Michael Dwyer / AP
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., left, and his children turn away after paying their respects at the casket of Mary Richardson Kennedy in St. Francis Xavier Cemetery in Centerville, Mass., on May 19.
The family of the late Mary Richardson Kennedy is responding to explosive accusations about her behavior made by her husband and revealed in a court affidavit from the Kennedys’ divorce case.
In the September 2011 documents, obtained by Newsweek for a magazine article published Monday, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. claimed his wife beat him, threatened suicide in front of her children, ran over the family dog and drank until she passed out.
It asked a judge for an order of protection to keep her from physically attacking him, showing up uninvited at his homes and denigrating him to their children. Kennedy, son of Sen. Robert. F. Kennedy and nephew of President John F. Kennedy, also asked that his wife be required to remain sober in front of their children.
“Mary’s violence and physical abuse toward me began before we were married,” Robert Kennedy said in the affidavit. “She said she intended to kill herself unless I called off the divorce.”
The relatives of Mary Kennedy slammed Kennedy's account of their relationship, saying it is “full of vindictive lies” and a “brutal psychological weapon in the divorce case,” according to a statement released by Kerry Lawrence, the lawyer for Mary Kennedy and the Richardson family.
AP Photot / Westchester County District Attorney's Office, File
Mary Richardson Kennedy is shown in a police photo after she was arrested in a drunken driving case.
“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,” Lawrence said.
According to the court documents, Robert Kennedy said that just a year after the couple were separated, “Mary ran over and killed the dog, Porcia, in the driveway.” And 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.”
Robert Kennedy also says Mary screamed at him in front of their son, saying, “everything he does is evil and a fraud. He is a philanderer, an adulterer, a sex addict.”
“She drank heavily,” Laurence Learner, a respected Kennedy biographer and author of the Newsweek article told NBC News. “Because of her drinking, her children were taken away from her. What was left? She had nothing. Her identity as a Kennedy was finished.”
A judge granted Robert Kennedy full but temporary custody of their four children.
Mary Kennedy hanged herself last month at the family’s estate in Bedford, N.Y. The divorce was pending. Robert Kennedy delivered the eulogy at her funeral. Her death followed two difficult years, during which her husband filed for divorce and she was charged twice with driving while intoxicated.
“Our hearts are breaking for what her children continue to witness,” the Richardson family statement said. “We hoped Mary could rest in peace.”
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