WE are all familiar with the question ‘what do women want?’ But maybe it’s time to ask “what are men looking for?” especially men who cheat on their beautiful wives.
Last week we learned that Rupert Sanders, the director of the movie Snow White and The Huntsman, had been cheating on his wife, a 33-year-old model and actress, Liberty Ross. The couple have been married for ten years and have two children.
Sanders had been having an affair with Twilight actress, 22-year-old Kristen Stewart. Stewart was in a relationship with the Twilight heart-throb, 27-year-old Robert Pattinson, for three years and the couple shared a home in Los Angeles. Sanders, 41, and Stewart have both professed undying love for their respective partners and regret over what Kristen calls her “momentary indiscretion”.
This week, TV presenter Anthea Turner asked her husband, Grant Bovey, to vacate their home in Surrey after he’d allegedly kissed a 24-year-old friend while Turner was working in Canada. Mr Bovey has form, having left his first wife, who was a family friend, to be with Ms Turner.
So, Sanders (and Bovey) join the pantheon of powerful, high-profile, celebrity men who have wandered off the marital track to cheat on their beautiful wives. The list is endless ... JFK, Tiger Woods, Hugh Grant, Ashley Cole, Charlie Sheen, Jude Law, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Sean Penn, Prince Charles, Mick Jagger and Brad Pitt. We are not immune to this phenomenon in Ireland, either, as Ronan Keating, Chris de Burgh and David Agnew all prove.
What is up with these guys? Without exception, they were all married to beautiful women. So, what exactly are they looking for?
Perhaps these powerful men just have an exaggerated sense of entitlement.
Or is it just because they have plenty of opportunity, as they are surrounded by sycophants and away often and meeting women who are offering ‘no strings attached’ liaisons? It’s surely doubtful that the fault lies with the beautiful women they have at home, often looking after their children. The issue must lie with these errant men themselves.
Relationship counsellor David Kavanagh says “men cheat for a variety of reasons and every man is different, but sometimes men with beautiful wives suffer from having over-inflated egos.
“They think ‘I have a beautiful wife at home, but I could also get another beautiful woman tomorrow’.”
There is a common perception that men who cheat often do so because their sex life at home is less than ideal.
Whatever they are not getting at home, they try to find elsewhere. Some famous cheating men have pleaded that they have a ‘sex addiction’, namely Tiger Woods, Charlie Sheen and Jesse James, ex-husband of Sandra Bullock.
“There are, of course, sex addicts, but for many men it’s not always about sex,” says Mr Kavanagh. “Remember that a beautiful woman might not be a beautiful person. Her husband may cheat because he is looking for affection, support and friendship. Beautiful women are sometimes not very funny either and men need a good laugh.” Psychologist Carl Jung agreed. He said “a particularly beautiful woman is a source of terror. As a rule, a beautiful woman is a terrible disappointment.”
But some of the most powerful affairs do not involve sex, says Kavanagh.
“A man may meet a woman with whom he feels very comfortable and can open up to in a completely different way than he could with his wife. He may tell this woman stuff he wouldn’t ever share with his wife.” He may never have sex with this other woman, but Kavanagh says “it’s still an affair.”
SO, does all this lead back to it being the woman’s fault?
“No, definitely not. All of us need to feel special. In normal relationships, after time, your partner will no longer make you feel special all of the time,” Kavanagh says and refers to ‘the gaze’, which may have previously been called the ‘love goggles’. “The gaze’ is the way the newly-in-love gaze at each other, eyes full of admiration and love and lust”. Kavanagh says this triggers a powerful chemical reaction in our brains and it’s highly addictive; as addictive as cocaine to some, apparently.
In the meantime, we all wait with baited breath to see if the beautifully monikered Liberty Ross will take back her errant husband, and if poor Robert Pattinson can forgive Ms Stewart. There are interesting days ahead for all parties to this messy business.
As it stands, Pattinson and Stewart are still due to co-present at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sept 6, and after that they will have the final Twilight vampire movie to promote.
But maybe Rob’s bark will prove to be worse than his bite.
RONAN KEATING: Ronan Keating married model Yvonne Connolly on the Caribbean island of Nevis in 1998. He was just 21 years old and she was 24. They went on to have three children. Their marriage was shaken in 2010 when it was revealed that Keating had an affair with a dancer while on tour with Boyzone. But the couple seemed to patch things up and so it came as a shock last April when they announced their marriage was finally over.
WOODY ALLEN: Woody Allen’s split from his partner Mia Farrow was shocking for one major reason. He had cheated on her by having an affair with her adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn. Although Allen and Farrow never married, and Allen had no legal relationship with Soon-Yi, who had been adopted by Farrow and her former husband Andre Previn, it was when the relationship was ‘outed’ it was still a major tabloid scandal. Soon-Yi was 27 and Allen was 62 when they married in Venice some years later.
PRINCE CHARLES: We all know the story of Prince Charles and his “three of us in this” marriage to Princess Diana. But at a time when Diana was almost universally adored it was revealed (by the man himself) that he was cheating on her with his former paramour Camilla Parker Bowles. Comparisons between the two women led many to wonder just what was it about Parker Bowles, over Diana, that attracted the Prince.
But whatever it was, it has lasted. And to anyone watching their public appearances together it is clear that Camilla is the love of his life in a way that his beautiful ex-wife never was.
BRAD PITT: Brad Pitt was married to Jennifer Aniston when he went off to work with the then bad girl Angelina Jolie on the set of Mr and Mrs Smith. He left the all-American girl next door Ms Aniston for the decidedly edgy Ms Jolie, who was known for kissing her brother and wearing a vial of blood around her neck! But Ms Jolie reinvented herself as a kind of Earth Mother and, six kids later, the Jolie Pitts are still together, although they have yet to marry.
HUGH GRANT: Back in 1995 actor Hugh Grant and his girlfriend Liz Hurley were a golden couple and darlings of the media. That is, until a mugshot of Grant appeared in the red-tops following his arrest along with Ms Divine Brown for ‘lewd conduct in a public place’.
Grant immediately faced the music, offering no excuses for his bad behaviour. It seemed to work and his relationship with Hurley survived a further five years.