Carly Simon opens up about friend Jackie Kennedy in new book

Carly Simon's friendship with the late Jacqueline Kennedy has fueled the singer-songwriter's latest book.

Appearing on Tuesday's Today show, she promoted Touched by the Sun: My Friendship With Jackie. Simon's book spans the 11 years between meeting the former first lady -- when her son JFK Junior asked her to join them at restaurant on Martha’s Vineyard -- to spending time with her moments before she died. At that first meeting, Jackie, then a New York book editor, approached Carly with the idea of writing a memoir.

Though the project didn't work out, it did lead to an unexpected second career for the voice of classics such as "You're So Vain" and "You Belong to Me."

TODAY SHOW: Carly Simon talked about how after Jackie Kennedy signed her to write a memoir, she instead wound up writing children's books:

"I was blown away by the aspect of doing such a ridiculous thing. I couldn't do it. It seemed much too close to write about my parents -- and my mother was still alive then. I wrote about 80 pages and then I stopped. I called her and said, 'Would you mind if I wrote children's books instead [laugh]."

Though they were 15 years apart in age and came from vastly different social circles, Simon understood why Mrs. Kennedy was drawn to her as a friend.

TODAY SHOW: Carly Simon says Jackie Kennedy wished she could be more like her:

"Something that she wanted to have a little bit of, herself. A free spirit who had the license to be, in a rock and roll kind of way, loose as a goose. I could smoke a joint if I wanted to. She didn't have the license to be free. She was a naughty girl. And she liked that in herself and she liked it in other people."

Surprisingly, Simon says she didn't tell Jackie's surviving child Caroline Kennedy that she was writing this book. Carly hopes Kennedy will "accept it in the spirit in which it was meant, which was with utter warmth."

Touched by the Sun is out now.

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