While jealous rivals-in-love decried her relative anonymity, Carolyn, the pampered daughter of a wealthy New York doctor, went after John F Kennedy junior with a determination that few could match.
Reports of how the couple met vary. The official version is that they crossed paths while jogging in New York's Central Park. According to her friends, Bessette knew straightaway that she wanted to be Mrs JFK jr and the couple began a secret affair even though he was still reportedly seeing Daryl Hannah.
Bessette moved into Kennedy's TriBeCa loft in 1995 and they exchanged wedding vows in a top-secret ceremony on a Georgia island on 21 September 1996.
The youngest of three daughters, Bessette grew up in the upmarket suburb of Greenwich, Connecticut.
Following in her mother's footsteps, she studied to be a primary school teacher at Boston University, earning a BSc. But her academic record was less impressive than her ability to attract men.
Her boyfriends included a rich Arab prince and Alessandro Benetton of the Italian clothing company, and by the time she finished college she turned her attention, unsuccessfully, to modelling.
She began doing public relations work for a nightclub consortium, where she was described as a good networker.
One of her best friends was the photographer Bobby Di Marzo, who described her as "stunning in front of the camera" and one of the most beautiful girls he had ever photographed.
Her pre-marital career was helped by her ability to turn heads. She got a job at a Calvin Klein shop in Boston after being spotted walking down a street, and when she came to the notice of Calvin Klein himself, she was immediately summoned to work in the corporate PR office in New York City.
"She represents everything that Calvin Klein stands for. A sleek modern, quintessentially up-market woman," said Iain R Webb, fashion director of British Elle, speaking at the Paris Fashion Show last night.Reuse content