John F. Kennedy Jr. was dazzled at the prospect of dating Madonna, but Jackie was shocked when she saw the Marilyn Monroe look-alike. This is Part 2 of a five-part excerpt from "Madonna Unauthorized," by Christopher Andersen.
Madonna's most intriguing liaison was undeniably with John F. Kennedy Jr., whom she had met briefly at a party.
Madonna, who had read every Marilyn Monroe biography written, knew all the details of Monroe's star-crossed affair with the late president. As undisputed heiress to the Monroe persona, she confided to friends that she felt fated to consummate a relationship with Kennedy's only son.
For his part, Kennedy was dazzled by the notion of "dating" Madonna, the most glamorous, celebrated, and by all accounts exciting woman of her generation.
They decided to keep their relationship as private as possible. Since they both worked out religiously at the same health club, it provided a convenient locale for their initial rendezvous. They jogged together in Central Park, and later, Kennedy took Madonna to meet his mother.
At Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' sprawling Fifth Avenue apartment, Madonna was greeted somewhat frostily by the former First Lady, who must have wondered what designs the unpredictable superstar might have on her son. Madonna coyly signed the guest register "Mrs. Sean Penn."
Jackie was not amused, according to a friend of her son's. Kennedy told him that after meeting Madonna, his mother "hit the roof. She warned her son to stay away from Madonna. She felt Madonna would exploit the Kennedy name for publicity, and basically, that she was a crass social climber, a tramp - and still married to Sean Penn." The single most important thing in Madonna's favor: "John didn't have to worry that she was after him for his fame or his money. She was twice as famous as he was and 10 times as rich."
The fact that Madonna was technically a Roman Catholic might have been a major plus for her in the eyes of the Kennedys, if it hadn't been for her habit of publicly thumbing her nose at Catholic rituals and symbols. "Jackie is a very devout Catholic," said another family acquaintance. "She thought Madonna's use of crucifixes and other Catholic imagery was incredibly sacrilegious. Jackie didn't want her son involved with a woman who was being widely condemned as a heretic."
Jackie's overriding objection may have had nothing at all to do with Madonna, but with the woman whose persona she sought to emulate. "Jackie was shocked when she picked up Life magazine and saw Madonna looking exactly like Marilyn," said her friend. "It must have been like Marilyn coming back from the grave, this time to steal her son instead of her husband. It was a nightmare for her."
Madonna and Kennedy managed to conceal their relationship from the press in New York, going to such lengths as attending plays and parties separately - only to get together in private afterward. Yet they let their guard down on Cape Cod, where, bundled in sweaters and jackets, they jogged along the beach near the Kennedy family compound in Hyannis Port.
A decade in the music business had prepared Madonna's first manager, Camille Barbone, for just about any form of aberrant behavior, or so she thought. But she claimed to have been dumbfounded by the sexual games Madonna would play. Whenever Madonna's close friend from the University of Michigan came to visit, Barbone felt at times as is she were the mother of two giggling teenagers. "They were like two little girls," she recalled. "They would switch clothes and play together. The two used to sit in the back of my car and just kiss."
Whenever they were interested in a man, Madonna and her girlfriend put him through a special test. The two women would kiss each other passionately in front of him, then wait for his reaction. "If he didn't get flustered," Barbone said, "they decided he was OK. Then whoever wanted him would have him."
Was she bisexual? "Madonna loves beautiful women," Barbone claimed, "and she is into anyone sexually, male or female, who is beautiful." Madonna made no attempt to conceal her sexual ambidexterity. Barbone remembered that Madonna, who "sweats profusely on stage," would end each show by running to her dressing room, tearing off her soaking clothes, and instructing Barbone to "towel me off. She was teasing me, of course."
Madonna did even less to conceal her particular brand of eclectic sexuality when she attended a series of concerts in New York given by one of her idols, Tina Turner. Madonna insisted on standing near the stage, Barbone claimed, "So she could look up Tina's legs."
"She loves sex," observed Barbone, "and would go after any man she wanted. There's a strong maleness in Madonna. She seduces men the way men seduce women." According to Barbone, even in the days she was struggling for recognition while performing in some of lower Manhattan's sleaziest clubs, "men were always overwhelmed by Madonna. She's seductive and alluring. She touches men's shoulders, necks, and faces a lot if she likes them."
As a result, Barbone concluded, "she has an amazing ability to manipulate men, based on her sensuality and the possibility of sexual favors. The entourage of young men she had hanging around was just waiting to get into bed with her. But she was a great tease. She kept them at a distance, but always interested and intrigued. She never had to go to bed with anyone."
When Barbone brought her darkly handsome 16-year-old cousin to catch Madonna's show, she spent the evening seducing him. "Stand in front so I can see you," she told him. Then, during the performance, she grabbed him by the collar and sang directly to him. Later, Barbone discovered the two necking in Madonna's dressing room and pulled them apart.
"He's awfully young, isn't he?" Barbone said. "Yes," said Madonna, shrugging, "but he's awfully cute." Barbone was convinced they would have wound up in bed together that night if she hadn't taken him home to his family. Even then, Barbone insisted, "A man couldn't be around her without falling in love."
One man who succeeded in turning the tables on Madonna was artist-musician Ken Compton. Blond, blue-eyed and angular, Compton did not appear to be Madonna's type physically. "Madonna usually goes for Latin or light-skinned black men," Barbone said. "Kenny was very Aryan-looking, and very much in control of his feelings. He did the kind of number on Madonna that she did on everybody else - not returning phone calls, being late, cheating with other girls. She'd be on the phone to him screaming, crying. Ken drove her crazy."
Ken Compton aside, Madonna's pride in her power over men sometimes led to friction with Barbone. One night Madonna, her girlfriend from Michigan and Barbone were stopped at the door of the Underground and denied entrance into the trendy New York club. Barbone protested that they were on the list to get in, but the man at the door refused to budge. Then Madonna yelled at the top of her lungs: "Hey, don't you remember me? We made out the other night." The trio was immediately ushered in.
Barbone found Madonna's lack of propriety disconcerting, to say the least. That night, she drove home with Madonna and her girlfriend necking in the back seat. "The entire ride, I kept calling her `slut.' Madonna was very proud of her sexual escapades. She wanted everyone to know about them. I, on the other hand, wanted her to present herself to the public as a nice person. Pure folly on my part."
Madonna often took to the streets to indulge her taste for young Latin men. "We'd get all dressed up and drive in her limousine to Avenue D," her friend Erica Bell recalled. "When she spotted some good-looking Puerto Rican boy, she'd order the driver to stop the car, then roll down the window and call out, `Hey, cutie, want a ride?'
"She'd invite the boy to join us, and they always obliged. Sometimes she just kissed him, and that was all. But if she really liked the kid, she'd just rip off his clothes and do whatever she wanted with him while we drove around New York. The windows were blacked out - nobody could see what was going on inside the car. We'd end up driving around with two or three guys at a time." Then, Bell said, "We'd drop them off right where we found them." According to Bell, the boys were "really young, the way she likes them."
Madonna's practice of cruising the Lower East Side of New York would continue for years with the exception of a brief period during her marriage to Sean Penn. Amazingly, she did not worry that she would be recognized.
Bell said: "You could go down to Avenue D and find dozens of guys who'll tell you they were picked up by Madonna. And they'd be telling the truth." She wasn't concerned that the stories of wild sex with strangers might result in scandal. "These were just banji boys, downtown kids," explained Johnny Dynell, a close-hand observer of Madonna's sex life. "Madonna was smart. She knew nobody would believe them."
Tomorrow: The poison Penns.
From the book "Madonna Unauthorized," by Christopher Andersen. Copyright, 1991, Christopher Andersen. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, Simon & Schuster Inc. Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate.)