Politics

Photos: Public figures, private missteps

Updated 2:20 PM ET, Fri December 21, 2012
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CIA Director David Petraeus stepped down Friday, November 9, 2012, citing an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Many questions surround the affair, including why it was necessary for Petraeus to resign and the future of his marriage to his wife, Holly. Here's a look at other U.S. sexual scandals that led to political stumbles and downfalls. Alex Wong/Getty Images
Former actor and California Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made headlines in 2011 when his longtime wife, journalist Maria Shriver of the Kennedy clan, filed for divorce after learning Schwarzenegger had fathered a son with the couple's housekeeper. Schwarzenegger recently began talking publicly about the affair, released an autobiography and made a return to acting. He has said he hopes to win Shriver back. PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images
Former president Bill Clinton's denial of his affair with then-intern Monica Lewinsky jeopardized his seat in the Oval Office. News of the affair surfaced in 1998, and Clinton became the second president to be impeached by the U.S. House when he was brought up on charges of lying to a grand jury and trying to influence the testimony of others but wasn't removed from office. He is still married to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Sen. David Vitter, R-Louisiana, issued an apology "for a very serious sin in my past" after his phone number showed up in the records of Pamela Martin and Associates, and escort service run by Deborah Jeane Palfrew, aka the "D.C. Madam" Vitter is still serving in the Senate and is still married. Alex Wong/Getty Images/File
Former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-New York, caused a stir in Washington in 2011 when he was caught using social media to communicate with at least six women other than his wife, Huma Abedin. Weiner left office in his seventh term in Congress. Shortly after his resignation, news broke the Abedin was pregnant with their first child. Today, the couple is still married, and Weiner is a stay-at-home dad to their son. Weiner rejoined Twitter earlier this month. Spencer Platt/Getty Images/File
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick apologized to his wife and the city after romantic messages, reported by the Detroit Free Press, indicated the Democrat was having an affair with his chief of staff. The chief of staff, Christine Beatty, resigned, but Kilpatrick, said he would not. In testimony last August, both Beatty and Kilpatrick had denied having a romantic relationship. Kilpatrick later resigned. He is serving a prison sentence of up to five years for violating probation in a 2008 case against him. That case involved two state felony counts of obstruction of justice stemming from his efforts to cover up the extramarital affair. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images/File
John Edwards, the former North Carolina senator and Democratic presidential hopeful, saw his political career spin off track when he finally admitted in 2008 that he was unfaithful to his cancer-stricken wife, Elizabeth Edwards. Edwards at first denied the affair but ultimately came clean about fathering a child with his campaign videographer, Rielle Hunter. Prosecutors accused Edwards of illegally using hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to keep his pregnant mistress under wraps, but he was granted a mistrial on May 31, 2012. Elizabeth Edwards died in 2010. Sara D. Davis/Getty Images
Former Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, agreed to step down temporarily as the leading Republican on Senate committees after details came out about his 2007 arrest in an airport in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Picked up during a police sting targeting lewd behavior in the airport's restrooms Craig pleased guilty to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge in August 2007. No sexual contact is alleged to have taken place but the officer who arrested the senator said Craig moved his foot to touch the officer's foot in another stall. Craig, who is married, said he did not make any "inappropriate contact." He called his guilty plea a "poor decision" and denied being gay. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Former Rep. Mark Foley, R-Florida, resigned in September 2006 after he was accused of sending sexually explicit instant messages and e-mails to congressional pages. Florida authorities opened an investigation, as did the FBI. Foley later checked into a treatment facility for alcoholism. Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images
Weeks after separating from his wife, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa acknowledged he had been having an affair with a local television reporter. "It is true that I have a relationship with Ms. Mirthala Salinas," the Democrat said in a statement published in the Los Angeles Daily News. "As I've said I take full responsibility for my actions, and I once again ask that people respect my family's privacy. For my part, I intent to stay focused on my job and to work as hard as I can every day to be the best mayor I can be." Villaraigosa and his wife divorced in 2010. He is still mayor. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages
Days before the House voted to impeach President Clinton, Rep. Bob Livingston, R-Louisiana, admitted to cheating on his wife. On the day of the impeachment vote, Livingston, a Republican who was to succeed Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the House, announced he would resign from Congress in six months. He urged Clinton to do the same. "I must set the example that I hope President Clinton will follow," he said. PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images
When then-South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford went MIA for nearly a week in June of 2009, his staff told the public he was out hiking the Appalachian Trail. But when the Republican was spotted at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, he decided to come clean about the mysterious hiking trip and quite a bit more. Sanford admitted he was not hiking, but visiting his Argentinian mistress in Buenos Aires. Though his wife, Jenny, said she was open to reconciliation, Sanford was head-over-heels for paramour Maria Belen Chapur. The Sanfords divorced. He became engaged to Belen Chapur in August. Davis Turner/Getty Images
Eliot Spitzer earned a squeaky clean image as the attorney general of New York who took on Wall Street corruption from 1999 to 2006. From there, he moved to the governor's mansion in Albany in 2007. But the Democrat was stopped in his political tracks when his liaisons with high-paid prostitute Ashley Dupre surfaced, and he stepped down as governor in March 2008. He briefly went on to anchor and now hosts "Viewpoint'" on Current TV. He is still married to Silda Wall Spitzer. TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images/File
In 2009, then Sen. John Ensign, R-Nevada, admitted having an affair with Cindy Hampton, a campaign aide and the wife of his former chief of staff, Doug Hampton. Investigators examined the former senator's efforts to assist the Hampton family by providing a payment of nearly $100,000, arranging lobbying work for Doug Hampton and possibly meeting with him on a lobbying matter in violation of Senate rules. Hampton was sentenced to a year of probation for violating lobbying laws. Ensign never faced charges. Alex Wong/Getty Images