Hollywood Scandals: Ingrid Bergman / Elizabeth Taylor / Lana Turner / Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
Ingrid Bergman / Roberto Rossellini affair: Ingrid Bergman’s Hollywood career was ruined after it was discovered that Bergman, then married to dentist Petter Lindström, was pregnant with the child of another man: Italian filmmaker Roberto Rossellini, married at the time to future movie costume designer Marcella De Marchis. If you think self-righteous jerks are giving Kristen Stewart a hard time on Twitter, bear in mind that it could have been much worse. On the floor of the U.S. Senate, Ingrid Bergman was called “an apostle of degradation” and “a horrible example of womanhood and a powerful influence of evil.”
About seven years later, that “powerful influence of evil” would win her second Best Actress Academy Award (for Anastasia). Bergman would win a third Oscar, as Best Supporting Actress (for Murder on the Orient Express), in early 1975.
Johnny Stompanato homicide / Lana Turner
In 1958, Lana Turner’s daughter, Cheryl Crane, stabbed Turner’s lover, small-time gangster Johnny Stompanato, killing him. The ensuing trial resulted in loads of publicity — that helped Turner’s next movie, the mother-daughter melodrama Imitation of Life (1959), become one of the highest-grossing films of the actress’ career and reportedly (not adjusted for inflation), Universal Pictures’ biggest box-office hit up to that time. (However great Lee Remick was in the role of the battered wife in Otto Preminger’s courtroom comedy-drama Anatomy of a Murder, it’s truly unfortunate that Lana Turner quit the project.)
Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher and Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton
Elizabeth Taylor became known as a homewrecker after she “stole” married man Eddie Fisher from All-American girl Debbie Reynolds in the late ’50s. Even so, during that period Taylor received four Academy Award nominations, winning an Oscar on the fourth round (for Butterfield 8, 1960).
About two years later, she became enmeshed in another scandal, this time while shooting Cleopatra in Rome. Fisher was unceremoniously dumped for leading man Richard Burton, at the time married to Sybil Burton. The rabid media attention helped to propel Elizabeth Taylor to the realm of “living film legend.” Additionally, Taylor won a second Best Actress Academy Award in early ’67 (for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?).
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston
More recently, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie became romantically involved while co-starring in the 2005 action-comedy Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Jolie was single, but Pitt was then married to Jennifer Aniston — a sort of worldlier, non-singing Debbie Reynolds of the ’90s and early 2000s. The scandal in no way harmed Pitt’s and Jolie’s careers. In fact, it likely made Mr. & Mrs. Smith a bigger worldwide hit — $478.2m — than it would have been otherwise.
Arnold Schwarzenegger family values
Now, I’m not sure how things are going to pan out for former Family Values California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a married man who fathered a child with an employee. Not because of Schwarzenegger’s hypocrisy, but because the scandal is by now old news while his upcoming film, The Expendables 2, is perceived as a Sylvester Stallone / Liam Hemsworth vehicle.
Patricia Neal and Gary Cooper affair
Now, what came to mind when I found out about the Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders “cheating scandal” was the complex portrait of a younger woman having an affair with an older, married man in Patricia Neal’s autobiography As I Am. In her raw, heartfelt narrative, Neal describes how she became involved with Gary Cooper when the two co-starred in King Vidor’s The Fountainhead in 1949. The affair eventually came to an end because Cooper wouldn’t divorce his wife, Veronica Balfe aka ‘Rocky’ Cooper. The two-time Oscar winner (Sergeant York, 1941, High Noon, 1952) died of cancer in 1961. Oscar winner Patricia Neal (Hud, 1963) died in 2010.