- Last Updated: 10:56 AM, May 18, 2012
- Posted: 1:17 AM, May 18, 2012
Her Camelot dreams were falling apart.
Mary Richardson Kennedy was deep in credit-card debt and getting hammered in divorce court when she hanged herself in a barn on her Westchester estate, friends and documents revealed yesterday.
Robert Francis Kennedy Jr. slapped the mother of his four children with several restraining orders, trying to get full custody of the kids — all while he publicly replaced her with his actress girlfriend, Cheryl Hines.
“He was kicking her while she’s down, all alone in this house that she built,” a close friend said. “In the end, everything was just too much.”
And debt collectors were breathing down her neck.
American Express filed a civil suit against Mary in Westchester on April 16, an astounding revelation for someone whose husband has access to the Kennedy trust fund.
A desperate Mary, 52, feared she’d lose everything: her kids, her financial independence and the sprawling estate that she had appointed like a presidential museum.
“He was going for full custody of the kids, which broke her heart. She also had been part of the Kennedy family for 30 years. And now she was being cast aside by them,” a second family friend said.
She fell deep into despair — abusing alcohol and prescription drugs — threatening suicide so often that the family staged an intervention, another friend said.
She even tried AA meetings, but often relapsed, friends and family said.
“There were times when she had to be taken to the hospital when she would be acting irrationally and threatening to hurt herself,” a source said.
Sister-in-law Kerry Kennedy said Mary — a lifelong friend — had been sober for five months, but was still battling depression.
“She fought with every ounce of her mission to overcome that horrible disease,” Kerry Kennedy told The New York Times.
“It was not something that she asked for; it was something that she was dealt.”
Despite the claims of Mary’s friends, an exhausted RFK Jr. had only kind words for his tormented, estranged wife.
“A lot of times I don’t know how she made it through the day. She was in a lot of agony for a lot of her life. I don’t think anyone who was around her didn’t do everything that they could to help her,” he told the Times.
Calling Mary “extraordinary,” he said, “She was a good person who did not deserve the kind of pain she had to live with.”
Kennedy said that, contrary to reports, his wife did not leave a suicide note.
Court records show Kennedy relentlessly built a case against Mary in their custody battle.