It’s not “Fire and Fury,” but it is infuriating.
A new book by Kennedy family biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli cites unearthed letters penned by Jackie Onassis alleging acts of elder abuse against her mother, Janet Auchincloss.
And she blames that mistreatment on her mom’s third husband, Bingham “Booch” Morris, who struggled to understand Auchincloss’ battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
“Booch is torturing Mummy and he cannot hide behind the rights of a husband!” the former First Lady allegedly wrote in one letter to her brother Yusha Auchincloss, which was obtained by Taraborelli. “This has brought things to the point where we find ourselves trying to protect her from him.”
Janet Auchincloss on her estate in Newport, R.I., on July 19, 1977, with her dog Witherby.
(SUZANNE VLAMIS/ASSOCIATED PRESS)
The ugly accusations are stated in “Jackie, Janet & Lee — The Secret Lives of Janet Auchincloss and her daughters, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Lee Radizwill,” which comes out on Tuesday.
Onassis also wrote that Morris, who married her mom in 1979, was “an angry and disturbed man” who could appear calm, “but his anger will be boiling inside… and after a while I believe it will erupt again.”
She also claimed that her mom had said “that man wants to do bad things to me.”
After uncovering the letters, Taraborelli researched Onassis’ claims and found that her mom’s disease sometimes caused her to claim she was being abused, while denying it at other times.
“She was confused,” according to Janine Rule, whose mother was Auchincloss’ caretaker. “Because of her disease, it wasn’t easy to get a straight answer from her.”
Dr. Dennis Selkoe, who was Auchincloss’ physician, is also skeptical about Onassis’ concerns.
Never-before-seen wedding photos of JFK and Jackie Kennedy
“I saw no signs of physical or verbal abuse,” he told Tamborelli. “The problem as I saw it was that he didn’t understand Alzheimer’s and, as a result, was impatient with Janet. He would lose patience. But abusive? No.”
Auchincloss, 81, died from complications connected to Alzheimer’s in 1989. According to Tamborelli, when Onassis died five years later, she went to her grave convinced that her mother had been the victim of spousal abuse in her final days.
With Brian Niemietz