Why celebrities lie and what happens when they get caught

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all these women were available and eager to be with him. Some made overt passes at him. Also, many celebrities travel extensively, leaving their mates behind. On the go, they may feel lonely and are easily swayed by the ready access to willing partners. Or their left-at-home partner may be similarly tempted.


That’s what happened in Sandra Bullock’s case. Jesse James was left at home while she was off promoting the Blind Side or making films. The opportunity was there when temptation presented itself. Much the same happened for John Edwards. He was an attractive politician who was traveling extensively, and he had many women drawn to him, including Rielle Hunter, a videographer filming on his campaign.


This ease of cheating for the wealthy has occurred throughout history. Powerful people have always had more opportunities to cheat– just think of all the ladies at court that kings and nobles had access too. And these powerful men often feel they can do whatever they want. They also have many ways of hiding their affairs, such as access to private rooms in a large house or to hotel rooms when traveling. Their employees may even help protect them, or turn on them. For example, Andrew Young sought to protect John Edwards by claiming he was the father of Rielle Hunter's child. Then, Young turned against Edwards and wrote an expose.


In turn, the victims of such cheating, usually the women, may play along with the lie or enable the liar by looking the other way to avoid facing what they suspect. Many victims really don’t want to know – or want to admit that they know — until the lie becomes is too obvious to conceal.  Tiger’s wife Elin confronted him when an article about his affairs was about to appear in a national tabloid. Apparently he confessed to her just before the story hit the newsstands.


Before such public exposure, the spouse or significant other may suspect or even know about the affair; they just don’t want to have a confrontation about the lie as this may uproot their lives. They may not want to show they know or reveal their hurt and anger, because they have a lot to lose. They’re married to a very successful person, and they could lose that life along with its many perks.


Hilary Clinton stood by President Clinton when his dalliance with Monica Lewinsky was revealed, and Hilary became stronger as a result. She won the sympathy of the American public, which later helped her when she launched her own political career as a New York Senator. Clinton also went on an extensive apology tour and was able to overcome his shame and loss of popularity. Some may say he even came back stronger than ever – in part because Hilary stood by him.


Thus, some high-profile people can overcome a scandal when they are caught lying, often if their wronged partner stands by them or if they go through a period of contrition and rehabilitation of themselves and their image. .


These affairs keep making the American news due to this culture's s long-standing contradictions in our morality and attitudes toward lying. In other countries it is more acceptable for a public figure to have a private affair. This is often not a major issue in the relationship, as long as they’re discreet about it.


By contrast, American society has a very puritanical streak. When a public figure gets caught cheating, this is followed by the victim’s anger, an upheaval in their life, and penance.  This pattern occurs because it’s hard for people with lots of temptations to stay loyal and to conceal their affairs. Then, often the media – or someone reporting them to the media – catches them. Gary Hart is another example of this pattern. He threw a challenge in the media’s face, and reporters started following him and found examples of him having an affair with another woman – Donna Hart.


Thus, this pattern of lying and sometimes getting caught happens repeatedly for celebrities. Many do find forgiveness, if not from their partners then from the public. The people who appear to be the least able to get over the scandal are the hypocrites who get caught lying, like the religious figures who are outspoken about monogamy. These men are shown to be hypocrites, not just somebody who is caught playing around. This same harsh judgment faces the conservative politician who gets outed for participating in behavior he has decried publicly or supported legislation against.


The Republican Senator Larry Craig got outed approaching a man in a Minnesota airport terminal. Another example is the former governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, who rose to power partially due to his reputation as a prosecutor of several prostitution rings when he was attorney general. Then he was discovered as a repeat client for a house of prostitution, the Emperor Club, when the FBI began investigating suspicious bank transactions.


In these instances, it's much harder for the exposed liar to regain public forgiveness than for somebody like Tiger Woods, who hasn’t taken a public position on the morality of having an affair.


In short, many celebrities may lie and cheat to maintain secret relationships because they have many more opportunities and may think they have the power to get away with it. If exposed, they will typically seek forgiveness not only from their victimized partner, but from the public, while going through a period of upheaval and crisis in their own life. While some may gain forgiveness from the general public, especially if their own partner takes them back, others may not.


Gini Graham Scott, PhD, is the author of over 50 books, specializing in work relationships, professional and personal development, popular culture, and social trends. She has written a book about lying called PLAYING THE LYING GAME: DETECTING AND DEALING WITH LIES AND LIARS, FROM OCCASIONAL FIBBERS TO FREQUENT FABRICATORS. She is the host/producer of the radio show CHANGEMAKERS and a script writer/film producer, with several projects in development and post-production. She writes books and scripts for others, too. Her Websites are at www.ginigrahamscott.com and www.changemakersproductions.com.

by Gini Graham Scott, Ph.D.

Today, we have read a lot about celebrities lying and cheating on their partners and getting caught, as in the case with Jesse James, Tiger Woods, and John Edwards. Sometimes the hurt is so deep it leads to divorce. So why do these celebrities lie and cheat, especially when they are living public lives, which ups the potential for getting caught?

One reason is because celebrities have access to wealth and a lot of beautiful people. They may also think they can insulate themselves from getting caught, because of their wealth or the protective barrier of their entourage.

For example, Tiger Woods talked about how when he was on tour playing golf,

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