Everyone loves a good old fashioned scandal. Add in a little bit of s*x just to spice things up, and it’s ratings heaven for journalists, and can also help boost the public profiles of the people involved. Sometimes those involved are submitted to public shame, while others use their new notoriety to slingshot themselves into the spotlight and gain fame and fortune.
For better or worse, the public loves watching people embarrass themselves in increasingly awkward s*xual ways. We learned that from the American Pie movies, but it’s also true of these notorious s*x scandals.
20John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe
Perhaps the most famous s*x scandal in modern history, this one combined the world of celebrity with the world of politics, in large part because the person at the center was not only the most powerful man in the world but also something of a celebrity himself.
19Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky
It’s not much of a secret that Bill Clinton’s boyhood hero was John F. Kennedy, so like his idol he took it upon himself to get embroiled in a massive s*x scandal when he found his way to the Oval Office, in an affair that would cast a harsh light on his presidency.
Fatty Arbuckle was a famous comedian in the early 20th century who was famous partly for being obscenely fat, and he supposedly crushed a woman to death while having s*x, leading to three very public trials that utterly destroyed both the man and his career.
Long before he was the host of a horrendous daytime talk show that thrust the worst trash in America at unsuspecting audiences, Jerry Springer was the major of Cincinnati until, amazingly, he paid for s*x with a check that actually bounced when the hooker tried to cash it.
16Amy Fisher and Joey Buttafuoco
Amy Fisher became known as the “Long Island Lolita” after having an affair with the much older Buttafuoco and then going to his house and shooting his wife (who survived the attack), and infamy has followed them both ever since.
The unfortunately named politician gained notoriety when it was discovered that he had been sending inappropriate photos of himself online, and even after he had managed to survive the initial blowback he did it again, this time under the hilarious moniker “Carlos Danger.”
Pee-Wee Herman was a god to a lot of kids in the 1980s, though we can’t imagine parents were fans of the antics that got him arrested when he decided to whip out his own “pee-wee” at an adult cinema in Florida.
One of the creepiest Hollywood s*x scandals comes from famously neurotic writer, actor, and director Woody Allen, who it was discovered had been sleeping with his own adopted daughter, and later even married and had children with her.
12Sandra Bullock and Jesse James
Jesse James was, for some reason, a famous person once and was married to America’s Sweetheart, Sandra Bullock – at least, until it came out that he had been nailing a heavily tattooed, possible Nazi-sympathizer named Michelle McGee on the side.
Back when he was just starting to hit it big in America, professional fop Hugh Grant was busted for hiring a prostitute in Los Angeles despite being attached to absurdly hot model Elizabeth Hurley, though the actor has since rebounded from this scandal pretty nicely.
S*x tapes are always going to be pretty scandalous, though we’re sorry to say that arguably the most famous s*x tape in history has the dubious distinction of being the primary reason we know the name “Kim Kardashian.”
Mark Sanford was the governor of South Carolina and the head of the Republican Governors Association – right up until the time it was revealed he had disappeared without explanation to head down to Argentina to carry on an illicit affair, which led to his resignation.
This is another of those rare s*x scandals that straddles the line between politics and celebrity, as it was revealed that when the action movie icon was serving as governor of California, he’d been carrying on an affair with a housekeeper – leading to his divorce from Maria Shriver, who ironically is a member of the Kennedy family and thus no stranger to s*x scandals.
Perhaps the most famous golfer of all-time, and arguably the greatest ever as well, Tiger Woods saw his image – and game – utterly destroyed when it was revealed that he had been cheating with dozens of women despite being married to a bikini model.
A four-star general and former possible presidential hopeful, David Petraeus was also the director of the CIA yet somehow couldn’t keep his long-running affair a secret, instead of resigning in shame when some incriminating e-mails leaked.
The former governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, saw his political career come to a crashing end when it became public that he had allegedly spent upwards of $80,000 on prostitutes, with some of that money actually coming from campaign funds.
The screen legend and one-time Robin Hood, Errol Flynn became embroiled in a massive s*x scandal in which he was accused of two under-aged girls of statutory rape, though the cases were ultimately dismissed and amazingly saw his popularity increased after the fact.
And speaking of statutory rape, we come to famed director Roman Polanski, who was arrested for s*xually assaulting a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles, and fled to Europe to avoid criminal prosecution, and at this point there are no plans to prosecute since it’s been so long (this occurred in 1977) that even the victim has said she’s gotten over it.
The late King of Pop had an absurdly horrific childhood, being abused and forced into showbiz, so it never came as much of a surprise that he would be a little messed up as an adult, finding himself at the center of numerous accusations of molesting young boys at his Neverland Ranch compound.
This one has still not been verified, but embarrassing accusations surfaced not so long ago that suggested John Travolta had solicited s*x from male masseuses, and in fact, his former Grease co-star Jeff Conaway claimed that Travolta once attempted to grope him as well.