Jack Kent Cooke’s daughter, Jacqueline Cooke, is making headlines this week after she was arrested in New York City.
Jack Kent Cooke, who died in 1997, once owned the Washington Redskins, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Los Angeles Kings. He married Jacqueline’s mother, Suzanne Martin Cooke, in 1987. At the time, he was 74 and his bride was 31.
Jacqueline Cooke’s recent arrest has ignited interest in the Cooke family, specifically her parents.
Here is what you need to know:
1. Jacqueline Cooke Was Arrested on Assault Charges on New Year’s Eve
Jacqueline Cooke, 29, was arrested in New York City, accused of physically attacking 52-year-old Matthew Haberkorn. Police say that the incident happened outside of Caravaggio, a restaurant in New York’s Upper East Side. Haberkorn had been dining at the eatery with his 77-year-old mother, his wife, and his four kids.
Ms. Cooke became annoyed with Haberkorn’s mother whilst in line at the coat check. Haberkorn told the New York Daily News that Ms. Cooke made an anti-Semitic remark to his mother, saying, “hurry up, Jew,” as she became impatient. Cooke’s comments didn’t stop there. Haberkorn said that his wife asked Cooke what she had said, and Cooke repeated, “Hurry up, Jew. I got places to be.” Haberkorn also said that Cooke took aim at his kids, saying “Happy bat mitzvah, girls,” before things turned physical.
Haberkorn had been in the restroom at the time of the exchange, but decided to confront Cooke outside.
“I walked up to her and asked her why she said that. She took her purse, which was a mirrored glass purse, and smashed me with it,” he told the Daily News.
Cooke and Haberkorn exchanged additional words as Haberkorn had blood streaming down the side of his face following the blow. Cooke ended up leaving the scene with her boyfriend, but Haberkorn intended to hold her accountable. He got her name from inside the restaurant and filed a report with police. Cooke was questioned by the NYPD and then taken into custody.
Cooke has been charged with assault and is expected to be arraigned at Manhattan Criminal Court, according to Page Six.
2. Suzanne & Jack Met in Miami & Married 2 Years Later
Suzanne and Jack met at Miami’s Palm Bay Club in the late 80s, according to People Magazine. The two seemed to hit it off straight away.
“I was swimming. It was a cloudy day, and I got out of the pool and went over to my chaise lounge, bundled up. There was an elderly man sitting two chairs over from mine and he started talking,” Suzanne recalled of their initial meeting. She told him that she had lived in Middleburg, Virginia, which is where Jack had owned a home at the time.
“He said, ‘Oh, my God, you’re kidding me! You know who I am? I’m Jack Kent Cooke.’ I said I didn’t—I didn’t follow football,” she said.
Over the next couple of days, the two got to know each other. Jack sent her love letters and flowers, and eventually wooed her enough to convince her to move in with him. And so, Suzanne packed up her belongings and moved to Middleburg, Virginia.
Over the next two years, Suzanne and Jack had a tumultuous relationship. The two argued quite frequently, and even parted ways for a short time. Suzanne had gotten pregnant twice and terminated both pregnancies at Jack’s request. After her second abortion, Suzanne moved out of Jack’s home. She suffered from severe emotional distress and says that she almost died following an overdose.
“I was devastated. I’d been living with this man, I’d given up two of his children, and he was my mentor, my Svengali. I think I was brainwashed by him quite a bit. He always made me feel very dependent. I took an overdose of sleeping pills and almost died. I was trying to get help, going from one psychiatrist to the next. My medical bills were outrageous,” she told People Magazine.
A short while later, Jack re-entered her life. The two reconnected on Valentine’s Day 1987 and had dinner together. A couple of weeks later, Jack, who had been previously been married to Barbara Jean Carnegie (from 1934 through 1979), agreed to marry Suzanne — but he had a couple of conditions.
First, he asked Suzanne if she’d agree to a pre-nuptial agreement. Next, Jack asked his potential bride if she’d be willing to have another abortion — she had recently learned that she was pregnant for a third time. Suzanne agreed to comply with both of Jack’s requests.
3. After She Married Jack, Suzanne Decided She Wanted to Keep the Baby
Shortly after Jack and Suzanne got married, she decided that she wanted to keep the baby. She said that she went to a clinic to have the procedure done, but she simply couldn’t go through with it. She waited until her honeymoon to tell Jack her decision. This angered Jack and the two ended up separating, just four weeks after they had exchanged vows.
A few short months later, Suzanne welcomed a healthy baby girl. She told People Magazine that Jack wanted nothing to do with his daughter, and that he didn’t even inquire about the child after her birth.
“When I gave birth, he didn’t send a flower or a card. Every child of an employee or a friend of his gets a little silver cup with the child’s name engraved on it, and he sends a cute letter. He never even called me or said, ‘Is the baby all right, is everything okay?’ This little girl would have brought him all the happiness in the world. This is a human life—happiness that the Chrysler Building can’t give you,” Suzanne Cooke told People Magazine in an interview back in 1988; Jacqueline was 9 months old at the time.
Suzanne raised Jacqueline on her own in a home in Georgetown.
4. They Went Through a Bitter Split & a Custody War Ensued
The first year of Jacqueline’s life was particularly challenging for Suzanne. She spent a great deal of time fighting with her ex, who had filed for divorce. Jack offered to pay Suzanne $75,000 annually. He gave her a vehicle to get around, and offered her an apartment for the next five years.
However, Suzanne wanted more. In her divorce paperwork, she requested “a lump sum” of $15 million from her ex in addition to “$18,000 per month in alimony and child support.”
“I want to make sure I give her every opportunity in life and every advantage that she rightfully deserves being [Jack’s] daughter. He doesn’t want to put $3 million in trust in his daughter’s name, but he says he’ll give $150 million to build a new Redskins stadium. That says something about his values,” Suzanne told People Magazine at the time.
According to the Washington Post, it took over a year for Jack to even admit that Jacqueline was his daughter. He didn’t meet his daughter until she was 3 years old. However, in the years before his death, Jack and Jacqueline were able to develop a relationship and were said to have a tight bond.
5. Suzanne Was Left Out of Jack’s Will & Jacqueline Sued His Estate After His Passing
In the wake of Jack’s death, Jacqueline was left a $5 million trust, that would pay her handsomely over the years. However, 10 years after her father’s passing, Jacqueline filed a $275 million lawsuit against his estate.
“Jacqueline … currently receives $50,000 a year from a lifetime trust and has collected at least $200,000 from it since her father’s death nearly 10 years ago. Her attorney, Benjamin Dick, said the payments are taxed and therefore have been insufficient to meet her needs,” the Washington Post reported back in 2007.
The lawsuit claimed that the words “as necessary” were deleted from a clause in the will that were to help Jacqueline with “education, health, maintenance and support.” This caused Jacqueline to get into copious amounts of debt due to college loans.
“Her father intended funds ‘as necessary’ to cover her education, but the trustees feel she’s restricted to certain sums of money each year, and the trustees control the money,” Dick explained.