Henry Kissinger, America’s highest profile diplomat who courted world leaders for decades was also a twice-married father-of-two who has left behind his widow Nancy and two children David and Elizabeth from his first marriage to Ann Fleisher.
The former Secretary of State and titan of US politics died at the home he shared with Nancy (nee. Maginnes) in Connecticut aged 100 on Wednesday.
Kissinger was 50 when he married Nancy in Arlington, Virginia in 1974, meaning he almost spent half his life with her.
The pair met at Harvard when he was a professor there and she was a student. They both went on to work for Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller of New York, before Kissinger joined the Nixon administration in 1969.
But the marriage that spanned his final 50 years was not his first.
He first wedded Ann Fleischer, a high-school sweetheart, in 1949 – less than four years after he returned from fighting in Germany in the Second World War.
Former Secretary of State and titan of US politics Henry Kissinger died at the home he shared with Nancy (seen together at the White House, 1997) in Connecticut aged 100 on Wednesday
Former secretary of state Henry Kissinger with his children Elizabeth (14) and David (12) on March 24, 1974 in Bonn. On his way to summit talks in Moscow, he stopped in Bonn to meet Bundeskanzler Brandt and Federal Minister Scheel in Schloss Gymnich
She was born in 1925 and – like Kissinger – began life in Fürth, Germany.
Kissinger fled the Bavarian town when he was just 15 to the United States amid the rise of Nazi Germany, and while little is known about Ms Fleischer, it is presumed she and her family did the same.
The couple dated in high school and kept in touch while Kissinger was serving in the Army, for which he fought in Germany against the Nazis.
The couple had two children together – Elizabeth and David – but they divorced in 1964 after around 15 years of marriage.
The reason for the breakdown of Kissinger’s first marriage is not known, but it followed reports of infidelity.
In 1955, he met Austrian poet Ingeborg Bachmann during a symposium at Harvard, and the pair had a romantic relationship that lasted several years.
In the wake of his divorce, Kissinger’s political stock rose dramatically.
After a standout career on the Harvard University faculty, Kissinger joined Richard Nixon’s administration as national security adviser in 1969, a job he kept after Nixon resigned and was succeeded as president by Gerald Ford.
He also served as secretary of state under Nixon and Ford.
During that time, he had a hand in many epoch-changing global events of the 1970s, including the Vietnam War, the diplomatic opening of China, landmark US-Soviet arms control talks and expanded ties between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
With his political rise, he also became somewhat of a celebrity statesman.
Henry Kissinger and his wife Nancy watch a football match in Washington, April 1974
President George W. Bush (centre) poses with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (left) and his wife Nancy upon arrival at Kissinger’s home April 25, 2008
Amid his high-profile diplomacy, he was dubbed the ‘sex symbol of the Nixon Administration’. Kissinger had a string of glamorous celebrity girlfriends in his younger years, including journalist Diane Sawyer and actress Candice Bergen.
He was the subject of gushing magazine profiles, forced to deny an affair with the glamorous actress Jill St. John, a Bond girl in Diamonds Are Forever , and was pictured with beauties like Elizabeth Taylor, Lana Turner and Raquel Welch.
Kissinger even earned the nickname ‘the secret swinger’ after a Washington Post reporter audaciously asked him at a party if he was a swinger.
He later explained, ‘I told her: ‘I can’t admit that I’m a swinger without getting into trouble. I can’t admit that I’m not a swinger, so why don’t we say I’m a secret swinger?”
The political colossus also befriended Hugh Hefner – earning himself another nickname, ‘Playboy of the West Wing’ – who gifted him a subscription to his magazine after learning Kissinger had turned up to a party carrying an envelope full of classified information but telling everyone it was a copy of Playboy instead.
He even once declared that ‘power is the greatest aphrodisiac’, which may have had some truth to it, with a poll of Playboy bunnies seeing him top the list of men they ‘would most like to go on a date with’ and, in 1974, the Miss Universe contestants voting him ‘the greatest man in the world.’
But his ‘swinging’ days soon came to an end.
In March 1974, he married Nancy Maginnes, a New York socialite.
The tall, blonde Nancy was 39 at the time, and had been recommended to Gov. Nelson Rockefeller by Kissinger – then a Harvard professor – in 1964.
Her first job was as Kissinger’s researcher on a Rockefeller task force.
According to a New York Times report on the marriage, the wedding was only disclosed by then-former Gov Rockefeller who interrupted a speech he was delivering in Chicago.
‘I have some news for you,’ he said. ‘Kissinger is marrying Nancy Maginnes today.’
While Kissinger had gone on to join the Nixon administration, Nancy still worked for Rockefeller. The State Department later confirmed the marriage.
‘Mrs. Albert Bristol Maginnes announces the marriage of her daughter, Nancy Sharon, to Henry Alfred Kissinger in Arlington, Va., on March 30, 1974,’ it said. ‘The couple departed immediately after the ceremony for a wedding trip to Acapulco.’
Kissinger died on Wednesday at their home in Kent, Connecticut.
Kissinger’s son David (pictured) is the president of the television company Conaco, which is owned by entertainer and TV host Conan O’Brien
Film producer Carolyn Pfeiffer (left) and David Kissinger (Henry Kissinger’s son) attend the book launch party for Carolyn Pfeiffer’s ‘Chasing The Panther: Adventures & Misadventures Of A Cinematic Life’ on September 22, 2023
Announcing his death, Kissinger Associates’s statement said Kissinger ‘will be interred at a private family service. At a later date, there will be a memorial service in New York City. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests considering donations…’
He is survived by Nancy, who is 89, his two children and five grandchildren.
His son David is the president of the television company Conaco, which is owned by entertainer and TV host Conan O’Brien.
His daughter Elizabeth has remained largely out of the public eye.