Christina Haag, JFK Jr.'s Former Love, Talks Gaining Jackie O's Trust
By Nicki Gostin Posted Apr 12th 2011 11:40PM
Christina Haag first met John F. Kennedy Jr, when she was a teenager growing up in the cloistered world of New York's tony Upper East Side. At first friends, it was not until a decade later, after they had both graduated from Brown University and were living in New York City that they connected romantically. The pair was cast in an off-Broadway play as a young couple in love. Art imitated life and the two embarked on a tumultuous five-year relationship that was played out in society columns and tabloids. Haag, a TV actress, has penned a deeply personal and passionate memoir about their time shared, called 'Come to the Edge: A Memoir,' and spoke with PopEater about what drew her to the "gorgeous ... fun ... curious" and tragic Kennedy, whose life was snuffed out in a plane crash in 1999. She also opens up about the iconic Jackie O and about the time she and John almost died kayaking.
Why did you decide to write this book?
It's my story and I wanted to tell it. It was a long time in coming. I began it in 2003. I had always written and it was a very resonant time in my life. After John died the memories were very, very present with me. It was a way of remembering and letting go.
Was John the love of your life?
I think in my 20's I would have believed there was a love of my life but I have a different perspective now but I certainly loved him very deeply.
Your book implies that you two would have still been together had it not been for bad timing.
I think it was timing that broke us up.
Did you keep in contact after you broke up?
We did. Our lives took different paths and I was more in L.A. but we would run into each other once in a while.
Fun, exciting, romantic, original, very, very curious about life and people.
He seemed like he was down to earth.
He was. We met when we were 15, so yes he was the son of a President but we were teenagers. Knowing each other with a group of friends, it wasn't like meeting a famous person, he was a guy in our group.
Was it intimidating to meet his mother, Jackie O?
At first I met her in high school but I didn't know her well then. She was extraordinarily beautiful and charming and welcoming to John's friends. But when I met her later she was great. There wasn't a trust right away for either of us but we really grew to care about each other. We had things in common and we spent time together aside from John.
She was incredibly poised and eloquent and yes, she was John's mother, but she was also this extraordinary woman who you wanted to be on your toes for and have a great conversation with. She loved great stories; she loved hearing great stories at her house in Martha's Vineyard. She loved laughing.
It's got to stick in your craw that John got married on Cumberland Island a place you introduced John to.
It was a long time ago. Yes it was painful at the time. Clearly the place was important for both of us.
Did you ever meet Carolyn Bessette?
I met her once at a party and I thought she was lovely and very beautiful.
Have you heard any reaction from John's family?
I haven't. I can't speak for Caroline. I have a great respect for her. I think if there was a problem I would have heard about it. We have people in common and I'm really writing about my life.
You write about a kayaking experience in Jamaica where you both nearly died. Do you think John had a reckless streak?
I don't know anything about planes or aviation so I don't have a judgment. I just think it's a tragedy that three people are no longer here and I know other pilots who went up that night and did fine so I can't speak to that but what I was writing about was an earlier time, a more innocent time. It was when we were in our 20's and at that time in your life you do things that maybe later you would never do. You're younger and you think you're invincible. So we did have this frightening experience in Jamaica. I don't know, he was an adventurous guy.
What's your favorite memory of your time together?
I don't know if it's my favorite but he loved red tail hawks. He loved nature. Any time we were somewhere he would point them out. They were so special to him.
How about favorite romantic memory?
At this time there were no cell phones and I checked my answering machine and there was a message from him to go downstairs to my bicycle which was outside my acting school, Julliard. I went downstairs and there were two dozen red roses tied to the bike and there was a card of a painting of a French courtesan from the 19th century and it said, 'You Rule My World,' and it was unsigned.
On a shallow note were you ever like I can't believe how hot my boyfriend is?
He was gorgeous. I think it's something I think about more now. He was beautiful but what was so great about him was he had such a funny, goofy, unaffected manner and that made him all the more attractive.
'Come to the Edge: A Memoir' is out now.
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