The best sex scandals involve high emotion, shocking behavior and, of course, sex. Most people will tell you that they do not follow the salacious details of celebrity and political sex scandals. They are lying. Along with providing entertainment, sex scandals have changed the course of history.
- Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. U.S. President Bill Clinton’s 1995 affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky defined his second term in office. The relationship came to light after an investigation by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, who headed the Whitewater investigation. Details around the affair ultimately led to the House of Representatives voting to impeach Clinton.
- Mackenzie Phillips and John Phillips. Actress Mackenzie Phillips wrote about her alleged incestuous liaison with her father, Mamas and the Papas singer John Phillips in the 2009 book, “High on Arrival.” She says that their relationship was consensual. Mackenzie Phillips’ claims qualify this liaison as the most disturbing of all sexual scandals on the list.
- John Edwards and Rielle Hunter. John Edwards, the 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee, began an affair with filmmaker Rielle Hunter in 2006. Rumors of their on-going relationship brought down his 2008 run for U.S. president. Together, they conceived a child. He and his wife Elizabeth separated before she died of cancer.
- Ted Haggard. Once an evangelical preacher, Ted Haggard led a mega-church in Colorado where he preached against homosexuality. Several men, including a drug dealer, came forward to admit that Haggard had sexual relations with them. Haggard admitted that it was true, and he lost his job with the church.
- Roman Polanski. In 1977, film director Roman Polanski was charged with sexually assaulting a teenage girl. He pleaded not guilty and then fled the U.S. Ever since, authorities have tried to capture Polanski and bring him to trial. Swiss authorities caught, then released him in 2009. Charges against Polanski are still pending in the U.S.
- Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill. During his 1991 U.S. Supreme Court nomination hearing, former colleague Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. She alleged that Thomas made innuendos and engaged in inappropriate behavior. Despite her testimony, the Senate confirmed Thomas’ nomination for the U.S. Supreme Court. This sex scandal educated the public on sexual harassment, though Hill’s testimony remains a controversial topic to this day.
- Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn. In 1992, Woody Allen became involved in one of the most surprising sex scandals on the list. His long-time girlfriend Mia Farrow found compromising pictures of her adopted daughter Soon-Yi in Allen’s apartment. Soon-Yi was 21 years old at the time. Allen and Farrow broke up, amid a tabloid storm. He continued his relationship with Soon-Yi despite their 34-year age difference.
- David Letterman. Talk show host David Letterman became embroiled in one of the most intriguing sex scandals when he talked about his participation in a blackmail sting. Robert Halderman, a CBS producer, said he would go public with Letterman’s marital infidelity unless Letterman paid him $2 million. Halderman lost his job at CBS and received a six-month sentence in prison.
- Tiger Woods. Golfer Tiger Woods got caught in a web of marital infidelity when Rachel Uchitel claimed that she had an affair with Woods in 2009. Soon, more than 12 women came forward with details of sexual liaisons. He sought treatment for sexual addiction and lost millions in product endorsements. He and wife, Elin Nordegren, divorced in 2010 as a result of Woods’ serial infidelity. Of all the sex scandals on the list, this one qualifies as the one that involved the most women.
- Jesse James, Sandra Bullock and Michelle “Bombshell” McGee. Actress Sandra Bullock had just won her Oscar for “The Blind Side” when she was blindsided by Michelle McGee tales of an affair with Bullock’s husband, Jesse James. The tawdry details came to light, followed by pictures of James and McGee in what appeared to be Nazi costumes and paraphernalia. Bullock quickly served James with divorce papers.