Relationships

Past President Mistresses Who ‘Served’ Their County

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Nobody’s perfect. And occasionally the more perfect someone seems on the outside the more flawed they are on the inside. And attaining great power and success is often driven by a massive ego, which can have disastrous effects if left to run wild, especially when sex is involved. Let’s look at some of the greatest flaws of the world’s most powerful men: Presidents of the United States and the mistresses who got them in trouble.

1. JFK & Marilyn Monroe

He was the most handsome and physically striking president to date. She was an international sex symbol and the object of practically every male fantasy. Yet he (John F. Kennedy) happened to be married, and she (Marilyn Monroe) seemed just fine with that.

As the story goes, Kennedy first made a move on Marilyn only days after she sung him a scandalous and hyper-sexualized rendition of “Happy Birthday” at his forty-fifth birthday party in 1962. And although the general public knew practically nothing of the affair while it was taking place, Kennedy’s wife, Jackie, was indeed aware, due to Marilyn’s lack of discretion and Kennedy’s long history of obsessive womanizing.

2. JFK & Judith Campbell Exner

Apparently having a prolonged affair with one of the most beautiful women in the world simply wasn’t enough for John F. Kennedy, since he was also known to have an ongoing relationship with Ms. Exner after the two were introduced by Frank Sinatra in Las Vegas.

Unfortunately for the mischievous couple, what happens in Vegas apparently did not stay in Vegas, and word of the affair got out. Exner also claims that she aborted Kennedy’s baby, although this was never confirmed.

3. Abraham Lincoln & Joshua Speed

Times were different in the late 19th century, and it wasn’t that uncommon for two grown men to sleep in the same bed together, especially when both men were lacking in cash (times were tough). Yet this didn’t stop rumors from forming about the relationship between Lincoln and Speed being more than strictly platonic. The two were said to have a very intimate relationship during their four years of living together. Intimacy, after all, can take on many forms.

4. JFK & Ellen Rometsch

We now arrive back at our most illustrious playboy. John F. Kennedy once again finds a gorgeous women to shack up with in Ms. Rometsch, who was rumored to be both a German spy and a prostitute—the lines were somewhat blurred—during the Cold War. Regardless of her profession, however, her wildly good looks were undeniable, and were all that Kennedy needed as an excuse to be with her on several occasions in the White House.

5. Grover Cleveland & Maria Crofts Halpin

As the story goes, Grover Cleveland—the only president in history to serve two non-consecutive terms—fathered an illegitimate son with Maria C. Halpin, who had been recently widowed. Such a move has always been considered a sensitive topic, but in Cleveland’s day it was highly frowned upon.

Yet Cleveland didn’t attempt a cover up, and even confessed that he had funded the boy’s entrance into an orphanage when his mother was deemed unable to care for him (she was later forced to enter a mental hospital). One has to wonder how the father of a child can choose to put his son in an orphanage as opposed of taking him into a giant, white house.

6. James Buchanan & William Rufus King

As was the case in the late nineteenth century, the seriousness with which affairs were treated and the unwillingness of the press to expose the affair were both heightened in comparison to modern day. So it’s a bit tricky to figure out what exactly happened with James Buchanan and William Rufus King. Rumor has it, however, that after Buchanan’s wife died, he and King (who was to become Vice President) developed a highly intimate relationship much like that of Lincoln and Speed.

Apparently Buchanan was the one doing the chasing, having written in his journal: “I have gone a wooing to several gentlemen, but have not succeeded with a one of them.”

7. George Washington & Venus

Although most of the Founding Fathers openly suggested that African Americans were inherently inferior to whites, some of them were not opposed to sleeping with their slaves.

It’s rumored that Washington slept with a slave named Venus, with whom he fathered a child named West Ford. Although DNA evidence has yet to confirm this, it is true that Ford was treated with special care in the Washington House. Yet it is also true that Washington never had children with his wife, Martha, leading many historians to believe that he could have been sterile. (Martha bore four children from a previous marriage.) Or perhaps he was simply holding out for Venus.

8. Lyndon Johnson & Helen G. Douglas

Helen G. Douglas, although less attractive in some ways than the Marilyn’s and Jackie Kennedy’s of the day, had a way with men—especially men in politics. Her unchecked ambition was noted by all those around her, and during the time Johnson was a Congressmen, Douglas was beginning to dip her toe into politics as well. It was openly stated by Douglas that two indulged themselves in an affair that lasted for quite some time. Sometimes openness and honesty is the best way to go when it comes to addressing infidelity.

9. JFK & Mimi Alford

Who else but JFK? This relationship could be marked as slightly more scandalous than the rest, however, since the object of his sexual attention this time was only nineteen years old. Mimi Alford was a White House intern, who apparently worked her way into the president’s inner circle and made quite an impression on him, since it was discovered in 2003 that the two had been sexually involved for over a year.

To make matters a little more insulting to Jackie Kennedy, apparently the most frequent spot for their sexual rendezvouses was Jackie’s bedroom. The first time they officially met was also the first time Alford had a sexual experience.

10. Warren G. Harding & Nan Britton

Nan Britton (Short for Nanna Popham Britton) was an attractive and charismatic woman. Harding was about to become President of the United States and knew her from close social circles. This could have been a cut-and-dry affair, however Britton revealed after Harding took office that he had fathered an illegitimate daughter of hers while Harding served in the US Senate. Although not terribly controversial today, the thought of a sitting president at the turn of the 20th century acting in such a way was highly frowned upon, and it permanently damaged Harding’s reputation.

11. Warren G. Harding & Carrie Fulton Phillips

As can so often be the case with adulterers, sometimes one extramarital affair simply isn’t enough. As was the case with Warren Harding, who chose Ms. Phillips as a sexual partner before Britton. This affair, however, was kept in the dark for decades, due to Phillips successfully blackmailing Harding during his run for president.

Details of the cover-up are little known, however it’s clear that Harding knew his bid for the presidency would be gravely damaged if word leaked to the press and the American public.

Apparently the couple exchanged quite the steamy set of love letters during their time together, and it is speculated that Harding even continued to send Phillips such letters after the physical nature of their relationship had ended.

12. Bill Clinton & Monica Lewinsky

Of course no list of scandalous presidential affairs would be complete without the infamous Monica Lewinsky and Clinton affair, which took place when Clinton was President and Lewinsky was a 22-year-old White House intern in 1998.

The affair would have been bad enough by itself, yet Clinton had to make things exponentially worse for himself by lying about it under oath during a comprehensive Congressional investigation—a bone-headed move that brought Clinton an embarrassing impeachment, the revocation of his law license, and charges of perjury.

13. Dwight D. Eisenhower & Kay Summersby

Affairs that take place between sitting presidents and other women somewhat understandably involve women who are physically close by. Being seen out in public with a woman other than your wife while you’re the President of the United States raises far too many eyebrows and red flags.

Eisenhower, like Kennedy and Clinton, picked someone who was very close by for his affair. Kay Summersby acted as both his personal chauffeur and secretary during World War II, and the two were known to be inseparable and notoriously close.

They seemed to have enough sense, however, to part ways after Eisenhower returned to the United States—not wanting to hurt his run for the presidency. Wise move.

14. Thomas Jefferson & Sally Hemings

George Washington wasn’t the only Founding Father to hypocritically sleep with one of his slaves, and if having an affair was scandalous in 1998 during Clinton’s time, one can only image the scandalous nature of a president having an affair with an African American slave at the turn of the 19th century.

And although Jefferson adamantly rejected the charges, overwhelming DNA evidence has recently shown that Jefferson was most likely the father of at least one of Sally Hemmings’ children. Other evidence points to Jefferson being the father of all six of Hemmings’ children. The historical evidence mounts against him as well, since this was the only slave family he ever freed. Perhaps a small note of fatherly compassion?

15. John Tyler & His Many Slaves

John Tyler apparently really, really liked having children. Or perhaps he just couldn’t control his sexual desires, since during his two marriages Tyler fathered no less than fifteen children, all of whom were legitimate.

There is also strong historical evidence that Tyler fathered several children with several of his slaves as well. Although difficult to prove since these slaves were eventually sold off, this conclusion is supported by numerous oral histories, and matches the apparent strength of Tyler’s insatiable sexual desire.

16. George H. W. Bush & Jennifer Fitzgerald

This is what we call a “shadow affair,” since although it was never confirmed, many speculated at the time that George H. W. Bush and Jennifer Fitzgerald, who was acting as Bush’s aid, were engaged in a long-term affair that took place in the White House under the nose of Bush’s wife, Barbara.

Their relationship was apparently unearthed by a nosey intern in the Clinton White House and reported by the New York Post, which claimed that these two would often take private “meetings” together in places that were not commonly used for meetings, such as bedrooms and lounges.

17. FDR & Lucy Mercer

Considered by many to be one of the greatest presidents in American history, Franklin Roosevelt was an incredibly strong leader who steered the nation through both the Great Depression and World War II with incredible poise and grace.

He did, however, have his flaws. And it was known to many in his inner-circle that he was romantically involved with his secretary, Lucy Mercer, while in office. FDR’s relationship with his wife, Eleanor (who was also his cousin), was apparently strong but a bit cold and distant. He needed a “warmer” companion to whom he could vent, and around whom he could unwind and relax. Lucy became that person as Eleanor became more distant and increasingly involved with national affairs. The relationship was discovered by Eleanor herself but all parties agreed to keep it a secret, as not to scandalize FDR’s presidency when the nation needed him the most.

18. James Garfield & Lucia Calhoun

As with a few others on this list, President Garfield didn’t seem to be content with cheating on his wife with only one woman. After being caught in the act by his wife with an unnamed assistant, it took Garfield only a matter of weeks to begin a new affair—this time with an eighteen-year-old New York Times Reporter named Lucia Calhoun.

Calhoun, although apparently very easy on the eyes, was known to be a bit dramatic, and threatened violence against Garfield on several occasions. This unsettling rhetoric, paired with the fact that Garfield’s wife threatened to leave him if the affair continued, made Garfield wisely choose his wife over the young temptress.

19. Lyndon Johnson & Alice Glass

As another one of our repeat offenders, Lyndon Johnson could not seem to keep his hands off the women he was attracted to, regardless of how much this hurt his wife. His affair with Alice Glass was perhaps the most transparent during his career, however, with both his wife and his entire staff knowing that the two were intimate on a regular basis.

Those who knew him well knew that Johnson liked to “collect” women, and that he felt a woman’s primary role in life was to serve him both mentally and physically. Some even referred to him as a “sexual gorilla”, and it is rumored that when Johnson’s wife came back from their honeymoon she immediately booked a gynecological appointment, for reasons that are best left to the imagination.

His relationship with Glass began in the 1930s and lasted for over two decades.

20. JFK & Angie Dickinson

It seems only appropriate that we end with the man whose unstoppable lust for women seems to have outdone that of all other presidents in US history: John F. Kennedy.

Angie Dickinson (an actress) was, once again, introduced to the future President by Frank Sinatra at a party thrown by Kennedy’s sister in Santa Monica before the 1960 Democratic Convention. She would often be seen at future political events, flirting with JFK in a way that suggested the two were regularly sneaking off together.

Of all JFK’s affairs, however, this was by far the most discreet, with Dickinson (who is still alive) still refusing to officially state that the two were engaged in an affair. Some people simply don’t kiss and tell.