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Celebrity Cheating Scandals: How Much Can Bad Decisions Cost?

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When a regular guy screws up with his wife, it might cost him some flowers or a fancy dinner. When a male celebrity does something wrong  -- especially any sort of sexual indiscretion -- the apology cost can be astronomical.

Of course when a normal fellow wrongs his significant other -- whether it's forgetting to call when he's going to be home late or something more egregious like having an affair -- it does not end up getting splashed across the media. If a famous guy makes a mistake it gets reported on TMZ , shows up on the front page of tabloids, fills TV, and starts trending across social media.

Bad behavior can can cost a regular guy, but do something wrong if you are a famous man and you will pay for it in real dollars.

Embarrassing Mariah Carey is expensive

As the author of 50 Things Every Guy Should Know How To Do, I have learned a few things about women (a precious few, my wife would say). But it does not require writing a book of advice for men to know that your wife won't like it if you brag about previous sexual conquests on a radio show. 

That's good general advice but it goes doubly if you plan to brag about sleeping with Kim Kardashian. Nick Cannon -- who is married to Mariah Carey -- apparently never learned that particular lesson and he paid dearly for it. The America's Got Talent host went on New York's Power 106 and told host Big Boy (not to be confused with Outkast's Big Boi) that before he met Carey he had bedded Christina Milian, Nicole Scherzinger, Selita Ebanks, and Kardashian. 

"It's L.A.! That's the whole purpose, you have sex with actresses, singers, models," Cannon told the host.

That may be true but the bragging likely cost Cannon, who smoothed things over at home two days later with what the New York Daily News called a "huge diamond bracelet."  

"Nick surprised me for 3/27 with a stellar diamond bracelet encrusted with 3 floating butterflies!" Carey posted on Twitter.   

Though the price of Cannon's apology/birthday present for his wife has not been revealed it's a drop in the bucket compared to what some stars have paid after wronging their spouses.

Kobe Bryant almost had the perfect legal defense

In the summer of 2003 Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant was accused of raping a 19-year-old hotel clerk in Colorado. Bryant -- who was married at the time -- had the perfect legal defense but perhaps not the greatest excuse to bring home to his wife. 

"Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did," Bryant said in a statement read in court by his lawyer Pamela Mackey, The New York Times reported.

Consensual sex even when one side is not clearly consenting is apparently legal in Colorado. And while it might have been a slight relief to know your husband wasn't a rapist, Kobe's wife Vanessa was still less than pleased that her husband had cheated on her and dragged her through a year-long media scandal.

To try to keep his marriage on track Kobe bought his wife what TMZ described as a "$4 million ring."

The gift worked for a while until cheating rumors dogged Kobe again, leading Vanessa to file for divorce in 2012. That would have cost the star even more dearly had the couple not reconciled in 2013.

"Allegedly, Vanessa will receive $75 million, as well all three of the couple's properties in Newport Beach, Calif.," reported.

Being really famous and cheating can cost you

While cheating can cost a famous man a $4 million diamond ring to keep his marriage together, the price goes higher if a celebrity actually gets divorced due to infidelity. Some of the biggest celebrity divorces due to highly publicized sexual shenanigans include (dollar values are from Celebrity Net Worth):

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver,  $250 million-375 million: The one-time governor of California was not only guilty of starring in Jingle All the Way, he also committed the offense of fathering a child with his maid. 
  • Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren, $100 million: While he was married Woods was piling up mistresses faster than he was adding major championships to his total. Woods gave his estranged wife a list of every woman he slept with while they were together. It was four pages long (and included a shocking number of IHOP waitresses), reported. The list allegedly included 120 names.
  • Mel and Robyn Gibson, $425 million: Mel Gibson has received so much negative attention in recent years both for his horrible antisemitism and the abusive messages recorded by his second wife (and alleged physical abuse) that you almost forget that he paid out a fortune in a divorce settlement after repeatedly cheating on his first wife.

A sliding scale of sexual shenanigans 

While there is no clear ratio of sexual peccadillo to amount a star must pay out to either keep the peace at home or in a divorce settlement, wronging your wife publicly can clearly cost a fortune. Cannon, who did not actually do anything beyond being boastful about his past, got off relatively lightly, as did Bryant who kept his marriage and most of his fortune intact.

Woods also got off relatively lightly if you consider that he paid less than $1 million per mistress. And while Gibson paid out half of his total wealth and Schwarzenegger spent a similar percentage, Woods only gave his ex 20% of the $500 million Celebrity Net Worth estimates he had earned by 2013.

The takeaway here could be that if you're famous and you're going to sexually wrong your wife -- even if it's not by actually cheating -- be prepared to spend some money.

Or a cynic might say that since celebrities have shown a predilection for this type of behavior and increased media scrutiny makes it likely more stars will get caught with their pants down that Tiffany has a bright future.

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Daniel B. Kline

Daniel B. Kline is an accomplished writer and editor who has worked for the Microsoft's Finance app and The Boston Globe, where he wrote for the paper and ran the business desk. His latest book "Worst Ideas Ever" (Skyhorse) can be purchased at bookstores everywhere.

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