New Documentary Explores John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette's Volatile Relationship

A new documentary profiles the couple, who died 20 years ago.

A new ABC documentary shines a light on the last days of John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette, who died in a plane crash 20 years ago this year.

ABC News correspondent Deborah Roberts told Inside Edition that Kennedy and Bessette’s relationship was volatile to the very end.

“They were under an enormous, bright spotlight and that had to be hard to cope with, particularly for her,” Roberts said.

They ran hot and cold, alternately screaming at each other and seeming very in love. In the case of one argument during their engagement, Kennedy could be seen tearing the engagement ring off his fiancee's finger in New York's Central Park and shouting at her. But by the time they made it home, they had made up. 

After their magical wedding, attention on the golden couple only intensified. Life in the spotlight took its toll on Bessette, in turn affecting Kennedy.

"I think it was very difficult for him watching her have to deal with this immense scrutiny," Roberts added. 

Kennedy did his best to protect the love of his life, once charging at a photographer who found them on the beach. He also made a heartfelt appeal for privacy. But Bessette couldn't leave their Tribeca loft without being filmed. 

In July 1999, the couple and Bessette's sister, Lauren, boarded his Piper Saratoga plane, planning to fly to Cape Cod for the weekend. They got a late start, not taking off until around 8 p.m. and Kennedy had very little experience flying at night.

His safest course was to hug the coastline and veer east at the last possible moment. Instead, he made the mistake of flying over the dark ocean. He became disoriented and crashed into the Atlantic. 

Kennedy was 38 and his wife was 33.  

"That is the biggest tragedy, what more could he have done with his life, and he was on a path to doing so much," Roberts said. 

“The Last Days of John F. Kennedy Jr.” airs Thursday night on ABC.