Sex scandals have been with us since the dawn of time. It’s the stuff we just love hearing about, even if we don’t like to admit it. Scandals like Hugh Grant having things done to him by a prostitute in a car or Kristen Stewart caught on camera snuggling with her director in Snow White and the Huntsman never cease to grab our attention. It’s like a real life soap opera and in these days of the Internet and instant everything, sex scandals go across the globe in a millisecond.
Some sex scandals leave the guilty party relatively unscathed. After Monica Lewinsky, Bill Clinton lost nothing and bounced back as did Hugh Grant after his incident. After Ashton Kutcher partied in a hot tub with a sweet young thing, he came out of his divorce with Demi Moore in good shape.
There are some sex scandals that fly under the radar and just can’t be quantified like Rupert Murdoch’s recent divorce from third wife Wendi Deng. Worth $13.5 billion, Murdoch divorced his wife amid rumors that she had had an affair with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Whatever she got is a heck of a lot less than what she would have inherited from the 77 year old mogul. This is ironic, as Murdoch married Deng days after his $1.7 million settlement with his wife. No scandal, but a lot of innuendo. Check out the list to see who else falls into the sex scandal category and who it has hurt the most financially.
10. Brad Pitt: $29 Million
In the 1980’s and 1990’s Brad Pitt seemed to have gotten into the habit of having flings with his leading ladies before he married Jennifer Aniston in 2000. Five years later, he was starring in Mr. and Mrs. Smith with Angelina Jolie who Pitt is currently with. If you thought the steamy love scenes between the two were a little too convincing, you would be right. They had “fallen in love” over the course of filming. Pictures of Pitt and Jolie on vacation together became public and Jen took action and filed for divorce resulting in $30 million settlement.
9. Michael Jackson: $35 Million
Michael Jackson went from being the darling little boy in the Jackson 5 to being a drug riddled recluse by the time of his death in 2009. Things started to go wrong in the 1980’s after he was injured filming a Pepsi commercial. He established his own retreat, a Californian estate called Neverland. In 1993 a boy accused him of molestation after spending a sleepover night at the Neverland estate. Others soon came forward. Reportedly, Jackson settled out of court, paying out some $35 million. His brief marriage to Lisa Marie Presley in 1994 did little to restore his image or career.
8. Fatty Arbuckle: $37 Million
In 1920, Fatty Arbuckle was the darling of silent film. The film comedian was big, weighing in at 300 pounds. He had just signed a three year movie deal that paid him $1 million dollars a year (worth over $12 million a year in today’s money). It all went wrong in September of 1921 when he attended a party.He and a young starlet disappeared into a bedroom when screams were heard. She died a few days later, a result, many said, of literally being crushed to death under his considerable weight.Banner headlines screamed his guilt. Although he was acquitted at the trial, his career never recovered and he was soon abandoned by Hollywood.
7. Richard Scaife: $60 Million
Richard Scaife is old Pittsburgh money. Worth billions, he is heir to the Mellon banking and oil empire. He married his wife, Margaret in 1991, however, they separated in 2005 when his relationship with a 43 year old ex-prostitute became public. Margaret was arrested for trespassing at his house as she peered through the dining room because she was trying to take pictures of a romantic dinner between the two. She spent a night in a holding cell, surrounded by criminals who insisted on stroking her fur coat. The interim settlement provided that Richard pay his estranged wife $1 million a month. When they split, Margaret had, over his objections, taken their dog. He put a sign out front of his house: “Wife and dog missing – Reward for dog”.
6. Silvio Berlusconi: $120 Million
Silvio Berlusconi is a billionaire Italian politician and media mogul. He has served three terms as Italian Prime Minister and has been convicted for tax fraud, paying a female minor for sex and abuse of office, amongst other things. His fondness for very young girls is well-known. In 2009 alone, it was revealed that an underage girl had spent a week with him in his villa and an actress claimed she had been offered money for sex with him. In that same year, his wife Veronica publicly criticized him because of his use of young girls in his politician campaign. Not surprisingly, she called it quits and Berlusconi was ordered to pay her nearly $2 million a month.
5. Michael Jordan: $168 Million
Former NBA star Michael Jordan was divorced by his wife Juanita in December of 2006. Months before, his former lover Karla Knafel made a big splash when she had taken him to court alleging that he had paid her $250,000 and promised to pay her a total of $5 million to keep quiet about their affair. The $168 million settlement was the largest divorce settlement on record at that time.
4. Tiger Woods: $250 Million
Tiger Woods was the golden boy of golf, his beautiful blonde wife Elin smiling at his side. However, it all went very wrong. In November of 2009, The National Enquirer published a story that he had had an affair with a nightclub manager. When he crashed his SUV into a fire hydrant in the middle of the night two days later, rumors swirled that Elin had threatened to take a golf club to him. Shortly after, a dozen women claimed that they had had sex with him.Tiger issued statement after statement, saying how sorry he was. Multimillion dollar endorsements were pulled and Elin filed for divorce and walked away with $250 million.
3. Roman Abramovich: $300 Million
The Russian billionaire bad boy married his wife Irina in 1991. In 2006, The News or the World reported that Irina had hired two heavyweight London divorce lawyers, as a result of reports of Roman’s relationship with 25 year old model Dasha Zhukov. Pundits were predicting Irina would walk away with billions. At the end of the day Roman got off pretty lightly, forking out $300 million. For a guy who spends $5 million on New Years Eve parties aboard his yacht, it must have seemed chump change. Dasha and Roman were recently seen on Roman’s yacht moored off New York City awaiting the birth of their daughter.
2. Arnold Schwarzenegger: $375 Million
The actor and former Governor of California married Maria Shriver in 1986. During his first campaign in 2003, The Los Angeles Times reported that several female campaign workers claimed he had fondled their breasts (“Gropegate”). In 2011, the paper reported that the ex-governor had fathered a child with a household employee some 14 years earlier. Maria filed for divorce and walked away with $375 million. In addition, Schwarzenegger was cut out of pending film deals, costing him millions more.
1. Mel Gibson: $400 Million
Mel Gibson was the darling of 70’s and 80’s movies, with hits such as Mad Max and Lethal Weapon. In 2009 his wife of 31 years, Robyn, filed for divorce following compromising pictures of Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva, a Russian pianist. Gibson seemed to compound his woes with stops for drunk driving and rants dissing blacks, Jews and Mexicans. Not only did Robyn walk away with $400 million (the highest in Hollywood history), Gibson’s movie career dried up. By 2010, he and Grigorieva had split amid claims of his domestic violence.