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Victoria Reggie Kennedy ( 1954 - )  Category ( Lawyers ) [suggest a correction]

Victoria Reggie KennedyBest-known for her long relationship with and eventual marriage to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, Victoria Reggie Kennedy was a strong and successful person in her own right.

Born Feb. 26, 1954 into a wealthy second-generation American family in New Orleans, she was exposed to national politics almost from birth. In 1956, her father got behind John F. Kennedy's under-the-radar campaign to be named Adlai Stevenson's vice presidential candidate, and managed to wrestle Louisiana into the Kennedy column.

Kennedy was eventually bypassed -- no great loss, since Stevenson was soundly defeated by Dwight D. Eisenhower. But one holdover from that unsuccessful endeavor was a close friendship between the Kennedys and the Reggies, who had originally emigrated from Lebanon.

True to her Catholic Maronite heritage, Vicki attended parochial schools and graduated magna cum laude from New Orleans' Newcomb College. She maintained that academic momentum through Tulane's law school, where she earned summa cum laude honors and law review membership en route to her degree.

After graduating from Tulane, Reggie left New Orleans to clerk for U.S. Appeals Court Judge a Judge Robert Arthur Sprecher in Chicago, and then becmae a specialist in bank law. Her first husband, Grier Raclin, was also an attorney.

In 1981, the Raclins moved to Washington, where Vicki went to work for Keck, Mahin & Cate. In due time, she became a partner, earning a reputation as a tough bargainer in bankruptcy and settlement cases. She continued to shine there even after her divorce from Raclin left her the single mother of son Curran and daughter Caroline.

Vicki first met Ted Kennedy when she worked for him as a summer intern (in the mailroom). They met again in 1991, and began dating. According to an article in People Magazine:

"Kennedy has been quietly a-courtin' Reggie since June with flowers, twice-daily phone calls, dates to the theater and Redskins games and, last summer, sailing vacations in the waters off Hyannis Port. His present to her for Christmas: a personal trainer. The first public viewing of the relationship came last month, at the Massachusetts Senator's 60th birthday party at his home in McLean, Va. A bit of the famous Kennedy rakishness was on display as well; he was dressed as Rhett Butler, she as Scarlett O'Hara. 'They radiated happiness," says Washington attorney Lee Fentress, an old Kennedy friend. "He's in great shape, working very hard and very much in love.'"

Kennedy and Vicki were married July 3, 1992, in a low-key civil ceremony at his home. In 1994, she plunged into her new husband's re-election campaign against Mitt Romney, considered a stern challenge for the veteran Democrat, connecting with influential New England women and opening new donation channels.

By 1997, she had stopped practicing law herself and become her husband's chief advisor and political campaign director. Two years later, she turned into his caregiver when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. Ted died in August of 2009 following a long decline, but his widow dismissed any talk of her running for his seat, or even succeeding him temporarily.

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