Carly Simon, 74, is remembering Jackie Kennedy 25 years after her death. The singer gave an emotional interview, remembering the former First Lady in her final moments. “It’s seared in my brain what she looked like,” the famous singer-songwriter told NBC News in an interview on Oct. 22. “She was so ravishing, and wearing this little handkerchief scarf, paisley scarf on her head, and looking so beautiful and so regal and so finally at home.” Jackie Kennedy died as Jackie Kennedy Onassis, following her second marriage to Aristotle Onassis, and her death marked a major endpoint for American politics and the fables and glamour of the Kennedy family.
Carly, famous for her song “You’re So Vain,” had a very close friendship with Jackie, though their age was separated by 16 years. In her new book, Touched by the Sun: My Friendship with Jackie, Carly chronicles the pair’s special connection, ruminating on how Jackie “didn’t have license to be free. She was a naughty girl and she liked that in herself and she liked it in other people.” With their lives and experiences in very different places, somehow Carly and Jackie formed a bond that would last through the final decade of Jackie’s life.
It all began in Martha’s Vineyard, 1983. At the time, Carly was 38 and coming off of the major success of her hit “You’re So Vain,” which released roughly 10 years prior. Meanwhile, Jackie, who was 54, was working as an editor at the Doubleday publishing company. It was 20 years after her husband President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. Carly and Jackie were introduced by Jackie’s son, John Jr., whom Carly already knew. After their first meeting, Jackie asked Carly to write a memoir under Doubleday publishing, but scrapped the idea due to some painful memories concerning her family. Instead, Carly wrote two children’s books and the two maintained a close relationship after their professional partnership.
“It is seared in my brain what she looked like. She was so ravishing and so wearing a little handkerchief scarf, paisley scarf on her head, and looking so beautiful.” @CarlySimonHQ talks about her last moments with Jackie Kennedy pic.twitter.com/Ovl9aPchTT
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) October 22, 2019
The pair would often attend the opera, go to movies, have lunch and make an appearance at parties as each other’s plus ones. Jackie even became a kind of maternal figure for Carly, doling out advice on money and men. “You’ve got to find somebody who’s gonna make your lineage stronger, who’s going to give you the best possible children, who’s going to support you, who’s going to have a great position in life in his workplace,” was just some of the wisdom Jackie passed on to the singer. “She was really interested in my life,” Carly recalled of Jackie.
While the former First Lady would often deliver bracing honesty to Carly, there were certain subjects the singer never brought up during their conversations. “I would never bring up JFK,” Carly confessed. “I would never bring up a lot of the subjects that we ended up talking about because she would bring them up. But there was a certain line that I couldn’t cross, just out of being careful.”
But all these years later, 25 years following Jackie’s death, Carly’s book is revealing the intimate details of their friendship, conversations and character studies. “She would have been very interested in herself,” Carly shared. “And that goes along with her first mandate to me, which was to write a memoir about the interesting people that I knew. What better answer than to write about Jackie?” Carly’s book, Touched by the Sun: My Friendship with Jackie Kennedy’ is available Oct. 22.