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If we've learned anything from Hollywood, it's that happily-ever-after, fairy tale endings don't always happen. Celebrity couples are often kept apart by extreme work conditions, like being stuck on separate sets halfway around the world from each other with irresistibly attractive co-stars, for example. And that can be a recipe for a major scandal. Ahead, we rounded up the most shocking celebrity affairs that shook the world.
Princess Diana with James Gilbey
In 1992, The Sun released a transcript of a recorded conversation the princess had with her alleged lover (opens in new tab), James Gilbey, in which he called her "Squidgy." At the time, she was still married to the Queen of England's oldest son, Prince Charles, who was having an affair of his own with future second wife Camilla Parker Bowles.
Arnold Schwarzenegger with Mildred Baena
Schwarzenegger's affair with his housekeeper, Mildred Baena, was kept a secret for 14 years—even after he fathered a child who looks exactly like him (opens in new tab) with her. "You can't go back—if I could, in reality, be Terminator, of course I would go back in time and would say, 'Arnold...no,'" he told Men's Journal (opens in new tab). "You know, it's always easy to be smart in hindsight. That's not the way it works."
Alex Rodriguez with Madonna
While married to Cynthia Scurtis, the Yankees player had an affair with Madonna. A source close to Scurtis told People (opens in new tab) in 2008, “The embarrassment over Madonna was the last straw [for Scurtis]. She flew to Paris to get out of town before everything blew up between them." A-Rod wound up paying Scurtis a divorce settlement of $26 million (opens in new tab).
Jesse James with...many women
In 2010, at least four women came forward to say they had affairs with James while he was still married to Sandra Bullock. In an interview with the Daily Mail (opens in new tab), James admitted to cheating. “Yeah, I did cheat on my wife, yeah, I stood up and took accountability for it and apologized. And that's the end of story," he said.
Livia Firth With a Childhood Friend
In March 2018, Colin Firth's wife Livia Giuggioli came forward saying that she'd had an affair (opens in new tab) with a childhood friend, journalist Marco Brancaccia, while she and her husband were briefly separated. The Firths have now accused Brancaccia of stalking Livia, alleging that he has "carried out a frightening campaign of harassment over several months, much of which is documented," according to The Times (opens in new tab).
James Cameron with Suzy Amis
While filming the movie Titanic, Cameron fell for actress Suzy Amis, who played Lizzy Calvert at the beginning of the movie. The director lived with girlfriend Linda Hamilton at the time, and reportedly began going back and forth between Hamilton and Amis, but ultimately decided to marry Hamilton. The marriage lasted only eight months (opens in new tab) before he went back to Amis.
Prince Charles with Camilla Parker Bowles
Soon after Princess Diana's affair was made public, so was Prince Charles' own daliance with his lifelong friend Camilla Parker Bowles (opens in new tab). An Australian magazine released a transcript of their sexy bedtime phone calls, which memorably featured the two discussing what it would be like if Charles were to be Camilla's tampon (opens in new tab) (really). The scandal contributed to Diana and the Prince of Wales finally getting divorced. He married Bowles in 2005.
Kristen Stewart with Rupert Sanders
Fans were very disappointed when photos surfaced of Stewart and Sanders getting a little too close. She was very famously dating her Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson, and they ended their relationship over the affair.
“I lit my universe on fire and I watched it burn,” she said in an interview. (opens in new tab) “Speaking very candidly, it was a really traumatic period in my early 20s that kick-started something in me that was a bit more feral.”
Hugh Grant with Divine Brown
In 1995, Hugh Grant was caught with a sex worker (opens in new tab) named Divine Brown and arrested for "lewd conduct" in a public place. At the time, he was with his longtime partner, Elizabeth Hurley, who tried to work through the incident. She ended up leaving Grant five years later.
Meg Ryan with Russell Crowe
Ryan had an affair with her Proof of Life co-star Russell Crowe while still married to her husband Dennis Quaid—and people couldn't help but notice the similarities between the movie's plot and her IRL affair (opens in new tab).
Tiger Woods with multiple women
Things were already going downhill in Woods' marriage with Elin Nordegren when—shortly after he crashed their car in 2009—reports of Woods' affairs with multiple women (opens in new tab) came out. Allegedly, he had 13 different partners.
Tori Spelling with Dean McDermott
Both Spelling and McDermott were married when they started their affair. Spelling told Entertainment Tonight that the two had sex the first night they met. (opens in new tab) Their relationship started when they worked together on the TV movie Mind Over Murder.
Brad Pitt with Angelina Jolie
One of Hollywood's most earth-shattering affairs. Jolie fell hard for Pitt while they were working on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith (opens in new tab)—though she claimed nothing happened before Pitt's separation from Jennifer Aniston.
Jude Law with the nanny
During his engagement to Sienna Miller (opens in new tab), Law reportedly cheated with his children's nanny (he has three kids with his ex wife, Sadie Frost). Turns out Miller was also having her own affair with her Layer Cake co-star, Daniel Craig.
Frank Sinatra with Ava Gardner
Sinatra became infatuated with Gardner (opens in new tab) when he first met her, but it took her some time to come around to him. They eventually fell in love while the singer was still married to his wife Nancy Barbato, whom he divorced for Gardner.
Josh Duggar with a woman from Ashley Madison
The former 19 Kids and Counting star actually paid for an "affair guarantee (opens in new tab)" through the cheating website Ashley Madison. He and wife Anna remained together through the incident.
Harrison Ford with younger women
Harrison reportedly was seeing younger women while he was with Melissa Mathison. Before deciding to officially separate, they released a a joint statement (opens in new tab) that said they had been living apart for a while. "We sincerely hope that we can work out our differences." When it didn't work, they separated in 2004 (opens in new tab).
Sarah Ferguson with John Bryan
"Fergie" (as she is often called) took a trip with American financial advisor John Bryan, and he was spotted infamously nibbling on her toes (opens in new tab). She was still married to Prince Andrew, the Queen's second son, at the time. They divorced in 1996, just one month before Princess Diana and Prince Charles did.
Spencer Tracy with Katharine Hepburn
During their infamous 25-year love affair (opens in new tab), Tracy remained married to his wife Louise. The couple co-starred in nine movies together, but always lived separately. Only after Tracy's wife passed away did Hepburn come forward about their relationship.
Donald Trump with Marla Maples
Before he was with Melania, the current POTUS was married twice. His first marriage to Ivana Trump ended after reports of his affair (opens in new tab) with Maples (she became his second wife).
Marilyn Monroe with Arthur Miller
Monroe had an affair with playwright Arthur Miller, who wrote her lustful letters (opens in new tab) during her marriage to Joe DiMaggio. She filed for divorce from DiMaggio in 1954 and he wrote her his own letter, begging her to come back. Monroe eventually married Miller.
Peter Townsend with Princess Margaret
The Royal Air Force Officer (opens in new tab) spent a lot of time behind closed doors with the princess—because he was already married. Townsend went on to leave his wife for Margaret, but being in the spotlight kept them from ever marrying.
John F. Kennedy with Marilyn Monroe
Monroe's sultry "Happy Birthday" to the president spurred rumors of an affair between the two (opens in new tab). Monroe was also rumored to have had relations with JFK's brother, Robert F. Kennedy.
David Letterman with employees of his show
Six months after he married his longtime girlfriend Regina Lasko, Letterman admitted (opens in new tab) (after being threatened with blackmail) that he "had sex with women who worked for [him] on the show."
Humphrey Bogart with Lauren Bacall
One of Hollywood's greatest love stories (opens in new tab), began as a marital affair. Bogart, who was 25 years older than Bacall, fell in love with her while working on their film To Have or Have Not in 1944. His relationship with his alcoholic wife was slowly falling apart, and right after his divorce was finalized, the co-stars were married.
Eddie Fisher with Elizabeth Taylor
In the 1950s, Fisher and Taylor had one of the most scandalous affairs in Hollywood history. He was married to Debbie Reynolds at the time, and divorced her for Taylor.
Elizabeth Taylor with Richard Burton
Taylor's marriage to Eddie Fisher ended the same way it started (opens in new tab)—with an affair. The actress left her husband for her Cleopatra co-star Burton.
Woody Allen with Soon-Yi Previn
Allen began an affair with his longtime girlfriend Mia Farrow's adoptive daughter (opens in new tab) in 1992. The scandal was revealed when Farrow found nude photos of Previn that were taken by Allen. Though he was highly criticized, the director still decided to marry Previn in 1997.
Ingrid Bergman with Roberto Rossellini
Back in the '40s, the Italian director received a letter from Bergman suggesting that their work should be more flirty (opens in new tab). Despite being married to other people, their affair started soon after she was cast in his film Stromboli.
Hulk Hogan with Christiane Plante
The professional wrestler's wife, Linda Claridge, divorced him after finding out about Hogan's relations with Christiane Plante. Claridge walked out of the marriage with $30 million (opens in new tab).
I’m currently working at Dotdash Meredith as the Celeb & Entertainment E-Commerce Lead contributing affiliate content for People.com and InStyle.com. I’m basically like your personal shopper, from writing about that cozy loungewear set you didn’t know you needed to keeping tabs on the best sales and deals on the internet. I’m also a pro at finding affordable dupes for celebrity looks and I love to dig into the data to strategize content opportunities.
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