The hard fact of the world of a committed relationship is the existence of extramarital affair. We may love not to talk about it openly or better like to ignore it under the assumption that our bond is stronger and nothing can breach this trust. If we go by the stories shared by victims of extramarital affairs, they were also under the same assumption until that shock and surprise knocked at the door one day tearing apart the finely woven fabric of the family.
Interestingly, the extramarital affair is a universal phenomenon happening everywhere without any advantages and disadvantages of socio-economic or cultural identities. Studies suggest that the universality of the affairs is because of the common evolutionary conditioning for dynamism in love, pleasure, belongingness, self-actualization, and validation. We, humans, are wired to explore experiment and seek rewards. Accordingly, we create an image of self and seek approval and validation of those personality traits. Once these approval and validation stops coming from the partner we start seeking them from outside. A little cue of validation from anyone attracts you towards the source resulting in the birth of affair.
Simple observation of cases in the public domain suggests that there a set pattern that unfolds starting from escapism and moves to external validation seeking, primary stage secrecy, public exposure, acceptance & discord followed by divorce, marriage, and divorce again.
Most Scandalous Extramarital Affairs
Modern history is full of stories of extramarital affairs and how it shaped the lives of those involved in it. As said, it is rampant in all possible socio-economic hierarchies but we come to know about only those few that come into public life. Here are some of the most popular affairs in recent history:
This is one of the most scandalous affairs of the literary world; you can call it Frankenstein affair. This all began in 1814 when 16-year old Marry Godwin met 21-year old romantic but married poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Just like a fantastic plot, they met in secret resulting into pregnancy and leaving of a wife.
The Frankenstein moment hits when Shelly’s pregnant wife commits suicide by drowning in Hyde Park. The Marry-Shelly marriage happens but short-lived as Shelly also committed suicide a year later. Interestingly, the idea of the world-famous novel Frankenstein was conceived during that period in 1816.
It is a perfect story with ingredients of power, love, lust, sacrifice, and revenge in royal background. This all begins when 33-year old Catherine the Great finds 22-year old dashing commander Grigory Potemkin and uses his military skill to overthrow incapable husband Czar Peter III in 1762. She found a good looking great counselor, commander to fulfill all her ambition and needs. Unfortunately, the steamy relationship ended too soon as Potemkin died untimely. This relationship helped in shaping history by one of the most powerful women in history.
Creative passion creates an unknown vacuum, and normal regular emotions cannot find space in that vacuum. The midlife crisis in the life of literary superstar and father of nine kids Charles Dickens happened in 1857 when the 45-year-old genius entered in an adulterous affair with 18-year-old actress Ellen “Nelly” Ternan. Everything looked perfect in married life with name, fame, wealth, power and good family comprising nine kids. This affair just destroyed his family but the relation with Nelly sustained until death. However, his effort to hide the affair in secrecy inspired the characters for his later novels, including Great Expectation and Estella.
It is one of the most meticulously shared affairs from the annals of history through movies, books, and television shows and has a very strong connect with public imagination. Little deep digging suggests that Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn were in an intimate relationship prior to the marriage and the annulment of the first marriage to Catherine of Aragon. This effort to legitimize the marriage led to the break of the English empire from the Roman Catholic Church. Meanwhile, Anne gave birth to the future Elizabeth I and was beheaded.
It is a perfect example of affair grooming in a distance-proximity context involving highly successful celebrities. Two highly successful married actors, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton away from the real-life of the family develops a strong and intimate relationship while acting in Cleopatra (1963). The strong love-lust relationship culminates into marriage with 10-years of super-hyped life. The relationship takes an ugly turn in 1974 resulting in divorce, remarriage, and divorce again.
The affair begins when the “The Rat Pack” legend starts when Frank starts dating actress Ava Gardener in 1943. Attracted by the beauty of the actress, the legendary singer leaves his sweetheart Nancy behind and marries the actress in 1951. Just like any other emotion-driven relation, this also ended in divorce six years later.
This could be one of the most famous triangular affairs in celebrity history. A beloved husband falls in love with your most trusted fired. The emotional paradox isn’t. The actress Debbie Reynolds finds at a dinner party that her singer husband Eddie Fisher is in love with friend Elizabeth Taylor. Later in 1959, Elizabeth married Eddie but opted to split in 1964.
Emotional world is fragile at least when we see from a celebrity perspective. It took Johnny Cash just a fraction of second to breach the trust of “I Walk the Line” with Vivian Cash. The trigger to breach came in 1956 from the country singer June Carter. The friction culminated into divorce despite several attempts to reconcile. Ultimately, Johnny married June in 1968 and spent life together for the best part of life until 2003.
Prince Charles-Parker Affair
It was like a volcanic eruption in the world of relationship. Although not a new phenomena in royalty, but his openness was really a surprise for everyone. Apart from the element of surprise in Princess Dianna and Prince of Wales, it was known to her that the price loved in Camilla Parker Bowles. It became officially known Dianne in the year 1986 but it took another six-year to verify it when the taped conversations were leaked. The royal divorce happened in 1996 and a year later she died in a car accident. Price married Camilla in 2005.
This story is like a terminator is on or eraser mission to transgress. The shock to the famous journalist wife of Arnold Schwarzenegger came in 2011 when he made it public that he was in a relationship with housekeeper Mildred Patricia Baena in 1997 and fathered a son. Wife of terminator Maria filed for divorce following the exposure but the story continues as politics is in between.
Rhythm is not always divine. The iconic duo of 2000s Britney & Justine parted away in 2002, as rumors erupted about the singer’s intimate relationship with dance choreographer Wade Robson. Although the official reason made public by Britney was “mismatch of need” between stars, the rumor mill suggests that something strong was brewing on the dance floor.
No one is immune, even Oscars can’t save you from adultery. Everything was perfect between Halle Berry and R&B singer Eric Benet until she came to know about the cheating. All efforts to reconcile went in vain and resulted in a split in 2003. Both moved on their path.
What a love story, a perfect plot to build a romantic story. The trilogy starts in 2004 when Aniston announces her desire to start a family with Pitt but rumours started erupting in the same year about Pitt’s intimate relationship with “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” co-star Angelina Jolie. The flood of rumours and no clarification resulted in a split in 2005. Nine years later, the most handsome couple promised each other to love forever but all ended in 2016.
This could one of the best survivor stories from the celebrity club. All ingredients of an illicit affair, red-handed catch, ransom threat and apology followed by survival all in one story. David Letterman successfully managed to hide his relationship with Late Show assistant Stephanie Birkitt, until her boyfriend caught them red-handed in a car in 2008. The boyfriend was arrested for ransom threat. Interestingly, David openly apologized on-air to his wife Regina Lasko. The good part was, the relationship survived, despite the scandal.
The world’s best golfer turns out to be a sex addict with affairs with more than 15 women. What else one could expect other than beating from the wife. That is exactly what happened with Tiger Woods. Then-wife Elin Nordegren chased Woods when she came to know that he is sexually involved with nightclub hostess Rachel Uchitel. Once the canister opened, it turned out that it was not one or two but 15 women. The Tiger entered rehab in 2009 and in 2010 the star of the golf finally agreed to sign divorce papers.
And the list is endless with the common factor of search of validation from the other-self, which one creates within the mental frame. This is never-ending the saga of dynamism in emotions but your learning helps you to master the art of controlling emotions. With this art of control, you can save your relationship with not just wife but your kids as well.