Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on
 

In political extramarital affairs, the mistress rarely emerges unscathed

By Leigh Ann Caldwell, CNN
updated 8:01 AM EDT, Thu April 10, 2014
Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell arrives at his corruption trial in Richmond, Virginia, on Thursday, September 4. A jury convicted McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, on charges related to influence peddling, concluding a sometimes dramatic trial and derailing the political ambitions of the one-time rising star in the Republican Party. Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell arrives at his corruption trial in Richmond, Virginia, on Thursday, September 4. A jury convicted McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, on charges related to influence peddling, concluding a sometimes dramatic trial and derailing the political ambitions of the one-time rising star in the Republican Party.
HIDE CAPTION
Politicians behaving badly
Politicians behaving badly
Politicians behaving badly
Politicians behaving badly
Politicians behaving badly
Politicians behaving badly
Politicians behaving badly
Politicians behaving badly
Politicians behaving badly
Politicians behaving badly
Politicians behaving badly
Politicians behaving badly
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • In infidelity scandals, the woman's life often doesn't turn out as well as the politician's
  • Vance McAllister's mistress is no longer working for the congressman
  • McAllister says he plans to remain in public life after scandal emerged

Washington (CNN) -- Rep. Vance McAllister, R-Louisiana, now known as the "Kissing Congressman" after the married father of five was caught on surveillance tape making out with a staffer who is also married, says his affair, despite his Christian conservative political platform, will not sideline his new political career.

He said he will run for reelection unless "an outcry" of opposition persuades him not to.

The fate of cheating politicians is a mixed bag. Some survive and some don't. Bill Clinton survived. Anthony Weiner and numerous other members of Congress did not, forced to resign or not seek reelection.

But this story isn't about them. It's about the women who are the other half of politicians' extramarital affairs. And in many instances, when high-profile politicians cheat, their mistresses have a harder time recovering.

Husband: Congressman 'wrecked my life'
Congressman caught kissing staffer
Mark Sanford wins a second chance
Petraeus out over extramarital affair

Here's a look at where some of them are now:

Melissa Hixon Peacock: The latest "other woman" in a political affair is the staffer caught kissing McAllister. While McAllister maintains he will finish out his term, Peacock no longer has her job as his district scheduler. Her husband, Heath Peacock, told CNN that McAllister "wrecked his life" and marriage.

Monica Lewinsky: She might be the most famous political mistress. Since her affair with Clinton, Lewinsky is attempting to live a normal life, her former publicist told CNN recently. Years later, Lewinsky is still "trying" to live a normal life. After a brief stint in the spotlight after Clinton's impeachment, the former White House intern has lived in relative obscurity.

Rielle Hunter: One-time vice presidential nominee John Edwards has moved on since his 2008 affair with Hunter broke up his marriage, sunk his presidential campaign and bore a child. He recently started practicing law again. Hunter, on the other hand, has not had the same good fortune. She recently released an updated version of the book about the affair in which she apologizes for her behavior -- that included writing a book that "hurt more people."

Cynthia Hampton: She was involved with former Nevada Sen. John Ensign. Both Cynthia and her husband, Doug, worked for Ensign. After he fired them in 2008, while the affair was going on, he paid them nearly $100,000 and found lobbying work for Doug Hampton.

Ensign resigned from his Senate post three weeks before an ethics report was to be released and has gone back to his life as a veterinarian in Las Vegas, where he said he has been "humbled."

"I used to own this practice, now I'm working for somebody. That's sometimes a very healthy thing to happen in life," Ensign told CNN's Dana Bash last year.

As for Hampton, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported in 2011 that she filed for bankruptcy, left Las Vegas and moved to California to work for a Christian organization.

But not all affairs end badly for the woman involved:

Maria Belen Chapur: She is the Argentinian woman with whom former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford was with when he disappeared for four days in 2011.

Sanford and his wife split but his political career recovered. He won election to his former House seat in 2012. And his mistress is no longer his mistress but his fiance. She spends some time in Argentina still and is a columnist for a news website in Argentina. Her last entry was from December.

The ups and downs of a political sex scandal

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT