Home About Chat Users Issues Party Candidates Polling Firms Media News Polls Calendar Key Races United States President Senate House Governors International

New User Account
"A historical political resource." 
Email: Password:

  Kennedy, Joan Bennett
NameJoan Bennett Kennedy
Boston, Massachusetts , United States
Born September 02, 1936 (84 years)
Last ModifedThe Sunset Provision
May 22, 2008 11:27pm
Tags Caucasian - Divorced - Alcoholic - Catholic - Straight -
InfoJoan Bennett Kennedy was born Virginia Joan Bennett on September 2, 1936 in Riverdale, New York, [1] the daughter of Henry Wiggin Bennett, Jr. and the former Virginia Joan Stead. She attended Manhattanville College, a Sacred Heart Academy, along with several Kennedy daughters. Through them, she met her future husband, Edward Moore Kennedy.

Ted and Joan were married on November 29, 1958, in Bronxville, New York. Her brother-in-law, John F. Kennedy, dubbed her "the dish", due to her good looks and fashionable style. They had three children: Kara Kennedy Allen (born February 27, 1960 in Bronxville, New York), Edward Moore Kennedy, Jr. (born September 26, 1961), and Representative Patrick Joseph Kennedy (born July 14, 1967). Kara married Michael Allen on September 9, 1990 in Centerville, Massachusetts. They have two children: Grace Kennedy Allen (b. September 19, 1994 in Washington D.C.) and Max Greathouse Allen (b. December 20, 1996 in Rockville, Maryland). In July 1969, while pregnant with another child after two miscarriages, Joan stood beside her husband in court a few days after a car he was driving plunged off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, killing his young female passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne; she suffered a third miscarriage shortly thereafter. Two of Ted and Joan's children would develop cancer: Edward Moore Kennedy, Jr., developed bone cancer that resulted in the removal of a portion of a leg in 1973, and Kara Kennedy Allen was treated for lung cancer in 2003.

Although she made a public display of unity during Ted's failed 1980 presidential campaign, the marriage was falling apart after a long, slow decline, allegedly because of his womanizing and her alcoholism. On December 6, 1982, the divorce was finalized.

After her divorce, Joan became an accomplished musician and enjoyed being grandmother to her four grandchildren from Kara and Ted Jr. In addition, Kennedy worked as an advocate for the mentally challenged and for cancer research and was a supporter of the Children's Hospital and the Pine Street Inn, a Boston-based homeless shelter.

She had been arrested at least four times for drunk driving. In 1974, she was arrested in Virginia. In 1988, she was arrested in Barnstable, Massachusetts.

Her sister-in-law, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, persuaded her to seek treatment for her drinking problem. Joan found it easy to discuss her problems with Jackie.

She was ordered to undergo treatment following a 1991 arrest in Quincy, Massachusetts. In 2000, she was arrested in Barnstable, and charged with DUI and failure to provide a license or registration. In the 2000 case, she was sentenced to 2 years probation.

In February, 2005, the press revealed her children were granted legal guardianship over her because of her ongoing struggle with alcoholism.

On March 30, 2005, Kennedy was hospitalized with a concussion and a broken shoulder after a passer-by found her lying in a street in Boston. Details of exactly what happened to Kennedy and how she ended up in the street remain unclear.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent surgery in October 2005. [2]


Title Purchase Contributor

Start Date End Date Type Title Contributor

Date Category Headline Article Contributor
Nov 20, 2007 12:25pm News Who’s watching Joan [Kennedy]?  Article The Sunset Provision 

Importance? 0.00000 Average

Husband Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy Nov 29, 1958-Dec 06, 1982
Son Patrick J. Kennedy 1967-
Father In-Law Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. 1888-1969
Mother In-Law Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy 1890-1995
Stepson Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy, Jr. 1961-