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Carly Simon’s New Memoir Documents Her Unlikely Friendship With Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

by Angela Andaloro

Carly Simon is an iconic singer-songwriter, so it’s only fitting that she was friends with other iconic people.

Among them was former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Carly documented the unlikely friendship with Jackie in a new memoir, Touched by the Sun: My Friendship With Jackie.

The memoir, out on October 22, is published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. It tells a lot of beautiful stories about Jackie. The book discusses Jackie‘s signature charm, her relationships with both John F. Kennedy and Aristotle Onassis, and her love for her children.

Carly says that their own friendship worked so well because the two were total opposites, in the best way.

“I was who she wasn’t. I think she got a big kick out of that,” she told People. The two were introduced by John F. Kennedy Jr. in 1983 on Martha’s Vineyard and remained friends until Jackie’s death in 1994 at 64 years old.

Carly Simon is a bona fide icon. There are few who can touch on the legacy of the singer-songwriter and author. Her latest book ventures into a fascinating subject, her friendship with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Carly discusses their friendship, which began in 1983 and lasted until Jackie’s death in 1994, in Touched by the Sun: My Friendship With Jackie. The memoir comes out on October 22 and is published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

In a news release about the book, Carly said, “When I first met Jackie, I didn’t imagine we had that much in common much less expect her to become my book editor, confidant, protective mother figure, and mischievous pal.”

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She continued, “She arrived when I least expected to make a new friend and she stayed up until the time of her death.” While their friendship wasn’t a secret, neither Carly nor Jackie had ever discussed it publicly.

“I could be neurotic, bohemian and all over the place; she always had to be so correct,” Carly told People of the friendship with the former first lady. “I was who she wasn’t. I think she got a big kick out of that.”

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Jackie and Carly met when John F. Kennedy Jr. introduced them at a party in Martha’s Vineyard in 1983. They fell into a close friendship over the subsequent years, and Jackie shared a lot of personal details with Carly.

“Why am I writing about someone so private who disliked attention?” Carly asked in anticipation of the question. “If someone affects your life as Jackie did mine, you can’t not write about her.” She also added, “I withheld a great deal.”

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Carly revealed that she and Jackie discussed JFK’s infidelities. Jackie told her that she “understood that he made some stupid mistakes,” but didn’t let it phase her because “she knew he loved her more, much more.”

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Jackie also spoke of her marriage with Aristotle Onassis. “She said he was very sexy — he would sing to her on his yacht and take her great places to make love,” Carly recalled. “She knew marrying him was the bad-girl move. In a way, I never knew whether she was sticking up for her own decision or whether she really loved him.”

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Jackie also spoke of her children, JFK Jr. and Caroline. She had concerns about her son. “Jackie was very consumed with getting him on the right path,” Carly recalled. “She didn’t approve of some of [the women] — she was horrified by Madonna.”

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Aside from all the serious discussions and deep conversations, Carly revealed that Jackie loved to have fun. She was “incredibly funny,” Carly said. Then Carly recalled a recording session they attended with opera singer Plácido Domingo in 1990.

The next day, Carly got a gushing letter from the opera singer, with a photograph. She called Jackie, excited to tell her. She was surprised when Jackie barely reacted to the news. “She paused for a long time, and then she said, ‘Carly, did you really think it was from Plácido?'” Carly said.

“She’d written it herself and disguised her handwriting!” Carly explained. “The practical joker in her was nonstop.” It’s such a different but endearing picture of the otherwise poised figure the public came to know.

The anecdote leaves readers wondering what else we didn’t know about the enigma that was Jackie O. It seems Carly will honor the friendship and the woman Jackie was while opening our eyes to things we never knew, as well.