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Image: "Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story" by C. David Heymann
Amazon.com
TODAY staff and wire
updated 7/6/2009 1:47:49 PM ET 2009-07-06T17:47:49

The long-rumored love affair between Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Robert F. Kennedy may not be considered a rumor for much longer.

C. David Heymann’s latest book, "Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story," details the four-year relationship between the two prominent Kennedys. The author, who has previously written biographies of Jackie O, John F. Kennedy Jr. and Caroline Kennedy, paints a picture of the affair with the use of personal interviews and previously unavailable reports from the Secret Service and FBI.

According to the book, Jackie and RFK connected six months after the assassination of JFK. It also claims that the married senator and father of 11 was the former first lady's one "true love."

"Everybody knew about the affair," Franklin Roosevelt Jr., JFK's undersecretary of commerce, says in the book. "I suspect Bobby would’ve liked to dump [his wife] Ethel and marry Jackie, but, of course, that wasn't possible."

Also claimed in the book:

  • At a May 1964 dinner cruise aboard the presidential yacht U.S.S. Sequoia, Bobby and Jackie "exchanged poignant glances" before disappearing together, leaving Ethel alone. "When they returned, they looked as chummy and relaxed as a pair of Cheshire cats," Arthur Schlesinger said in the book.
  • At Christmas 1964, socialite Mary Harrington saw Jackie sunbathing topless with RFK kneeling at her side at the Kennedys’ Palm Beach estate, then later observed them kissing. "I was shocked. It was clear that Bobby was sleeping with his sister-in-law," she said.
  • In July 1966, on his way to a late meeting with the senator, Commerce Department administrator Kenneth McKnight found Jackie "straddling [Sen. Kennedy’s] lap, her arms around his neck."
  • After RFK was shot minutes after winning the California Democratic presidential primary on June 4, 1968, it was Jackie who two days later asked doctors to remove him from life support and signed the consent form.
  • In 1964, Jackie had a fling with Marlon Brando, who wanted to reveal the affair in his memoir. "I'm not sure she knew what she was doing sexually, but she did it well," Brando reportedly wrote in the first draft of "Songs My Mother Taught Me." A friend of Jackie's at Random House reportedly insisted the passages about the affair be cut.

'A new low'
Some are criticizing Heymann on his new tome, claiming his allegations are based on flimsy evidence.

"It's a new low, and you just wonder how far people are willing to go," Laurence Leamer, author of "The Kennedy Men," "The Kennedy Women" and "Sons of Camelot" told The New York Daily News.

"[Heymann] is just trying to make a buck. Yes, Bobby and Jackie had a relationship as friends, but [the romance] is a total exaggeration. I feel sorry for Heymann," he said.

The book is due out July 14.

The New York Daily News and WNBC in New York contributed to this report.

© 2013 MSNBC Interactive

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