When you hear reference to mistresses of U.S. presidents, most people instantly think of Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy. In fact, the icon was not JFK’s only alleged fling. In fact, Kennedy was far from the only president to have affairs on the side.
Here’s a look at the girlfriends and mistresses of U.S. presidents. (Check out page 12 to see which POTUS claimed to have more mistresses than Kennedy!)
1. Kay Summersby
There were rumors that Dwight Eisenhower had an affair with Summersby, one of his aides, during the final years of World War II. While they both denied having a relationship at first, Summersby published a book years later — while she was dying of cancer, no less — that the affair was real. In 1991, the New York Times reported that revealing love letter between the two were being sold at auction.
Next: Another ‘Marilyn’ …
2. Judith Exner
Unlike some mistresses that wanted to stay out of the spotlight, Exner had no problem with divulging on her affair with President Kennedy. One writer tells People that First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy was not surprised when she heard about the affair, and was allegedly so fascinated by it that she would read gossip columns about Exner.
Next: The first president’s fling?
3. Sally Fairfax
While historians have recently revealed that Martha Washington was possibly a bombshell, that didn’t stop her husband from having feelings for other women. Like so many presidents would after him, George Washington wrote lengthy love letters to another woman. The lady this time around was Sally Fairfax — who was married to one of Washington’s close friends. Their correspondence was reportedly brief, as Fairfax didn’t give much indication that she was interested.
Next: At least this mistress got a free trip out of it …
4. Carrie Phillips
Warren G. Harding had plenty of mistresses — and was allegedly one of the most unfaithful presidents — but Carrie Phillips was one of his most infamous. (The discovery of steamy love letters written between the two of them is responsible for that.) When Phillips threatened to go public with the affair, members of the Republican party paid for her and her husband to take a trip to Asia and stay out of sight.
Next: Okay, you probably haven’t quite forgotten this next one …
5. Monica Lewinsky
In the late 1990s, then White House intern Monica Lewinsky was transferred to a job at the Pentagon. There, she confided in a colleague that she had sustained a fling with then President Bill Clinton. Word got out about the affair, which Clinton first denied. After coming clean about his relationship with Lewinsky, the House of Representatives voted to have Clinton impeached. The Senate acquitted him.
Next: Dueling affairs in the White House?
6. Lucy Mercer
As Listverse speculates, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s affair with his wife’s personal secretary, Mercer, may have spawned many affairs for both of them within the White House. Instead of divorcing, First Lady Eleanor grew a tough exterior and demanded that the two never share bed again. It’s alleged that Eleanor later took up with seeing reporter Lorena Hickock, while FDR himself was having an affair with assistant Missy LeHand.
Next: And you thought the love letters were bad …
7. Nan Britton
Even before his affair with Carrie Phillips had concluded, President Harding had begun a fling with a woman 30 years younger than him named Nan Britton. According to Listverse, Britton gave birth to a baby girl and Harding had Whit House Secret Service hand deliver child support payments to her.
Next: Pen pals for life …
8. Mary Peck
Woodrow Wilson began a long-standing correspondence with Mary Peck after taking a trip without his wife to Bermuda, before he was even president. Rumors of their incessant letter-writing — and developing romance — made it’s way back to Wilson’s wife Ellen, who was devastated by the affair. Ellen died and Wilson got remarried, but his correspondence with Peck continued.
Next: This president had no shame about ho old is mistresses were …
9. Lucia Calhoun
Of all the stories of presidential, James Garfield is one of the craziest. His wife Lucretia became aware he was having an affair while they were engaged in the late 1950s. Garfield swore that he would be devoted to his marriage vows — but that didn’t stop him from starting a liaison with an 18-year-old reporter named Lucia Calhoun.
Next: And that’s not all …
10. Almeda Booth
President Garfield got himself into more trouble with his wife when she discovered that he was carrying on more than one extramarital affair behind her back. After finding love letters between Garfield and Lucia Calhoun, the president reportedly broke down and confessed to also courting a college student named Almeda Booth.
Next: More Harding drama …
11. Grace Cross
By now you can surely telling that Warren G. Hardings presidency was peppered with scandal. But his pension for women allegedly started long before his presidency. Many of his long-standing affairs came to light when he locked in the presidential nomination in 1920, including a relationship with typist Grace Cross. Her courtship with Harding while he was a Senator was often violent, once resulting in her cutting his back with a knife and bragging to the public that she could identify his “birthmark”.
Next: More mistresses than Kennedy?
12. Alice Glass
According to Lyndon B. Johnson himself, he allegedly “had more women by accident than Kennedy ever had on purpose.” One of his most well-known “girlfriends” was Alice Glass, the wife of one of his biggest supporters. Per Listverse, Johnson’s wife was aware of the long-standing affair and began wearing makeup and more scandalous clothing to compete.
Next: Of course, things did’t end with Glass …
13. Madeleine Brown
LBJ had so many women in and out of his life, that his wife even walked in on him having sex with a secretary in the Oval Office. Most of the alleged other women kept quiet about their relationship with the president. Well, except for Madeleine Brown, who claimed to have had a 21-year affair with LBJ and that he set her up in an apartment and gave her money.
Next: This girlfriend still remains a mystery …
14. Jennifer Fitzgerald
As Listeverse explains, this is one U.S. president’s alleged girlfriend that is hard to prove. Rumors swirled ahead of George H.W. Bush’s presidency that he had an extramarital relationship with Fitzgerald, a political aide. However, claims about secret liaisons have been largely refuted by the Bush family, and no conclusive proof has ever come to the table.
Next: Last, but certainly not least …
15. Marilyn Monroe
The funny thing is, there really isn’t concrete evidence out there that JFK and Marilyn Monroe had an affair. The two did meet on several occasions, and there are reports that he asked once asked her to go on vacation with him alone. Beyond that there’s only speculation — well, that and her singing him “Happy Birthday.”
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