Carolyn became a tabloid favourite when she married John F. Kennedy Jr.
She was constantly followed by photographers, gossiped about by columnists and inevitably compared to her mother-in-law, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
Bessette grew up in a wealthy corner of Connecticut, just outside of New York City, with twin sisters Lisa and Lauren, who were a year older. She moved to Connecticut when she was eight, after her parents divorced and her mother, a school administrator, married a prominent doctor. Bessette graduated from the Catholic St. Mary High School in 1983.
She majored in elementary education at Boston University, earning a BSc in 1988, but after graduation took a marketing job with a nightclub group.
Bessette had been named "The Ultimate Beautiful Person" in high school, and it is believed that she was given a job at a Calvin Klein shop in Boston just because she was seen walking outside it. Calvin Klein himself later hired her to work as a publicist in his New York office.
It is unknown how she met her husband, but some theories are that they first talked as she helped him choose a Calvin Klein suit, while others support that he called her after seeing her jog in a park.
Public interest constantly followed the couple however, even when they were seen having an argument in Central Park in February 1996, an event that was aired by a television news magazine. Carolyn married Kennedy in September 1996, in a ceremony so private that even some family members were not allowed to attend.
Bessette and Kennedy, along with her sister Lauren, were killed when their small private plane, piloted by Kennedy, crashed off the coast of Martha's Vineyard on 16 July 1999.
Nearly two years later, Carolyn and Lauren’s parents received a financial settlement, as a result of their wrongful death lawsuit against the Kennedy estate.