In the immortal words of Hall and Oates, the world can be full of ‘man eaters’. Women who move just as easily as men through partners, relationships, even marriages due to a combination of their looks, charms, restless nature and belief that life is meant to be experienced to its fullest. For some reason, when a man does these sorts of things, they are lauded for their virility, while women have historically been seen in a more harsh light if they don’t settle down and remain that way.
Thankfully, times are changing and now more than ever, women are able to go out and live their lives how ever they choose, and if they wish, in the same way as men. It has led us to a landscape where day-to-day relationships can become fluid and definitely more confusing, but at least we’re approaching a place where it’s somewhat more equal. In the age of Tinder and the like, we’re always just one swipe away from being replaced by someone else if we’re not good to the person we’re with. Or if someone new and intriguing (or sadly, younger and hotter) comes along.
So, here are 15 of the world’s most notorious man eaters, ranging from those who currently top most wanted lists to historic figures who paved the way for women to reclaim their rightful place in the dating game. Watch out boys, they’ll chew you up.
15. January Jones
The one-time Mrs. Draper on Mad Men, January Jones has been wrapped in one of the more mysterious Hollywood debates for a few years now: Who is the father of her young child, Xander? Though there are many prime suspects, she has never given an answer herself, only saying that she knew she’d be raising the child alone. There have been swirling allegations that she was involved with several married men at one point or another, including chef Bobby Flay whose ex-wife believes he is the un-named father and cites their affair as part of the reason for divorcing him. We probably won’t know who the father is for a while, though hopefully Jones is able to one day explain all of this at least to her son.
14. Lindsay Lohan
At one point, the future seemed so bright for Lindsay Lohan. Initially a child star and then ticketed for big things after starring in Mean Girls, since then Lohan has seen her party-girl lifestyle become her ENTIRE image and most, if not all, of her career success has hit a standstill. Perhaps her most recent major bit of headline was one that involved a certain list she had made which had all of her previous lovers written down, and it included some pretty major names. Ranging from the probable in Wilmer Valderrama and Colin Farrell to the more bizarre… Benicio del Toro? It’s pretty clear that Lohan is not afraid to air her past for the world to see, though it seems that might be the only way she remains in the spotlight these days.
The longtime singer and actress Cher certainly believes in life after love, especially if it leads into the arms of another love. Looking up some of her dating history, it becomes very clear that she seems to enjoy the company of younger men, whether it was with a still mostly unknown Tom Cruise or Val Kilmer, or Gregg Allman, Gene Simmons or even David Geffen. Cher certainly knows how to work her magic, as even her most recent marriage was to a former Hell’s Angels biker who was almost 25 years younger than her. Perhaps that is part of the reason why after all these years, she’s been able to remain almost ageless, as hanging with the young does tend to keep you younger yourself. Judging by the net worths of some of the men in her life, it’s also pretty obvious Cher knew how to pick people who would go on to be VERY successful, and she didn’t do too badly herself.
12. Julia Roberts
America’s sweetheart and one of the highest paid female actresses ever, Julia Roberts has settled down into a seemingly calm domestic life with her husband cameraman David Moder. Yet, before that, her love life was something out of, well, a Julia Roberts movie. Most famously, she was all set to marry actor Keifer Sutherland only to leave him at the altar and act as a, shall we say, ‘runaway bride’, by jetting off with one of Sutherland’s friends, Jason Patric. Things did not end well there and before finding happiness with her current husband, was also with Benjamin Bratt and for a few years singer Lyle Lovett which made for a short-lived marriage itself. Though her current husband was married at the time, he quickly divorced, probably being won over by Roberts’ million dollar smile and have since lived (mostly) happily ever after… just like a Julia Roberts movie.
11. Tyra Banks
When you’re a runway model and one of the most sought after faces for magazine covers, it is pretty easy to imagine the kind of attention you’ll be getting from the opposite sex. A deep dive into the dating history of Tyra Banks shows that she enjoyed quite the variety of men as she created her modeling and eventual TV empire. Way before any Kardashians made it the norm, Tyra was seeking the company of athletes, ranging from NBA players like Chris Webber and Rick Fox to New York Rangers great Mark Messier. She was even rumored to be dating Will Smith for a while, most likely around when she appeared on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as a girl Will pined after but could never fully get with. In true Man Eater fashion, Tyra’s character eventually spurned Will and disappeared, never to be seen on the show again. Love ’em and leave ’em, even if they’re the likes of Will Smith, that’s the power of Tyra.
10. Drew Barrymore
At first glance, Drew Barrymore would seem like an odd choice for this list. She has made a career playing the likeable, plucky, sometimes ditzy but usually innocent woman in so many movies, yet her relationship history is littered with all sorts of false starts and quick endings. She was engaged at 16, broke that off, engaged again at 19, and finally got married only for it to end a few months later. Next, she dated comedian Tom Green (remember him?) and married him for around a year before that relationship ended as well. Up next, she had an on-again, off-again relationship with actor Justin Long and Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti before seeming to finally settle down with art consultant Will Kopelman. For a while, this seemed to be the one that would stick, but last month, they filed for divorce. Perhaps further complicating all of these, are longtime quotes and stories that Barrymore is actually bisexual and has also had relationships with women as well.
9. Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor‘s love life was the stuff of legends. From the age of 16, she was already being set up on dates by movie studios and courted by some of the biggest names in the world, including billionaire Howard Hughes who supposedly offered to pay her parents a huge sum of money in exchange for her hand in marriage. Though she declined Hughes’ offer, she was certainly game to try marriage itself. In all, she was married eight times, with many of them failing due to affairs involving both parties or any sort of other issues, including drinking, gambling and too much media attention. Perhaps her most famous partner was actor Richard Burton, with whom she’d end up marrying and divorcing twice and for a long time were the gold standard of Hollywood couples with their exploits, fights, affairs and films together setting the stage for all of the drama we love to read about today.
8. Jennifer Lopez
Can we ever forget about the many love affairs of singer and actress Jennifer Lopez? Jenny from the Block certainly knew how to court attention with her partners. Whether it was her time spent with Diddy when he was still Puff Daddy or her marriage to singer Marc Anthony, headlines always followed her around. Though of course, nothing could top ‘Bennifer’, the tabloid-coined name for her relationship with Ben Affleck. Their time together was marked by music videos, endless photos and of course, horrible movies. It’s never been confirmed that Gigli was what ended their relationship but anyone that has ever sat through it knows that no good could ever come from it. Since that “error” of her life ended, Jennifer has been enjoying the company of backup dancer Casper Smart, who hopefully has no aspirations of filmmaking. Then again, Affleck has done alright for himself since that infamous relationship too.
7. Mariah Carey
A diva in every sense of the word, singer Mariah Carey‘s talents have led her to share the company of a very diverse group of men. As more than a few people do in show business, her first long-term relationship was with a manager and mentor many years her senior. Also, as often happens in show business, once Mariah blossomed into a star, she broke away because the man had become too controlling and demanding of her. From there, she was seen with Derek Jeter, singers Luis Miguel and Eric Benet and even Eminem, though she denies that one strongly. Eventually, she settled down with actor Nick Cannon and the two seemed to be going strong, only for it to end in 2015. Though the two remain friends and committed to co-parenting their children, Mariah has since moved on to billionaire James Parker, who might have just enough money to give Mariah the diva treatment her voice demands.
6. Ava Gardner
Frank Sinatra. Howard Hughes (a repeat name on this list!). Ernest Hemingway. Mickey Rooney. Musician Artie Shaw. Just reading off those names makes it quite clear that actress Ava Gardner was a woman to be reckoned with and clearly, chased after. For Sinatra specifically, Gardner represented the woman that he would idolize for the rest of his life. Having left his first wife for her, their relationship especially was one of great ups and downs with the media eating up every single fight, reconciliation, and baby drama. Though it was short-lived, Sinatra remained a prominent figure in her life even after she’d moved on from him. Anyone who could make the Chairman of the Board bend over backwards is not to be forgotten. For most of the 50s and 60s, the many loves of Ava Gardner had Hollywood and the press running to get the latest scoop of which there were many.
RiRi has become quite possibly the modern day embodiment of the ‘Man Eater’ with her fiercely independent nature, her ability to seemingly show indifference to even the most ardent and urgent of male suitors and for showing that she can survive and even thrive after the horrific abuse she suffered from one-time boyfriend and all around low life Chris Brown. Having been linked with everyone from athletes like Matt Kemp to actors like Leo (he was making this list at some point, right?) to Drake, who seems perfectly fine in making a fool of himself to earn her affection, Rihanna knows she can get attention from men at all times and uses it to her advantage whenever possible to great effect. Perhaps more importantly, she seems to be able to shrug them off and go right on dominating the charts with or without any of them, making her appeal only that much more palpable. Good luck, Aubrey!
4. Taylor Swift
The cat is out of the bag with Taylor Swift at this point. Early in her career, she was often seen as the woman who was constantly let down, heartbroken, or played for a fool. Yet, as her string of high-profile relationships have come and gone in increasingly rapid succession, her true nature, that of a serial dater, has taken hold. Or that she uses each heartbreak to write million dollar lovelorn songs. Here’s the thing, there’s nothing wrong with that at all. As a single, successful, independent woman, Taylor can do what she wants with whomever she wants. The only issue that may be growing is that the façade of true love she proclaims with each of her partners has begun to ring especially hollow. It’s best that she just embrace her place in the Man Eater Hall Of Fame now and enjoy the spoils of victory that happen when you get there. There’s no doubt that regardless of whether each one of her new romances leads to heartbreak, the songs they help create will be hits.
3. Marilyn Monroe
When your stable of lovers have included a Yankee great like Joe DiMaggio and very possibly a sitting President AND, maybe just maybe, his brother the Attorney General, you may in fact be an all-time Man Eater. Marilyn Monroe remains, in the eyes and minds of many, as the original bombshell, a woman who exudes overwhelming sex appeal and draws men into her life only to eventually move on from them when the time was right. Though she was often portrayed as the “dumb blonde” because it was an easy sell to audiences, subsequent biographies have revealed a very canny nature behind the pouty looks and flirty whispers. She was even married to acclaimed author Arthur Miller for a time, showing the true depth in her love life. The allure and appeal of Marilyn is still seen every time a pop star dyes her hair blonde since thanks to her, that, for many, remains the ideal look a true sex symbol should have.
2. Angelina Jolie
A late breaking victory for Team Jen as news is just rolling in that Brangelina is no more. Perhaps the most infamous of Man Eaters of the last 15 or so years, Angelina Jolie came to the spotlight at first as a wild, super talented and perhaps slightly unhinged personality. Between her very public romances with Jonny Lee Miller and Billy Bob Thornton, Jolie seemed to have an affinity for bad boys and also enjoyed taking things to the extreme, as evidenced by carrying a vial of Thornton’s blood around her neck. Yet truly her most infamous relationship was the one with Brad Pitt, which resulted in Pitt leaving his wife Jennifer Aniston for Jolie after the two had worked on a movie together. It became such a public affair, with everyone siding either on Aniston’s or Jolie’s side. In the years that passed, Pitt and Jolie had become a sort of ever-present domestic ideal, between having children, adoptions and all sorts of humanitarian work. However, with the dissolution of their marriage, it would seem a new chapter is on the way and the press are no doubt hungry for whatever comes next.
1. Mae West
The original and in many ways, the woman that all future independent women in the movies owe a large debt of gratitude to. Mae West was an actress in the early 1900s who revelled in taking on censors and pushing back against the prudish attitudes of the time period. Writing and creating work that dealt with everything from sexual adventure to homosexuality, she was constantly hounded for being amoral and even served time in prison for “corrupting the morals of the youth.” None of this held her down for long, however, and she kept right on pushing her entire career which included a string of big box office hits and, for a time, made her the highest paid entertainer in Hollywood. West’s personal life was just as wild as her on camera exploits, including lovers both many years younger and older than her, but one little anecdote perhaps best explains why she truly was a force to be reckoned with. According to a biography of her life, West was dating young African American boxer William Jones, who was oftentimes not allowed into the building where West lived due to the color of his skin. West’s solution? She simply bought the entire building and lifted the ban. A woman for all time, that Mae West.