Michael Bergin shot to fame as an underwear model for Calvin Klein, but thanks to a new book he is about to become better known as the other man in the John F. Kennedy Jr.-Carolyn Bessette marriage.
For years the tabloids have speculated about Bergin's relationship with Bessette, and the rivalry between Bergin and Kennedy. Now, in a new book, The Other Man: A Love Story, Bergin claims that his love affair with Bessette continued even after her Sept. 22, 1996, marriage to JFK Jr.
When asked today in his first network interview, with Good Morning America, if he had an affair with Carolyn Bessette after she was married to Kennedy, Bergin said, "I did," adding, "It was wrong. It was wrong — on my part and her part."
Bergin said he had planned to take the secret affair "to his grave," but was urged to write his tell-all book by the publishing last year of another book, The Kennedy Curse, by Edward Klein, who had interviewed Bergin about Bessette.
"[Klein's book] just caused this whirlwind of stories saying that she's just a horrible monster, that she's a coke addict, she's this and she's that. And I knew her very well. And she's not any of that," Bergin said, adding that Klein had only interviewed him for 45 minutes before writing his book. "The whole book was all lies. I had to do something."
In what Bergin said was an effort to set the record straight, he reveals many personal details about Bessette and their relationship in his book.
Although Bergin said he and Bessette had been in a relationship since 1992 — four years before the young Calvin Klein employee wed Kennedy — Bergin said that Bessette reached out to him after less than a year of being married when she believed her husband was cheating on her.
He added, however, that the recently wed Bessette contacted him for friendship. At the time Bergin was living in Los Angeles while Bessette and Kennedy were living in New York City.
"It's not like she lived next door and I snuck over when John went to work … it wasn't like that," he said on Good Morning America. "She came to see me as a friend. I was there as a friend. She didn't come to see me because she was horny, she came to me as a friend."
Bessette ‘Didn’t Like Drugs’
Bergin also denied that Bessette was a "coke addict," as he said was alleged in Klein's book. Instead, Bergin says that he rarely saw Bessette do drugs.
"The truth is, as far as I know, and I didn't know her the last 14 months of her life … but the Carolyn I knew from like 1992 to 1998, I can actually say I've seen her do drugs twice. And I was there with her. She didn't like drugs, she didn't like doing it. She got mad at me when I did it."
As for rumors about Bessette's temper, Bergin said they fought as a couple, but that it was "normal."
"People that are in relationships … they fight. They have arguments," he said.
In the book, Bergin describes the morning of July 17, 1999, when he and the rest of the world learned of the death of Bessette and Kennedy in a plane crash. Kennedy, his wife and her sister Lauren Bessette were killed when Kennedy's single-engine plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Cod as they flew to a wedding on Martha's Vineyard.
Since then, Bergin said he can't help thinking about his inability to rescue Bessette when she was having problems with Kennedy.
After the plane crash, Bessette's parents said that the couple was very much in love.
"John and Carolyn were true soul mates, the embodiment of love, accomplishment and passion for life," they said.