John F. Kennedy, whose 100th birthday is being celebrated this year with a Kennedy Centennial postage stamp, TV memorials, a slew of books, and much media coverage, was revered as the 35th president of the United States.
But the man married to Jackie Kennedy was quietly chided for his compulsive philandering. The one iconic photo of President John F. Kennedy up close and personal with a woman other than Jackie shows him and his attorney general brother, Robert, coming on to curvaceous Marilyn Monroe at a party.
While the photo of Kennedy cozying up to Monroe is the best known of him with one of his purported lovers, other far less public snapshots show the flip side of Kennedy’s intimate relationships.
Among the snapshots is one that shows a handsome pre-presidential Kennedy sunning himself, sprawled on a chaise at Patriarch Joe Kennedy’s Palm Beach estate. And seated close to Kennedy is his shirtless, tanned and oiled best friend forever, his very gay chum, Kirk LeMoyne ‘Lem’ Billings.
While JFK is legendarily known as a master womanizer who frequently cheated on his first lady, his curious three-decades long intimate friendship with Billings suggests more than a simple bromance.
They met in 1933 in their sophomore year at Choate Rosemary Hall, the exclusive Connecticut prep school, when both were teenagers, working together on their class’s yearbook, and Billings instantly became attracted sexually and otherwise to the handsome scion of America’s self-styled royal family.
Their very intimate relationship would last from those school days to Billings even having a room in the Kennedy White House – distressing for the first lady – to the day of Kennedy’s assassination.
One of the most credible accounts of the Kennedy-Billings relationship was told by David Pitts, who I interviewed extensively for my book, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. And The Dark Side Of The Dream, because the strapping, bespectacled Billings, with a high-pitched, effeminate voice, would later become the fawning surrogate father – and fellow drug user – of JFK’s nephew, Bobby Kennedy Jr., with whom Billings also had intense romantic feelings.
As one source told me, ‘Young Bobby replaced Jack in Lem’s heart of hearts.’
Billings, who was a year older than Jack Kennedy, made his desire known while the two were still at Choate in a bizarre love note, penned on a piece of toilet paper that could be disposed of easily to avoid incrimination at a time when homosexuality was illicit.
While Billings’ missive is long gone, a startled Kennedy responded, ‘Please don’t write to me on toilet paper anymore. I’m not that kind of boy.’
But Kennedy’s reaction to Billings gay come-on soon changed and he became more amenable to his friend’s advances, according to the writer Lawrence J. Quirk, author of ‘The Kennedys in Hollywood.’ Quirk had met Billings in the mid-Forties when both were volunteers in Jack Kennedy’s first congressional campaign.
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Source: Daily Mail