For better or for worse, the personal lives of celebrities are often over-examined, and fans love to have opinions on their exploits, their decisions, and especially their infidelities.
Celebrities have as much, if not more capacity for making mistakes as anybody else. However, their high-profile status can inadvertently make them the upholders of a social standard that they didn't sign up for. Inevitably, when someone famous does something scandalous, the rest of the country talks about it ad nauseam.
In many cases, people will gravitate towards salacious stories, even if they're about a celebrity they didn't care about before. People are instinctively inclined to follow the drama. In no time, most people will form an opinion on a scenario that they just heard about.
Still, at a certain point of publicity mania, the facts begin to matter less than the perception, especially when it comes to an emotionally charged cheating scandal. The entire country often takes sides as if they're friends of the couple, and even people who don't follow celebrity gossip will pick up information and inevitably come to their own conclusion.
For better or worse, these scandals help society frame its own moral compass by envisioning it played out by others. Whether they are comedies or tragedies, cautionary tales or heroic journeys, these are the biggest celebrity cheating scandals of our times.
Tiger Woods cut the silhouette of a dedicated, happy man in his rise to fame as a professional golfer. That made it all the more shocking when it was revealed that he had cheated on his wife, Elin Nordegren, with dozens of women over the years. The couple finally broke up in 2010.
As the host of The Late Show, David Letterman was in American homes across the country ever week, entertaining and being likable. However, in 2009, news finally broke that Letterman had sex with a number of women that worked for him at CBS, including his assistant, Stephanie Birkitt.
The revelation was like an early tremor of the Me Too movement, and Letterman was criticized heavily for having an affair with someone who worked for him.
"I have no one to blame but myself," Letterman later told Oprah in an interview in January of 2013. "I'm still trying to fix [my marriage.] It hasn't gone away."
In 2008, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards admitted on ABC News that he had cheated on his wife, Elizabeth, as she battled breast cancer. Edwards had an affair with his campaign videographer, Rielle Hunter. Later that year, Hunter gave birth to their daughter.
Elizabeth Edwards died of breast cancer in December of 2010. Shortly after, he was indicted on six felony charges for violating federal campaign contribution laws in order to cover up the affair. He no longer works in politics.
Despite his high-profile romance with actress Elizabeth Hurley, Hugh Grant was arrested in Hollywood for soliciting a prostitute in 1995. Both he and Divine Brown were taken into custody, and Grant pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor lewd conduct charge. He served two years of probation.
Grant and Hurley had been dating for nearly eight years at the time of the arrest, however, they made it five more in spite of the bad press. They finally broke it off in 2000.
Sienna Miller left actor Jude Law when she discovered that he was sleeping with their childrens' nanny, Daisy Wright, in February of 2006.
"That was a very pivotal time in my life, and I'm happy saying that," Miller told Vogue in July 2009. "It's a private moment when you get your heart broken for the first time."
Bill Clinton nearly ended his presidency when he tried to cover up his extra-marital affair with 22-year-old White House intern Monica Lewinsky. She came forward with stories of nine different sexual encounters with Clinton, from November of 1995 to March of 1997. The affair was a cultural milestone in America, and was continually joked about in 2016 when Hillary Clinton ran against Donald Trump.
Both LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian were cheating on their respective spouses when they began sleeping together in 2008, while filming Northern Lights. Rimes later divorced her husband, Dean Sheremet, while Cibrian ended his marriage to Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Brandi Glanville.
Rimes and Cibrian got married in April of 2011, putting a somewhat happy ending on the whole story.
After 12 years of marriage, Christie Brinkley's husband Peter Cook confessed to having an affair with his assistant, Diana Bianchi, who was 19 years old at the time. The couple's divorce was bitter, and it dominated the headlines for much of 2008.
"I just want peace. And every time I have any joy or any kind of success in anything, he has to try to destroy it," Brinkley said in an interview on the TODAY Show in March of 2012.
"[She] does not want peace, she wants attention," Cook fired back in an interview with Page Six.
Shania Twain's divorce from music producer Robert "Mutt" Lange formed the basis of much of her later music. After 14 years of marriage, she found out that her husband had fallen in love with her best friend, Marie-Anne Thiebaud, behind her back. Twain and Lange divorced in June of 2010.
"It was like I was kicked off my own bus while it was moving full speed," Twain told Redbook Magazine in April of 2011. However, she herself later married Thiebaud's ex-husband, Frederic Thiebaud.
Congressman Anthony Weiner was forced to resign in June of 2011, when it was discovered that he was sending sexual pictures and messages to a woman from Seattle, Washington.
It didn't end there, however. In July of 2013, more pictures of Weiner began to surface as he ran his Mayoral campaign in New York City. Weiner had used the psuedonym "Carlos Danger" through all of his Internet exploits.
Miraculously, Weiner remains married to his wife, Huma Abedin, to this day.
Katharine McPhee and her director from Smash, Michel Morris, shocked the world when they were seen kissing in October of 2013 while they were each married to other people. Later, it was revealed that McPhee was actually separated from her husband, Nick Cokas, for six months beforehand. The two had opted not to make the news public yet.
However, Morris had been going strong with his wife, actress Mary McCormack, for 10 years.
In May of 2011, it was shockingly revealed that Arnold Schwarzenegger had a teenage son from an extra-marital affair with his housekeeper, Mildred Baena. At the time, Schwarzenegger had been married to Maria Shriver.
"I think it was the stupidest thing I've done in the whole relationship," Schwarzenegger said in a 2012 interview on 60 Minutes.