Is the fun of an affair really just physical? Sex is great, but is it alone worth the risk of instability and alimony payment, especially if, as is often the case below, you are cheating with a less attractive partner? Is the fun not, perhaps, the thrill of getting caught? Like Michael Fassbender having intercourse with that woman up against a bay window in Shame, cheaters cheat because the stakes are so high. Driving your son and his snot-nosed little friends to soccer practice is less fun than careening down an ink-dark mountain road with your headlights off and your eyes closed.
We tend to pathologize cheaters like we do alcoholics or people who gamble. “Oh, he’s not a cheater, he’s a sex addict.” If framed like that, cheating isn’t an adulterer’s transgression; it’s a disease entirely out of his or her control. But not every drinker is an alcoholic, not every poker player’s a gambler, and not every cheater is a sex addict. Sometimes, it’s just a person who, as La Roux says, doesn’t like them and who just likes the attention (“I’m Not Your Toy”.)
If, as FOX has suggested for the past fourteen seasons, celebrities are our “Idols” (originally a biblical term meaning any image of representation of a God meant to be worshipped), then they are paternalistically standing in for our spiritual overseer until it reveals itself. We don’t want to believe that would willingly do wrong. We hope, by calling them sex addicts, that they are just be guided by an unreasonable force, behaving badly but fundamentally good.
That all said, let’s get right into it, and find out which 10 sordid celebrity affairs were private before they were very public.
10. Kristen Stewart Cheats on Robert Pattinson
In 2011, Kristen Stewart met Rupert Sanders, her director on Snow White and the Huntsman. At the time, she was dating Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson. Also, Rupert Sanders was married with two kids. Stewart and Sanders started a secret relationship, sneaking around Hollywood to canoodle in dark corners. How do we know? Us Weekly followed the pair around the city, waiting for something good. At one point, they believed themselves to be alone and went for a steamy makeout session. Unfortunately (for them, and for Robert Pattinson’s delicate heart), they were not alone, and Us Weekly broke the story, forever altering public opinion of Kristen Stewart.
9. Tiger Woods Cheats on Elin Nordegren
Tiger Woods’ affair was especially bad because, first of all, it was nowhere near an affair (singular) and second of all because it cost him a lot more than just some heartache from losing his partner. 2009 was a good year for the golfer: he met president Obama, he had $110 million in endorsements and a beautiful family, and Forbes named him the first athlete ever to net $1 billion. After news about Woods’ affair with New York City nightclub manager Rachel Uchitel broke, fourteen other women came forward claiming that they had also slept with him, some of them offering little pieces of trivia about him to legitimize their stories (he likes to eat Froot Loops in front of cartoons, for instance.) After the incident, he lost half of his sponsors, his wife, and hasn’t won a tournament since.
8. Jesse James Cheats on Sandra Bullock
Not only did Jesse James cheat on America’s sweetheart Sandra Bullock, he also did it with an alleged neo-Nazi. First, TMZ released pictures of James’ alleged (at the time) mistress, Michelle ‘Bombshell’ McGee, wearing a swastika armband. Literally days later, pictures taken in 2004 surfaced of Miss Congeniality’s eventual husband wearing a Nazi hat, using his fingers as a Hitler mustache, and doing the “Heil, meïn Fuhrer!” salute. Heavy stuff. In 2010, James got a call from his publicist saying that McGee had admitted to having an affair with him to the press, so he met up with Sandra Bullock to come clean.
7. Brad Pitt Cheats on Jennifer Aniston
It was bound to happen the way the sun is bound to set at night. From 2000 to 2005, Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt were married (meaning that they were actually married when Brad Pitt guest starred on Friends in the one with the “I Hate Rachel Green” club; officially “The one with the rumor”.) But two fundamental shifts in Jennifer Aniston’s life happened in 2004: Friends ended and Brad Pitt met Angelina Jolie on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Courteney Cox (at the time, Cox Arquette) was interviewed by Vanity Fair about the eventual breakup of Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt and she says: “I don’t think he started an affair physically.” But the passionate scenes in the movie they filmed together show that they had definitely started something emotionally.
6. Ashton Kutcher Cheats on Demi Moore
It was the night of the sixth wedding anniversary of this controversial Hollywood couple. At the time, Ashton was 33 and Demi Moore was sixteen years older at 49. Although Ashton had valiantly faced all the jokes and derision for several years, it seems like in 2011 he wanted to regain the sex-symbol esteem he had collected during his time on That 70s Show. He chose to do it by cheating on his wife with a 22 year old hussy in a San Diego hotel room. Demi, ever cool, said that she planned to divorce him after the story broke. According to her, there are certain values and vows that are sacred, and breaking them is a dealbreaker. Their split was finalized by 2013.
5. Jude Law Cheats On Sienna Miller
At this point, the trope of the handsome actor sleeping with the nanny is almost as tired as that of two impassioned lovers kissing in the rain. But cliché apparently did not deter Jude Law, who cheated in 2005 on his 23-year-old fiancée, Sienna Miller, with a twenty-six year old housekeeper. Jude Law met Daisy Wright while filming All The King’s Men in New Orleans, in Louisiana. One of Jude Law’s three children, whose mother is his ex-wife Sadie Frost, walked in on the couple in action. The kid told its mother, who then spoke to the Sunday Mirror. Although Jude was doing a bad thing, it seems like a jerk move to tattle on him to the press, especially coming from someone who could easily just have been jealous that he was dating one of the world’s (at that time) hottest women.
4. Ethan Hawke Cheats on Uma Thurman
Ethan Hawke is another man who cheated with the nanny, although admittedly didn’t get caught as red-handed as Jude Law. He’s never even admitted to doing it. But tell us yourself. He was married to Uma Thurman for nine years, several of which were spent employing nanny Ryan Shawhughes (a woman, indeed.) When he and Uma Thurman split up, he immediately took up with Ryan, and ended up marrying her. In addition to his two children with Mia Wallace, Ethan Hawke now has two children with the hired help. He has also been quoted as saying that being angry about being cheated on is like being angry that your hair is greying, in the sense that both are inevitable. Dodgy rhetoric for someone who claims to be faithful by never admitting he wasn’t.
3. Gavin Rossdale Cheats on Gwen Stefani
For a long time, Gavin Rossdale and Gwen Stefani were one of Hollywood’s most reliable married couples. Having been married for thirteen years, they were almost an institution. But then in August, they declared they were splitting up, and by October they had negotiated the terms. This train was on the fast track to splitsville. And why’s that? Yep, Rossdale was porking the nanny. At first, he insisted that the naughty texts to their longtime housekeeper Mindy Mann, discovered in February, were mere “flirtation”. But a few months later, Rossdale came clean to a three year affair with the younger blonde. Now, Gwen Stefani is dating Blake Shelton of The Voice, but openly wishing her divorce never happened.
2. Hugh Grant Cheats on Elizabeth Hurley
Hugh Grant‘s relationship with Elizabeth Hurley was one of the most famous of the generation. At the premiere of Four Weddings and Funeral, it was she who, on Hugh’s arm in a safety pin Versace dress, singlehandedly made the red carpet more of a fashion show than the runway. They, together, epitomized sophisticated Britishness. That’s why it came as such a worldwide shock when Hugh Grant was arrested in 1995 in L.A. for getting caught in the act with Divine Brown, an escort, in his car on the side of the road. As Brown tells it, Grant cruised down Sunset Strip late at night. When he saw her, he offered her money for her services. During, he said to her: “I always wanted to sleep with a black woman. That’s my fantasy.” They were arrested together, the story hopping from the police station to international news outlets and triggering Grant’s fall from grace.
1. John Travolta Cheats (?) On Kelly Preston
It has long been rumored that John Travolta is one of Hollywood’s (many) secret homosexuals. It wasn’t until he was photographed kissing a man that the rumors became more than just background chatter. In 2006, a picture hit the presses of John Travolta tenderly kissing a fair-haired man standing at the entrance of an airplane. It seemed to contradict the image of heterosexuality propounded by his enduring marriage to Kelly Preston, which had produced two children, 14 and 6 at the time. Although this is hardly proof of a proper “affair”, it bespoke Travolta’s possible homosexuality more than the watery accusations made against him by an alleged adult star and ex-lover (retracted after a stern talking-to by Travolta’s heavily bankrolled legal team.) Whether or not he’s gay, the pictures emerged and something obviously private quickly became embarrassingly public…