Mimi Alford

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Mimi Alford
Born Marion Fay Beardsley
(1943-05-07) May 7, 1943 (age 72)
Other names Marion Beardsley Alford
Marion Fahnestock
Spouse(s) Tony Fahnestock (1964–1989; divorced)
Richard Alford[1]

Marion "Mimi" Alford (born May 7, 1943)[2] is an American woman who served as an intern in the Press Office of the White House from 1962 to 1963. During that time, she had an affair with United States President John F. Kennedy. In 2003, the affair became public knowledge after being uncovered by a researcher in previously classified documents. In 2011, Alford wrote a book about the affair that had begun 50 years earlier when she was a 19-year-old intern. Her book is titled Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath.[3]

Early life[edit]

Born Marion Beardsley and raised in Red Bank, New Jersey[4] she was brought up in privileged circumstances and educated at Jacqueline Kennedy's alma mater, Miss Porter's School. In 1961, while an editor at her high school newspaper, the Salmagundy, she wrote to The White House requesting an interview with Jackie. While Jackie was unable to fit a meeting into her schedule, she was invited to the White House to meet with Jackie's social secretary, Letitia Baldrige (also a graduate of Miss Porter's School), and briefly met the President at that time.

She went on to enroll at Wheaton College, a private women's college in Norton, Massachusetts. In her first year at Wheaton, she filled out a questionnaire and had a telephone interview, after which she was admitted as a summer intern at The White House in the press office in 1962.

White House intern and Kennedy affair[edit]

On her fourth day in the White House press office, President Kennedy’s special assistant Dave Powers asked Alford if she would like to join a group in the residence's swimming pool, where to her surprise they were joined by President Kennedy. Asked to join a drinks party in the residence that evening, the President offered her a personal tour of the property, and after showing her into Jackie Kennedy's powder blue bedroom, she and Kennedy had sex, which was Alford's first sexual encounter.[5] The resultant affair lasted 18 months, during which Alford and the President had regular trysts.[6] Alford says they did not have sexual relations after August 1963, though she retained her position in the White House.[7] She would have been in Dallas, Texas with Kennedy on November 22, 1963, but that weekend she was with her parents and Fahnestock's in Connecticut arranging their forthcoming wedding; President Kennedy had already given her a $300 wedding gift.[6]

Later life[edit]

Before marrying Fahnestock in January 1964, Alford confessed to the affair. Fahnestock still wanted to marry, but insisted that Alford remove all reference to her time at the White House from her resume. The marriage produced two daughters, but ended in divorce in 1989.[6] She then later married Richard Alford. Alford is currently a grandmother and a retired New York City church administrator.[3][8]

Revelation of affair[edit]

Alford never spoke to others about the affair, and kept it a secret between herself and her first husband.

In 2002, while historian Robert Dallek was researching his biography An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917–1963, he came across declassified documents that mentioned Alford by name.[9][10] It was previously confirmed in general terms by Kennedy press aide Barbara Gamarekian, identifying "Mimi" by name in her oral memoir transcribed by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in 1964, and unsealed in 2003.[11] After the interview transcript was leaked in 2003, on May 13 the New York Daily News headline ran: “Fun and Games with Mimi in the White House”. Alford confirmed the affair at that time but made no further comment.

In 2011, Alford released her autobigraphical book Once upon A Secret, My Affair with John F. Kennedy and its Aftermath.[6] In an interview with Ann Curry on February 9, 2012, Alford stated that at the time she did not feel guilty about the fact that the President was married, although in hindsight, "I feel guilty about not having felt guilty about Mrs. Kennedy."[12] In a subsequent interview for People magazine she stated, "if I was 19...I would do it again—it's hard to say I wouldn't."[13]


  1. ^ Motoko, Rich (2009-05-22). "Paramour of Kennedy Is Writing a Book". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  2. ^ OTRS 2012041910007893
  3. ^ a b Fagan, Cynthia (2012-02-05). "Teen mistress addresses relationship, pol's Cold War fears in memoir". New York Post. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  4. ^ http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20140197,00.html
  5. ^ Alford, Mimi. Once upon A Secret, My Affair with John F. Kennedy and its Aftermath, p. 125
  6. ^ a b c d Alford, Mimi. Once upon A Secret, My Affair with John F. Kennedy and its Aftermath
  7. ^ Alford, Mimi. Once upon A Secret, My Affair with John F. Kennedy and its Aftermath. p. 125
  8. ^ "JFK mistress Mimi Alford reveals new details in book". BBC News. 2012-02-05. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  9. ^ David J. Garrow (2003-05-23). "Books of the Times; Substance Over Sex In Kennedy Biography". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-02-06. 
  10. ^ Jessica Hopper (6 February 2012). "Former White House intern Mimi Alford reveals details of Kennedy affair". Rock Center with Brian Williams. Retrieved 6 February 2012. 
  11. ^ "JFK Had An Intern Too". The Smoking Gun. 2003-05-13. Retrieved 2012-02-06. 
  12. ^ Stump, Scott (February 9, 2012). "Former intern: JFK affair was imbalanced, but not abusive". Today. 
  13. ^ Mascia, Kristen (February 27, 2012). ed. Laurenza, Michael. "Books: My Love Affair with JFK", People, Time Inc. p. 45.

Further reading[edit]

  • Alford, Mimi (2012) [2011]. Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath. Random House. ISBN 978-1-4000-6910-1.