Nightly News | February 08, 2012
>>> a woman has written a book out this week that unveils an affair from 50 years ago with president john f. kennedy . the woman is 69 now, a grandmother. and in the story as told by her, she was 19 then, a college intern when this happened in the kennedy white house and elsewhere. the full story and interview airs tonight on "rock center." it has already generated a lot of attention. meredith vieira is here with a preview. welcome.
>> reporter: thanks very much, brian. mimi alford was just 19 years old when she went to work as an intern in the white house press office. she has written a book about her experiences there, including an 18-month secret affair with president john f. kennedy .
>> i had to write this book.
>> reporter: why did you have to?
>> why did i have to? it started out feeling that i couldn't leave this story as a paragraph, this experience i had as a paragraph in somebody else's book. so i really wanted to take one troll of it myself. royal alford says her secret began in the summer of 1962 , when she started what she says was an 18-month affair with president john f. kennedy .
>> i was sort of swept into this web, the handsome president, his charisma, his magnatism.
>> reporter: after losing her virginity to president kennedy on the four day of her job, she says she began an affair, sharing eveningses as often as twice a week.
>> reporter: what did you talk about?
>> we didn't have a lot of time to talk. he was president. what we talked about was not world affairs . the president was very boyish and flafl with me.
>> reporter: sometimes mimi would even travel with the president, flying on the support plane in her role as press office intern. on one occasion, she attended a lavish party for the president at bing crosby 's house. on most, her job was to remain holed up in the hotel, waiting for the president to summon her. that's where you started something you called the waiting game .
>> i did, yeah. waiting in the hotel room .
>> reporter: did you feel at all, you know, like i'm being used here? it's almost like you were a call girl to him.
>> but i never felt that. now looking back, i can see it's not a good place for a 19-year-old to be, in a relationship that's so imbalanced and with such a powerful person, and an older man and at their beck and call. i see how sad it was. but that's not how i felt at the time.
>> reporter: can you give me an example that would say to me, this is more than just being a mistress?
>> just the way he was. the way he smiled with me. i feel that he did. i feel that he actually cared about me.
>> meredith is back here in the the studio with us. as you well know, based only on the snippets people have seen, we've already received a lot of response, a lot of e-mails. people with the upbringin iing sounds like a lot of us with the picture of president kennedy in the house as kids, why tell this story now?
>> reporter: people need to realize she did not reveal her secret initially. he she was outed by historian robert dalleck. the press caught on to it. that's when she issued a written statement and disappeared. in the years that followed, she saw her story being reduced to paragraphs in other people's books and decided she wanted to claim it as her own. also, she wanted to unburden herself of this secret that she had kept for so long because it was, in her estimation, really destroying her life and her relationships with men moving forward. for her this book was a catharsis.
>> i'm glad you'll be with us tonight to talk more about this as questions arise.
>> reporter: there will be a lot of them.
>> there will be. thank you, meredith for join us. there will be much more tonight