Jersey Shore: The Kennedy Edition

After stepping down in 2011 after eight terms as a congressman in Rhode Island, Patrick Kennedy dropped out of the public eye. Kennedy attributed his resignation to personal soul-searching after the 2009 death of his father, Senator Ted Kennedy, in 2009. As he told Rhode Island Monthly at the time:

“It’s pretty simple in this respect: I went through something that caused me a great deal of soul searching and self-reflection. Right now, a personal life is of greater value. Emotional connections that are real and loving and personal just trump everything else.”

Judging by a feature story by Stephen Fried in this month’s Philadelphia Magazine, Kennedy seems to have found what he’s looking for. Shortly after announcing his resignation, he met Amy Petitgout, a middle-school history teacher, at an Atlantic City fundraiser. They struck up a relationship — cue the TV movie about a single mom from Jersey falling in love with a troubled Kennedy — and were married in Hyannis Port last July by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, a family friend. Fried has the whole story, having spoken frankly with Kennedy about bipolar disorder, his father, and starting a family (Amy is due in April):

“At the end of my dad’s life,” Patrick says, “it wasn’t his legacy or the laws he passed that kept him company when he was sitting at the end of the porch, looking out over the ocean. It was his kids. And that was seared into me.”

It’s definitely worth a read.

Kennedy’s resignation, of course, left a gaping Camelot hole in Washington — one Kennedy or another served in Congress or the White House for a stunning 64 years. That’s likely to change this November, when his cousin, Joseph Kennedy III, runs for Barney Frank’s seat in the 4th Congressional District.