Ted Kennedy's Romantic History

Ted Kennedy was as notorious for his scandalous private life as he was for his career.

Ted Kennedy death

Ted Kennedy, the last of the living Kennedy brothers and renowned Massachusetts senator who held office as a Democrat since 1964, died Tuesday of brain cancer at the Kennedy estate in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.

Formally named Edward Moore Kennedy, Ted was as known for his questionable private life as his political feats. YourTango's Celebrity Love has constructed a timeline of the scandals that went on behind Ted Kennedy's loosely-closed doors for five decades.


1958 - After a yearlong courtship, Ted Kennedy married beauty queen and college classmate Virginia Joan Bennett (known now as Joan Kennedy) in November 1958 in Bronxville, New York. They had three children, Kara (now 49), Edward Jr. (47) and Patrick (42). Joan campaigned for Ted's 1964 senatorial seat, and he won. It was the first of his eight terms as senator.

1969 - Ted had been partying with a bunch of campaign girls on Chappaquiddick Island in Martha's Vineyard when he drove into a lake on his way home from the party. His only passenger, twenty-eight-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne died in the wreck, and Ted didn't report it until the next day after her body was found (he pled guilty). The nature of his relationship with Kopechne was never clarified.


1970s - In just over a decade after his wedding, Ted's extramarital flings were spinning out of control. In 1979 Time Magazine reported on an infamous Washington, D.C. dinner party where "14 talented and interesting men and women talked of nothing but (Ted's) sexual activities."

1982 - After nearly three decades of Ted's drinking and liaisons with other women, he and Joan divorced in 1982. She received a $4 million settlement.

1983 to 1989 - Ted was known throughout the mid-to-late '80s for his series of hookups and the occasional serious dating relationship, but he refused to commit.  In 1989 paparazzi caught him having sex with an unnamed woman on a motorboat while on holiday in Europe. The Boston Globe reports that when the photos hit the press, "Alabama senator Howell Heflin joked he was glad to see Kennedy had 'changed his position on offshore drilling.'"

1991 - During Easter vacation in Palm Beach, Florida, Michelle Cassone said Ted walked in on her and his son Patrick while they were hooking up. Allegedly Ted was dressed in nothing but a nightshirt and had a weird look on his face. Just a few months later in June, Ted ran into his colleague's daughter Victoria Anne Reggie at a dinner party. Vicki was more than two decades his junior, but by September that year they were serious and in July 1992 they were married in civil ceremony on the Kennedys' property in McLean, Virginia. Ted told the public before their wedding, "I am painfully aware that the criticism directed at me in recent months involves far more than disagreements with my positions...[It] involves the disappointment of friends and many others...I recognize...the faults in the conduct of my private life...I alone am responsible for them, and I am the one who must confront them." He grew to be a devoted stepdad to Vicki's two adult children.


1994 - Twelve years after the split, Joan Kennedy wanted to renegotiate her 1982 divorce settlement with Ted. His campaign overshadowed their dispute, especially when new wife Vicki helped him beat Mitt Romney in the battle to be Massachusetts senator.

Ted was still in office at the time of his death on August 25, 2009. He is survived by Victoria and his three children, and in a statement, the family thanked "everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice."

Photo courtesy Flickr user roberthuffstutter.