September 14, 2011 6:36am PT by THR staff
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis-Diane Sawyer Report Airs on ABC (Video)
ABC's Diane Sawyer broadcast her report on Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis on Tuesday at 9 p.m. John F. Kennedy's widow gave a seven-part interview to historian and Kennedy aide Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. in 1974 -- shortly after his assassination. They will be released by ABC's Hyperion with the book Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy, which appears in stores Wednesday (but was purchased earlier by an NBC producer, which allowed the network to beat ABC on its exclusive; read how it went down here).
The eight and a half hours of interviews (which were also obtained by the New York Times) were kept private at the request of Kennedy, who died in 1994.
Speaking about Cuban missile crisis, Kennedy remembers her husband suggesting she return to Washington from their Virginia weekend home without explaining why.
“From then on, it seemed there was no waking or sleeping,” she says.
When Kennedy learned more about the Cuban crisis, she implored her husband: "If anything happens, we’re all going to stay right here with you. I just want to be with you, and I want to die with you, and the children do, too — than live without you.”
Kennedy is also blunt revealing her feelings about other high-powered politicians and social figures. She calls French president Charles DeGaulle "that egomaniac" and says The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is "a phony." Indira Gandhi, who would go on to become the prime minister of India, is “a real prune — bitter, kind of pushy, horrible woman.”
She also implies that “violently liberal women in politics” would vote for former Democratic presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson over Kennedy because they "were scared of sex." She says of Madame Nhu, the sister-in-law of the president of South Vietnam, and Clare Boothe Luce, a former member of Congress: “I wouldn’t be surprised if they were lesbians.”
Jacqueline's daughter Caroline Kennedy writes the foreword to the book, which she says is scheduled to be released with the 50th anniversary of her father's presidency.
She thinks the tapes reveal more of her mother's character. "[People] don't always appreciate her intellectual curiosity, her sense of the ridiculous, her sense of adventure or her unerring sense of what was right," Caroline says.