on September 21, 1996 on Cumberland Island, Georgia in a historic Baptist church. Their wedding was private and secret in an effort to elude the media.

Carolyn’s wedding dress was designed by Narciso Rodriguez.


On July 16, 1999, Carolyn died, along with her husband and older sister Lauren, when the Piper Saratoga II HP Kennedy was piloting crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Martha’s Vineyard. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that the probable cause of the crash was: “[John Kennedy Jr.’s] failure to maintain control of the airplane during a descent over water at night, which was a result of spatial disorientation.”[2] Their ashes were scattered from the Navy ship USS Briscoe off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard.[3]

*Source: Wikipedia


4 Responses to Biography

  1. Matthew J. Van Deventer says:

    Hi there. I’m a visual researcher for a documentary film company and I’m curious about the origins of the photographs on one of your blog posts (

    Other than the MSNBC logo, which I’m looking into, do you know where I can find these other photographs?

    All the best,

  2. leticia says:

    Like it very much. I also wrote about John John Kennedy. Very nice pics.

  3. Angela says:


    To think she was only a year younger than me when she died. I bearly knew who she was when I was young (I was 14-18 years old when she was in the publics eye), but recently I have discovered her and I absolutely love this blog. I want to thank you personally for creating it. It appears that the Ultimate Carolyn website is no longer in existence, and it seems it’s the only one left of its kind with everything about Carolyn.

    I was wondering where to find video footage of Carolyn even from entertainment tonight? I think it would be interesting to hear reporters talking about her/them during that time :). Perhaps if you run across any footage like this, please post it (on YouTube if you can’t on where) and add links that may already have posted content to the website!!! Your website is the last remaining complete archive to our only ‘pseudo’ princess :).

    Thank you again!!

  4. Donna says:

    Would like to know if this magazine is worthy anything people magazine October 7th 1996 Vol.46 No.15

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