Why The World Forgives Rich And Famous People For Cheating

Have you ever wondered why the world forgives rich and famous people for cheating? Believe it or not, it happens all the time. Here's one example that I wrote about back in 2009.

As soon as I got into work one morning, my female colleague blurted out, “OH MY GAWD! GUESS WHAT?! “

“What? Hrmmm,” I replied as I was still groggy eyed after last night's client dinner.

“I was on the same plane as Gavin Newsom (Mayor of San Francisco) and he sat in economy with me! He is SOO cute and yummy! So tall and handsome, he's going to do great things for California and our country!” she gushed.

The funny thing is, she was complaining just earlier this year how bad the “Care Not Cash” legislation turned out. And how he was contributing to the big overspend problem we have here in California (we're broke).

I can still clearly remember how mad she and her friends were when the story broke that Gavin cheated on his wife with his campaign manager's wife! YOWZA! Gavin was the next Bill Clinton!

Phrases such as: “Men are pigs!” “Men only think with their smaller head!” “You guys disgust me so no, you can't have some of my salad!”, were bantered around the office for weeks. My friend was a hater for life! Even the guys on our floor, who usually joke about stuff like this were shocked at the news.

So what really happened between now and then, to make my colleague fall head over heels in love with Gavin Newsom? Furthermore, how is it that after violating a key “MAN CODE” (don't sleep with your friends girlfriend/wife) does he get re-elected soundly, and has a popularity rating higher than ever? The world forgives rich and famous people for cheating.


1) Presence. Admittedly, Gavin is pretty damn good looking, speaks eloquently, and has a lot of confidence.

2) Fame. Gavin is famous, and I'm pretty sure he will become the Governor of California one day and perhaps more. (Update – he was elected lieutenant governor of California in 2010, re-elected in 2014, and elected Governor in 2019)

3) Money. Gavin is a multi-millionaire, thanks to his own initiatives, and his friendship with the billionaire Getty family.

4) Care. It's pretty evident Gavin cares for the people of San Francisco and wants to help the poor. His “Care Not Cash” may not be the most efficient use of resources, but his intentions are good.

5) Memory. People have short memories. Even the most heinous of acts seem to lose it's intensity after time. I mean, when our pet rabbit peed on the Persian carpet I was pissed! But, I forgave him and still fed him hay and treats. Pet the bunny.

GavinNewsom+007CONCLUSION – Gavin

So there you have it folks. If you screw up in life, don't worry because you aren't alone! All you have to do is be handsome or pretty, speak eloquently, own a lot of small businesses that bring in millions, have powerful friends, and be famous! People forgive rich and famous people for cheating all the time.

Seriously though, what matters most is being repentive and showing those you've hurt you're doing everything you can to correct your wrong doings.

Gavin went to alcohol abuse class and apologized to everyone profusely. He then committed himself further to the public and fought for equal rights by campaigning against Proposition 8. It certainly helps to have money and power, but the most important thing is having genuinely good intentions. With the right intentions and with enough time, all will be forgiven!

Further Reading

Readers, why do you think rich and powerful people tend to stray so often?  Or, is it because they are under so much media scrutiny, it just seems like they do?

Do you think those who are in power or are famous should be held to a different standard?  Is it fair that they seem to get away with everything?

Why doesn't the media highlight women who cheat? Is there no such thing? After all, doesn't it take a woman for a man to cheat, generally?

If you were rich and famous, don't you think temptations would be greater given the greater opportunities?

Related: The Wide Implications Of The College Bribery Scandal

Update 2021: Gavin is now the Governor of California! He has been supported by very wealthy and powerful friends all this time.


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34 thoughts on “Why The World Forgives Rich And Famous People For Cheating”

  1. @admin
    Heh, it is quite possible that the temptation would be great for me to stray, although I still hope I’d be able to stay true to Sondra. And actually, we’ve been engaged for more than a year now, although I didn’t formally propose. She said, ‘you know, it takes a lot of preparation to plan a marriage’ and I said ‘yes, yes it does.’ She gave me a pointed look, and at that point, we were engaged. (I bought an engagement ring, which she helped picked out, shortly after wards.)
    .-= Roger´s last blog ..Book Review: Rich Dad, Poor Dad =-.

  2. Wow, a lot of questions, and so many of them are good. Alright, let’s go: I think that the rich, famous, and powerful do have more opportunities to stray than say, the average good-looking guy, and those that chose to exercise that option thus will tend to stray much more often. Add in the echo chamber of modern media, and it seems like almost every guy with a little bit of fame and fortune is going through groupies like they’re going out of style, whether he’s married or not. The difference being, the single guys are treated like heroes, while the married ones are pariahs (at least, when the womenfolk are around).

    I don’t think that the rich and famous should be held to a different standard. (Unless their fame or wealth is directly tied to claiming a higher standard for themselves (for example, famous preachers), in which case, castigate them like the hypocrites they are.) They tend to ‘get away with it’ because well, fortune and fame can buy your way out of a lot of trouble (in a marriage or otherwise).

    I do think that famous women cheat, although probably less than famous men. I think part of the reason you don’t hear more about it is that few men (particularly famous men who tend to marry such famous women) want to be known as ‘that guy who got cuckolded by [famous woman]’. Add in the fact that serial marriages and relationships is practically the norm for famous women (and men, for that matter), and there’s probably plenty of opportunities to cure that wanderlust within a ‘sanctioned’ relationship. As mentioned by several others already, it doesn’t take a famous woman (or for that matter, even a women who is cheating) for a famous man to cheat; most of the affairs coming to light lately involve hugely famous men cheating with women who only have ‘participant in famous affair’ to list on their resume of fame.

    If I were rich and famous? *Drifts off into a fantasy of fame and fortune* I think the temptations would probably be greater; I, like many men, assume that being rich and famous is akin to living at the Playboy mansion: constantly surrounded by young, nubile women who desire me for reasons that have nothing to do with my popularity or vast wealth, I’m sure. Would I act on them? I certainly hope not (or at least, not in the seemingly obvious and sure to be caught ways most of these celebrities do so).

    Honestly, I have no idea what Elin should do. From the other commentators, I’m assuming that’s the name of Newsome’s wife, in which case, I just have to say that she’ll look less like she’s only in the relationship for the money if she splits now, rather than waiting until she can collect even more money in a few years.

    Now, onto the institution of marriage itself, since it came up in the comments. I think we’re coming to a point as a society where technological advances and social welfare make marriage seem less necessary. In the past, a major reason for men to be married is to ensure (as much as possible) that the children his wife(ves) bear were his, and that he wasn’t raising strangers’ kids; now, a quick DNA is all it takes to confirm paternity. For women, marriage provided a source of support, particularly in male-dominated societies where unwed women had almost no means to earn a living; with modern welfare systems and broader social networks, single mothers can do alright.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not quite as cynical about the future of marriage as say, Monevator there, and I do believe that as long as we humans are jealous creatures, the tendency to pair off is going to win out over our desire to sleep with half the neighborhood (and a number of celebs, as well ;) ). But the future seems to hold more divorce, fewer marrying couples, and what could be called a ‘break down of the nuclear family’, and for better or worse, I doubt we can go back.
    .-= Roger´s last blog ..The Amateur Financier Millionaire To-Do List =-.

    1. Rog – Dang, I want you to continue to DISAGREE with me! lol. I think if you were famous with a huge fortune, the temptation would be so great, you may have to kiss Sonja good-bye.

      Speaking of which, when you going to propose? Hold that though, a new article is coming out in January on this topic!

  3. If I were Elin, I’d wait the 2 years and more than double my ‘severance payment’. After all, what could possibly get worse for her?

  4. I don’t believe the rich and famous are so different than the not so rich and famous, but because they are in the media continuously, it looks like that. Also, it seems like it is more accepted for them to stray. Imagine some regular woman would have the opportunity to sleep with George Clooney… do you think she would decline because she is married and has children? In my opinion, monogamy in a sense is an invention of society, and nothing more.

    Best regards, Aleks.

  5. @admin

    Love and romance is fine and abundant at the start, but as the Western world understands those words these days it doesn’t last, particularly romance.

    What could be less romantic then waking up in a bed with the same sweatier, hairier version of the person you just went to bed with, day in day out?

    It’s no surprise it goes. In fact, I’d suggest chasing that – and expecting it – is why people have affairs, rather than a reason to get married.

    If you want to say support and companionship, or talk about some other kind of love, more akin to love in families, then I think that’s possible and it was certainly possible in previous eras when people were more realistic, albeit it suffering from bad sewage and poor dentistry.

    But really, marriage was a contract built to solve a variety of social issues that have either gone away or can’t be solved by a meaningless bit of paper that pretty much only has downsides nowadays, unless you need it for religious reasons, especially if you’re the main breadwinner in the couple.

  6. Elin may as well stay with him. He’s allegedly been working his way through half the bar staff of America and she’s only just found out — evidently she didn’t want to lose him before.

    I think women with rich and wildly successful husbands might as well accept that women, for whatever reason, will throw themselves at them all day long, and sometimes they’re going to stray.

    If we could get over this as a society we might be able to create some sort of half-way house where marriage/family is the stable bedrock, but people accept a bit of away play on the side. Maybe like the famous French aristocracy.

    Before anyone screams foul, look at what we’ve currently got. 70% divorce rates among younger couples, loads of people avoiding marriage in the first place, ever falling happiness ratings etc. It’s not like I’m suggesting we dig up a rose bed here.

  7. Tina Fortune

    The rich and powerful people tend to stray so often because so many in society are drawn to the persona of who they are not truly knowing who they are. We see the most powerful parts of them. Just think about it. When the media portrays someone rich and powerful, we see all of their strengths in the commercials, clips, etc. So the women (generally women) go after these men because they are attracted to the star qualities.

    Of course they should not get away with everything yet who are we to judge? What in fact do they get away with? I’m sure that Bill Clinton went many a night without Hillary being a “friend” to him. Also, what is it that they get away with that men/women in society that cheat don’t get away with. There are some that get their time behind bars, are sued and lose their endorsements. Let’s not forgot what generally gets them to the rich and powerful status…their hard work and determination.

    Women…we don’t cheat! LOL! Women cover up cheating far better than men do. That’s it.

    If you were rich and famous, don’t you think temptations would be greater given the greater opportunities?

    Yes! Let’s face it, there is a rush with fame and fortune and unfortunately some of these men are approached by women that they have only dreamed about. Relationships are already hard work and when you mix in the ability to do it at every opportunity…just makes being a faithful individual that much more difficult.

    I want to believe that Elin loves Tiger and that she would stay in it because of her Love and the children. Look, even with money being a single mom is still complicated. Money does not replace everything.

  8. This post ends with some great questions, but in my opinion the most important one is the media scrutiny. The media only shows us (the public) what they think the we want to see; the most sensationalized news to get people talking and gossiping. So, yes I think that it appears that celebrities cheat more often only because the media doesn’t showcase every man and woman who cheats on their spouse.

    And as for the media selectively choosing to publicize male cheating spouses as to women, this may have something to do with the tabloids readership. I’m guessing they have more women reading their stories than men, so they selectively write stories they feel the women will be more interested in.

    You gotta love the ubiquitous media (I mean this sarcastically!)
    .-= Little House´s last blog ..Who Wouldn’t Want to Live in a Treehouse? =-.

  9. Minority Fortune

    To be honest, money & influence talks. Politicians have these two as their ultimate mantra. Sometimes, it does go wrong like it did for Eliot Spitzer, Kwame Kilpatrick, and those NJ politicians who were busted. Then you have other scumbags like Timothy Geithner, Robert Benmosche (AIG CEO), and others who like Gavin Newsom are moving right along in life as if nothing has ever happened.

    However, a lot of politicians are personable and can work people over. So, once caught with their hands in the cookie jar, they know how to slick talk their way out of it. Once everyone’s turned their back on them again, they begin sticking their hand in the cookie jar again. *sigh

    I’ll admit that this post had me laughing though. Funny stuff!
    .-= Minority Fortune´s last blog ..Goldman Sachs Employees With a License to Steal and Kill? =-.

  10. Tough to say whether this happens more often among celebrities/rich and powerful people than among the rest of us — I actually think it does, and it’s disappointing. I once heard Oteil Burbridge (amazing bass player) say, with reference to another bass player who died from a drug overdose, that for every ten men who can handle failure, only one man can handle success. Different context, true, but a relevant point here — and one that sadly seems to hold true.
    .-= Thirtysomething Finance´s last blog ..Holiday Music Recommendation: Aimee Mann’s “One More Drifter in the Snow” =-.

  11. Valentina :

    Tiger (now better known as Cheetah) … he is rich and famous because of golf ($9M p.a.) and the endorsements $100M p.a. or thereabouts).

    @Valentina Hahaha, good one! Love your comment on this topic. You are a wise one!

    It really seems to me you can cheat on whomever you want, all will be forgiven. However, if you STEAL from others, then you are DOOMED as you go to jail and get fined. Cheating? A slap on the risk, and perhaps giving up half your wealth, which is the way it should be anyway!

    I think you’re right, the Europeans have it better!

    Thanks for sharing.
    .-= admin´s last blog ..Use The Sandwich Method To Provide Constructive Criticism =-.

  12. I dunno …

    Seems to me that society has become overly fixated on things that have no bearing on what the person is rich and famous for and takes delight in being the armchair quarterback/psychologist/expert/talking head on any given subject, that in all honesty we know little to nothing about.

    Tiger (now better known as Cheetah) … he is rich and famous because of golf ($9M p.a.) and the endorsements $100M p.a. or thereabouts). True, his brand is that of a squeaky clean, family type of man, with his wife always attending the golf tournaments etc. So his brand his tarnished big time. Will the endorsements be pulled back? I haven’t heard of Nike pulling their sponsorship.

    Bill Clinton and his proclivity for hmmm… other women, did not have anything to do with how he ran the country. Compared to JFK (and all the Kennedy brothers its seems), he was a mere amateur. What is interesting is that the press knew of JKF’s extracurricular activities but did not it newsworthy to go blabbing all over the world, or thought that hey, it had nothing to do with how he performed on the job he was elected to do.

    Yes. I think the rich and famous may be more prone to cheating on their spouses … financially they can afford to. It costs money to “cheat” … here is Tiger paying for flights and whatever else for a secret rendezvous halfway around the world.

    Now the Europeans think we are all terribly anal when it comes to marital infidelities … especially the continental Europeans. Nicolas Sarkozy is married to wife No. 3. One of the other French presidents juggled his very public mistress and wife with amazing aplomb … the whole country knew of both and both attended his funeral. I can bet you dollars to donuts that when Bill (while still in the white house), got a lot of support from his European colleagues/peers.

    Re who cheats with whom… married men cheating with married women would be “deemed” safer for each, as neither really wants to rock the marriage that they are currently in, whileas married men cheating with single women open themselves up for blackmail … the richer, the more susceptible to black mail, so they have to be really careful not to piss off their girlfriends.

    Hmmmm….. this armchair psychologist/talking head is now leaving the building………….valentina
    .-= Valentina´s last blog ..The Power of a Mastermind Group =-.

  13. It is nothing strange man,human are real animals,they can change their mind once there is any benefit.

  14. @Charlie Haha, that’s a good lyric and song! Funny how it doesn’t really work the other way around, cuz you see some not so attractive dudes, dating the hottest women!

    I’m sure there will be tons of women who want to get with Christina’s ex after they divorce, and he gets HALF! :)

    Charlie :

    There’s a funny song that goes “if you make an ugly woman your wife, you’ll be happy for the rest of your life” and in the celeb world that’s probably true! (but more so for a woman to marry an ugly guy) I highly doubt you’ll ever hear a story of Christina Aguilera’s husband cheating on her. First of all she’s way better looking than him and secondly, I doubt there are many women out there that’d want to get with him!

    .-= admin´s last blog ..Tuition Hike For The Poor Is Like A Tax Hike For The Rich =-.

  15. @Don@MoneyReasons That’s true. If a very attractive person is all over you, it’s hard to resist, yet one still should if he or she is married!

    I guess in the end, Gavin divorced his wife, and the woman divorced her campaign manager husband. They’ve found new love, and all is good again. Which is frankly my point. You can do all the bad stuff in the world and famous for it too, but the public and those around you always forgive if you can show repent and move forward.

    Best, Sam
    .-= admin´s last blog ..Tuition Hike For The Poor Is Like A Tax Hike For The Rich =-.

  16. Don@MoneyReasons

    Say, I know Gavin is oogling this woman (maybe girl is more appropriate)… But, I’m willing to bet she’s flirting big time too? Often time, for guys it’s hard not to notice a pretty girl that is flirting with us.

    As for cheating with his campaign manager’s wife… shame on him, but shame on her too. I’m sure Gavin didn’t intentionally pursue his campaign manager’s wife, I’m sure she was doing some serious flirting to get to that stage of their relationship.
    .-= Don@MoneyReasons´s last blog ..The Value of Infomercials, Caveat Emptor =-.

  17. people like gossip and the trashier the better. Maybe celebs are more “forgiven” because their mistakes make them seem more human. There’s scandal everywhere among all types of people but we hear about the celebs more b/c the media LOVES it. There’s a funny song that goes “if you make an ugly woman your wife, you’ll be happy for the rest of your life” and in the celeb world that’s probably true! (but more so for a woman to marry an ugly guy) I highly doubt you’ll ever hear a story of Christina Aguilera’s husband cheating on her. First of all she’s way better looking than him and secondly, I doubt there are many women out there that’d want to get with him!

  18. Kevin@OutOfYourRut

    I think the rich and famous DO stray more than the average guy, and it isn’t just that the media blast it all over so it just seems like it’s more.

    They probably stray more because the can, because being rich and famous provides more opportunity to stray. I’m not speaking about all women here, but some do throw themselves at the rich and famous – maybe it’s that association thing. Just look at the ones throwing themselves at pukey, poor-role-model athletes and rock star types. They’re not attracted to them for their looks or their solid citizen status.

    Also, I doubt the negative publicity surrounding these episodes hurt the rich and famous as much as it would hurt a middle class person. There’s that saying, “any publicity is good publicity” and it seems that any time one of them get caught, their fame (and market value) only go up. What’s the disincentive???

    Why do they get forgiven? Dr. Laura offered this during the Bill Clinton/Monica L caper: (loosely) “the 67% of you who think that what Bill Clinton did is OK, are either engaging in similar behavior, have in the past, or plan to in the future.” Pretty dark, but probably not too far off either.
    .-= Kevin@OutOfYourRut´s last blog ..Finding Work by Working for Free =-.

  19. @FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com Gold start to you for addressing all the questions! :)

    I donno, if I was Elin, I’d wait around for 2 more years for $30 million more! I’d also do it for the kids. I’m sure their house is big enough, so they can just avoid everything.

    I guess, part of my post is lost in all this Woods hype. The funny thing is, my female colleague thought Gavin Newsom was not a good guy BEFORE she actually met him. I find it a little ironic.
    .-= admin´s last blog ..Tuition Hike For The Poor Is Like A Tax Hike For The Rich =-.

  20. Neal@wealthpilgrim

    Not sure if the rich and stupid incur this more or it’s just that we hear more about it. I know plenty of folks who make similar mistakes – but on a smaller and less visible level.
    .-= Neal@wealthpilgrim´s last blog ..6 Lessons I Learned During First Week Of Product Launch =-.

  21. RainyDaySaver

    I don’t think the famous are any more unfaithful than non-famous folk. It’s just that they’re under more intense media scrutiny. But I’m of the opinion that the more money you make/have, the more apt you are to stray from your spouse/significant other — maybe because there are more opportunities to do so?
    .-= RainyDaySaver´s last blog ..Is Social Media Killing Your Productivity & Earning Potential? =-.

  22. Not sure if famous people stray more than the common folks.
    I think famous people just get more press, obviously, but represent the dysfunctional society we’re creating.
    The one obvious measure of that is to look how careers were destroyed in the 20s and 30s (40s and 50s) for small social infractions. I don’t know whether it’s fair to go back to that, but should Alec Baldwin be writing a book on parenting?
    .-= Matt´s last blog ..Shorting The Apocalypse: Why The Bad Times Can’t Last =-.

  23. Don@Moneyreasons.com

    Honestly, I think the way you carry yourself has a lot to do with what other people think of you. So if your handsome and rich, and have a personality… well, you can do no wrong!

    As for why do guys get cause more than women, that’s simple, testosterone! Women who are married cheat less than married men because they are busy with more important things, like raising kids as well. This can do deeper than I want to go so I’ll stop here.

    I think if you marry a celebrity, you’re asking for trouble. There are going to be endless possibilities for them to cheat on you.

    I agree with FB about Elin, besides there is a good chance that this has happened before, and will happen again.
    .-= Don@Moneyreasons.com´s last blog ..Fixed versus ARM Mortgages =-.

  24. FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com

    I think it just seems like rich and famous people stray more often because they are constantly in the media spotlight. It’s impossible NOT to think that.

    Seriously, you could know people right now, cheating on their spouses in your office/life and not even suspect it. But the fact is that Woods and all the other politicians are always in the news and part of the TV/media lives of millions of people. It’s hard not to come to that conclusion.

    To me, money talks. So men in a power of fame and wealth, will always have an upper hand to hush things up over a regular Joe with a wife and kids, having an affair but no money to pay the mistress off to keep her quiet.

    Women don’t seem to cheat, because the focus is on whoever is more famous. And in those cases, it seems to always be men because they’re the ones who are more famous. It’s just circumstance. And no one publicizes that. A woman scorned sells more papers.

    It DOES take a woman in most cases for a men to cheat, but the woman generally is single, and doesn’t have anything to lose but her rep and pride .. and the man with a wife, kids and a rep has way more to lose.

    And if you are rich and famous, there are definitely more chances to cheat. There’s just more opportunity with women and men throwing themselves at you… all that makes you drunk with exhilaration, I bet.

    I also think Elin should just leave him. Everyone knows he cheated. She only has her pride as a wife to lose, or $30 million. It now depends on where her priorities lie.

    Or she could pull a Hiliary and play the Good Wife routine.
    .-= FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com´s last blog ..Holiday Giveaway: A Single or a King-sized Allersac =-.

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