"On October 20, 1968, Maria got the news she had prayed she would never hear. Ari's butler called to tell her Aristotle and Kennedy were going to be married.
Maria did what she could to pass the time. She attended the opera next to Ghiringhelli, made a movie, taught a master class at Jiulliard. In the meantime, Ari was becoming disillusioned with Jackie's lavish buying sprees of jewelry and clothing and he was beginning to realize she was taking him for a fool. He kept calling and sending Maria flowers, but for a long time her pride was too hurt and she refused to talk with him. Finally in 1969 they met at a party and little by little, began to see each other again.
The climax came after they had spent four nights together when he took her to dine at Maxim's for the whole world to see. Maria was ecstatic, and believed Jackie was just another paramour to be forgotten. But the lady had other ideas. When she saw the newspaper photos of her husband and Maria dining together with blissful smiles, she was furious and flew immediately to his side. She insisted he repeat the drama of the day before at Maxim's with her in Maria's place. The next day Maria was admitted to the American Hospital at Neuilly with the diagnosis of "overdose of barbiturates."
For the first time since Ari's marriage, Maria returned to Greece, this time as the guest of Perry Embiricos on his private island of Tragonisi in the Aegean. Perry was a friend of Onassis, who had introduced Maria to him. To her surprise who should show up on the island but Aristo! He greeted Maria with a kiss, and from then on they resumed their relationship.
Thus, surviving his marriage, Maria was able to hang on by the tips of her fingernails until March, 1975, when Onassis became critically ill with incurable myasthenia gravis.
Maria had been getting daily reports about his progress from the American Hospital in Paris, where he had gone for surgery. He never recovered consciousness, and was kept alive for five weeks by a respirator and intravenous feedings. Maria knew he was dying and she was not allowed to be by his side. The doctors said it could go on for weeks or even months. Her suffering was unendurable.
On March 12, she received her last report from the American Hospital. Aristo was dead.
Maria was slowly dying from the loss of her career. He had flashed into her life like a bolt of lightning across a dark summer sky; where there'd been nothing suddenly there was Aristo. Her friends and staff were considerate, thoughtful, and loving. But it meant nothing, nothing. He was her core, her life. How could she live without him?
On September 16, 1977, at the age of 53, Maria Callas was found dead in her bed. The official story was that she died of a heart attack. But no autopsy was permitted, and her cremation took place almost immediately. Heart attack? Perhaps. But there are those of us who believe Maria when she said, "I've played heroines who die for love - and that's something I can understand."