As Jackie said, "Once Is Not Enough." And as art follows life, Jackie's woman-loving object choices were bizarre not once, but many times. Here is a handy guide to Jackie romances of the Sapphic kind; the women who moved her, shook her to her very core, some of them the same women who moved and shook the world in the course of their own careers. Please note that due to her illness and subsequent surgery, Jackie's extra-curricular love life ceased just when it could have become really interesting. All info compiled from Barbara Seaman's bio Lovely Me and Irving Mansfield's My Life with Jackie.
*-crush: no physical contact noted in any reliable sources
??-seems likely: may have been uninvestigated
?-may or may not have happened: sources disagree
Molly Tabachnick--Dance counselor at Jackie's summer camp, when she was 14. Disturbed her enough to go to the local library to look up the word "lesbian."*
Margalo Gilmore--Actress. Jackie was obsessed with her from the age of 13. Jackie appeared in a Broadway play with her at the age of 19, showered her with gifts, and then moved into Gilmore's apartment building after marrying Irving. Gilmore found this "a bit much." **
Helen Harris--Actress. Jackie bought her a one piece foundation garment which Harris still holds dear. ?
Rene--Hatcheck girl at Sardi's, who worked for Walter Winchell. ??
The Bronx Woman--Jackie's Number 1 Fan, a housewife who was a one woman clipping service for Jackie from the time of her acting career. At a war bond rally, she won a date to the Stork Club with her by outbidding everyone else.?
The Incomparable Hildegard--had a partner-manager who looked like Ernest Borgnine in drag; both were close friends of Jackie's, and very close to one another. A caf chanteuse who became a nun. ??
Carole Landis--"Sweater-Girl"/Actress. One of the true loves of her life. Jackie told her friends about their sensual lovemaking, and based the lesbian relationship in "Valley of the Dolls" on her relationship with Carole. Landis died of an unrelated overdose shortly after their affair ended. !
Joyce Berle Rose--Wife of both Billy Rose and Milton Berle. There were definitely rumors. Jackie gave her a bracelet with two lovebirds; others maintain they kept a hotel room to entertain men. ?
Coco Chanel--She gave Jackie a fabulous suit while she was traveling in Europe. ?
Ethel Merman--Jackie was obsessed (again) with her. There was quite a bit of gossip about them on Broadway. Many had seen them making out on a couch at a party. Jackie also did a private striptease for her to get Merman ready for "Gypsy". They had a huge fight in a restaurant, after which Jackie showed up at Ethel's apartment screaming "I love you!" Jackie was then admitted to a psychiatric ward, having threatened to commit suicide over her. !
NOTE ON IRVING: You would think with his wife chasing Ethel Merman around town, threatening suicide, he would have noticed something.