Details from Bobby Jr.’s sealed divorce affidavit, which contains allegations that Mary physically abused him, stole personal items from his daughter, ran over the family’s dog in the driveway, and repeatedly threatened to kill herself – Lawrence Leamer, Newsweek
ELIZABETH EDWARDS and Mary Kennedy, are there any correlations? Most will think not, because there are more differences than likenesses between these two tragic stories of accomplished women, but yet I couldn’t help but think of the late Elizabeth Edwards when I read the dissection by Lawrence Leamer, who got a copy of the secret 60-page divorce filing for Newsweek. It’s classic Tina Brown coverage, a story that makes everyone look away, but which is rich with cultural, political and gender topics worth mining for the less squeamish, because the tragedy of a woman who is supposed to have it all but doesn’t is timeless.
It’s why I bothered to dissect in detail Sally Quinn’s ravings in my book, with her ramblings today, which are roundly being mocked, resembling the call to social arms she unloaded during the Clinton era. A woman whose association with power came through her love for Ben Bradley, who was married at the time they met, pushed her to shove Bradley’s kids out of the picture in his memoir about his son, all of which has been chronicled by Vanity Fair. Mrs. Quinn is evidence of sanity if you read the Kennedy divorce story, which depicts Mary Kennedy allegedly doing equally cruel things to her husband’s children by his former wife.
When the story of Elizabeth Edwards confronting her idiot pretty boy husband in the parking lot was exposed by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, a moment that was recently replayed in the Edwards trial, the horrific scene of epic desperation of a woman so revered was a shock to the senses. The drama of her ripping off her blouse to be seen by her husband horrifying in its naked vulnerability. There were charges of sexism, as well as cruelty, against the authors for daring to report such a sordid story. However, it was true, so why did two men who got the scoop get charged with sexism for telling it?
The telling of human stories is what makes up the tapestry of our history, which will always be a fascination to those of us who write and cover public figures involved in politics, because as we search for the perfect leader we are sifting through the human experience of less than perfect people. Too many times journalists and political writers pick and choose stories according to personal prejudices, ideological factors and judgments that are better left to the public, because our job is simply to replay the facts and color of the drama unfolding in time. Editors choose what is obscene for their American audience, because in our country we are afraid of the truth, while some audiences put themselves above the stories of our lives, because some are judged not serious enough to spend time contemplating. That’s a personal choice that resides outside the writer’s purview, with the duty to tell another chapter in the ongoing saga of human struggles important if one solitary lesson is learned.
Bravo wouldn’t have an entire lineup of “Real Housewives of [fill in the city here]” shows, nor Mrs. Eastwood in reality, or E!’s weekly Kardashian crash, if people weren’t fascinated by the human condition, which includes watching someone unravel in public that’s got it worse than you. Kathy Griffin has become a maven of “Real Housewives” digests, with tonight’s episode of “Kathy” sure to have an item about a woman named Taylor Armstrong, whose soap opera off stage just ended in a legal settlement, the details of which could make Court TV.
A woman of means, Mrs. Edwards had innumerable choices, but yet she chose to stay in her marriage, but also aid her husband in a political cover-up that duped believers that the Edwardses were something they clearly were not. What makes a woman sell herself to an unworthy man at the cost of her self? It’s a subject I take up in my book in the chapter “It’s All the Woman’s Fault,” a topic I’ve mined over years on how women sabotage themselves, but also how the media can set women up, as some act as their accomplice.
Mary Kennedy’s life and end were far different than the late Mrs. Edwards, though the public picture was quite different from the private one for both. Neither woman was able to escape from the passion they had for men who weren’t worth their efforts.
Claims today that Mary Kennedy was sick with Borderline Personality Disorder would explain the divorce affidavit by Robert Kennedy, Jr. Both Mary Kennedy and Robert Kennedy had battled similar demons, adding anorexia to her list that included alcoholism, from which RFK, Jr. suffered as well, topped by a heroin addition.
However, the late Mrs. Kennedy had the talent and means to save herself, an accomplished architect with Parish-Hadley, with connections that could lead her away from destruction. But the story tells a tale that begins with her identity so wound up in the man and her marriage to Robert Kennedy, whom she began dating when he was still married, she lost it on every level attempting to resurrect a dead relationship, while reportedly dragging young children through the war her ego was waging.
Mary Kennedy’s family has responded to the Newsweek article and disclosure of the divorce affadavit, denying Mary Kennedy suffered from BPD. A short snippet of the family’s statement is below:
The false claim that Mary suffered from BPD is also an insult to those who do struggle with this serious mental illness. Right now, our primary concern is for Mary’s children. There will be a time and a place for the true facts to come out.”
Of course, an obsessive love addiction, a product of a rampaging ego, can make women of any means do crazy things. Take Shellie Zimmerman, who was arrested and charged with perjury for aiding her husband George Zimmerman lie to the court about finances to keep his bond low.
There is nothing so uplifting and healing, but can drop you to the cutting edge of insanity, like what love stirs in us. It can lift, save, as well as drive you to the depths of losing control if you ever forget the prime objective of life, which is to have a relationship with ourself that unlocks the keys to our own existence, damn everyone else around us.
Men seem to have a greater survival instinct than women, who are more willing to throw themselves over the cliff for love or it seems, the appearance of it.
Hell hath no self-destructive fury like a woman’s ego scorned.
As women get more freedom and power and leverage, what are we learning? Our stories hold the answers.