NBC's Today on Monday delved into the tabloid gossip of Robert Kennedy Jr and his late wife Mary Kennedy, who killed herself last month. The report featured documents "obtained" by Newsweek. Reporter Jeff Rossen highlighted RFK Jr's. complaints, including court affidavits claiming, "Mary's violence and physical abuse towards me began before we were married."
Rossen touted the grim details of Kennedy's complaints, reciting, "When he went over to the house, 'Mary was intoxicated. I opened the door and she leapt out of her bed and hit me with a roundhouse punch.'"
Mary Kennedy hanged herself on the New York estate of the family's home.
Newsweek writer Laurence Leamer wrote the story and was featured in the Today piece. Leamer, a Kennedy historian, recounted, "He wasn't happy with his relationship with his wife. It was pure horror in the house. He was afraid to be beaten up, he was afraid she was going to kill herself."
Leamer added, "Mary Richardson Kennedy didn't know who she was, and that was the tragedy of her life."
Rossen did allow some negative complaints about Robert Kennedy into the story, offering that, at one point, Mary Kennedy screamed that her husband "is a philanderer, an adulterer, a sex addict." She told her son, "Everything he does is evil and fraud."
A transcript of the June 11 segment can be found below:
ANN CURRY: Back now at 7:42 with revealing new details on the last days of Mary Kennedy, this nearly a month after the estranged wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., took her own life. NBC’s Jeff Rossen is joining us now with more on this. Jeff, good morning.
JEFF ROSSEN: Hey Ann, good morning to you. This is really a raw and candid look inside the Kennedy home and it appears Mary Kennedy was spiraling. According to a new report out this morning she was drinking heavily, depressed and out of control. In fact, toward the end, she reportedly was only allowed to see her children if supervised by the housekeeper. On the grounds of their sprawling New York estate, Mary Kennedy hanged herself, a painful end last month to a painful life. She was in the midst of a bitter divorce from Bobby Kennedy, her final months laid out in excruciating detail in this Newsweek article out today. Newsweek also obtained Bobby’s court affidavit during divorce proceedings. "Mary's violence and physical abuse towards me began before we were married,” Bobby said in his affidavit. “She said she intended to kill herself unless I called off the divorce." Just last year after separating Bobby says, “Mary ran over and killed the dog, Porcia, in the driveway. When he went over to the house, “Mary was intoxicated. I opened the door and she leapt out of her bed and hit me with a roundhouse punch.” Bobby says Mary screamed at him, saying in front of their son, “everything he does is evil and fraud. He is a philanderer, an adulterer, a sex addict.” Laurence Leamer, a respected Kennedy biographer, wrote the article, speaking exclusively with NBC News.
LAURENCE LEAMER: She began to drink, she drank heavily. Because of her drinking, the children were taken away from her. What was left, she had nothing? Her identity as a Kennedy was finished. This man that she had both thought of is an idol, as a god, and as a monster, was finished with her. What was left?
ROSSEN: Soon, Newsweek says a judge would grant Bobby Kennedy full, but temporary, custody of their four children. As Mary reportedly turned to alcohol, Bobby's life seemed to be going well, at least publicly, seen often with actress Cheryl Hines.
LEAMER: He wasn’t happy with his relationship with his wife. It was pure horror in the house. He was afraid to be beaten up, he was afraid she was going to kill herself. He needed a little bit of peace and he found it with Cheryl who was very, very good to him.
ROSSEN: According to the article, Bobby believed Mary had BPD, borderline personality disorder. Mary herself denounced the accusations at the time, and now her family calls it false and “an insult to those who do struggle with this serious mental illness,” telling NBC News Bobby’s affidavit is, “nothing more than a brutal psychological weapon in the divorce case...full of vindictive lies. This latest piling on is proof perfect of the unbelievable emotional and psychological abuse that Mary endured during the last years of her life and, now in death.”
LEAMER: Mary Richardson Kennedy didn't know who she was, and that was the tragedy of her life.
ROSSEN: And so, the bitter family feud goes on. We reached out to the Kennedy family. They had no comment. By the way, Mary's family and the Kennedys even fought over where to bury her. Her family wanted a funeral in Vermont, the Kennedys wanted her buried in Hyannis Port. Even in death, Mary's fate ended up in front of a judge, who ruled with the Kennedys. She was laid to rest, Ann, near the family compound in Hyannis Port for the Kennedys.
CURRY: Alright, Jeff Rossen, thank you so much for that story.