Never has there been more transparency in society about sexual misconduct than right now. It seems like every week someone else comes forward to accuse a public official or high-profile celebrity of having inappropriate behavior. Rightly so, the careers for most of the accused are tarnished as a result. Even after these revelations come to light, questions naturally arise. How long has it been going on? Did others know? How did this happen?
While there’s still a long way to go in society to correct this problem, and keep it from happening any further, the accusations coming to light are a turn in the right direction. It’s hard to accept the reality that this has probably been going on for a long time because these are celebrities and politicians. They’ve been able to get away with covering it up.
Celebrities have been hiding secrets forever, whether it be illegal or non-illegal—whatever damages their reputation. Many times when celebrities do something embarrassing, they don’t want the public to know that involves another person, they will bribe the wronged individual to “hush” them. This hush money is intended to keep the individual quiet and prevent them from revealing whatever might make them look bad. Here are 16 celebrities you had no idea paid hush money to their lovers in order to keep something secret.
16 Penalty Kick
Cristiano Ronaldo, the famous international soccer player, has had more headaches to deal with than a red car. Not long ago, he was accused of raping an undisclosed woman, whom he allegedly paid hush money in the amount of $375,000. Of course, he denies all claims. Supposedly, it happened back in June 2009 while he was in Las Vegas.
Cases like these are always murky—situations where ”he said, she said” are hard to ascertain the truth. It’s not the first time, however, that allegations of this nature have been leveled against the Portugal footballer.
Evidence even seems to point to there being a settlement happening outside of court back in 2010, which doesn’t look good for Ronaldo’s case. In the end, hush money—while treated like a Band-Aid—can’t hide the truth forever.
15 A Tree Falls In The Woods And It Makes A Sound
Tiger Woods is well known for having a reputation outside of golf, though it’s one that doesn’t make him look very good. Just because you’ve been with a lot of women doesn’t necessarily translate into esteem. While the famous golfer has had a long list of mistresses throughout his career, none have been quite as notorious as Rachel Uchitel.
Even while Woods’ wife was pregnant, these two were having an affair—an affair which later led to Woods paying Uchitel $10 million in hush money to keep quiet. Her silence didn’t last long.
She eventually sat down for a tell-all with Daily Mail, which led to her having to pay Woods back the hush money for violating the agreement they had made. Whoops. With Woods’ secret out that not only he had one affair but that there were multiple women, his image never quite recovered.
14 Near, Far, Wherever You Are, I Believe That The Hush Money Goes On
Everyone knows the song “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic sung by Celine Dion, even if they haven’t seen the movie before. There was a time when it played all the time, until it was permanently embedded in everyone’s memories forever, refusing to be forgotten. Plus, it’s catchy In spite of how beloved Celine Dion and her music is, most people don’t know her darker side.
Once, her husband Rene Angelil was accused of groping a woman and paid $2 million to keep the victim quiet. While the victim attempted to get more money from Celine Dion and Rene Angelil in court, it’s revealing the acclaimed singer and manager (Angelil managed Celine’s career) would aim for a nondisclosure settlement. While it says a lot that Celine Dion would stick with her husband (who has since passed away), it doesn’t look very good from the outside.
13 Bribing Is Easy As 1-2-3
Starting out at a young age, Michael Jackson had a long career. That means he started encountering lots of people practically from when he came into the world, and was born an instant star (being part of the Jackson 5). Sadly, Michael Jackson has a long history of sexual allegations from men claiming to be victims when they were younger.
Supposedly, Jackson has had as many as 20 victims over time, and the amount of hush money totals $200 million when all added up. That’s a lot of dough! While Jackson could have told those victims to beat it, refusing to fork over hush money to keep these molestation charges under the radar, he ultimately consented. Now, fans everywhere are confronted with having to reconcile the pop star’s legacy with his sordid past.
12 DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Debt Again
Musicians, more than any other type of celebrity, have the luxury of being overlooked for their faults because of how great their music is. Usher has some hit songs and while we don’t think his image has been tarnished yet per se, the accusations raised against him certainly raise eyebrows.
Supposedly, the pop star is facing claims that hush money was paid to a woman to keep secret the fact he has herpes. In turn, the accuser is stating that she has herpes because of Usher.
While Usher was said to have paid for her medical bills at the time (what a gentleman), he paid even more to shut her up (about $1 million). According to the lawsuit documents, the incident is placed around the time of his divorce, which would make sense if he was back on the market at that time.
11 Yo Ho, Yo Ho, Another Check To Write
Looks like rum isn’t the only thing Johnny Depp likes to spend his money on (get it?—’cause he’s Jack Sparrow). Now, the team of lawyers who helped Depp to broker these nondisclosure deals and pay hush money are going to court with the Pirates of the Caribbean star over fees he refused to pay.
As a result, many of these settlements Depp made to keep others quiet may be exposed in court during the proceedings, undoing everything he’s tried to keep under wraps. While specific victims aren’t known (yet, that is, if the lawsuit continues), the attorneys have spelled out what is a “trail of hush money paid in secret.”
While it doesn’t look good for Depp, we can only imagine he’ll be deep in lawyer fees at the end of all this saying, “Why is the money gone?”
10 Yo Adrian, Here’s Money To Keep Quiet
There are some classic actors who are practically universally loved. Actors like Kurt Russell, Tom Hanks and Sylvester Stallone are just some examples, but even someone widely loved isn’t immune to having a dark past. Here’s the story.
Allegedly, Sylvester Stallone is known to have abused his younger sister, Toni-Ann Filiti, whom he shelled out hush money to for wrongs committed. The hush money had been intended to put to rest assertions that Filiti was going to spill the beans and ruin his career.
Funny how no amount of money is too high in order to secure one’s future career. Stallone paid Filiti $2 million not to say anything and additional payments indefinitely on a monthly basis in order to protect his reputation. Not even Rocky is immune from scandal it seems.
9 Welcome To The Legal Jam
Michael Jordan is considered not only the greatest NBA superstar, but perhaps the greatest athlete of all time. One may think he is a perfect human; however, he is not. In fact, ever since he retired from basketball, his reputation has taken a bit of a hit—he’s not the best team owner (of the Charlotte Hornets), and he’s become something of a recluse later in life.
Furthermore, he’s slept around with other women (even though he was married), paying off his mistresses to keep it on the down-low. One woman named Karla Knafel, whom Jordan offered $250,000, went to court with Jordan in an attempt to get $5 million by means of a lawsuit. Even though he offered her money, she still wouldn’t buy it. In the end, it was just another attempt at bribing gone wrong.
8 A Late Night Gone Wrong
There have been many late-night talk shows over the years, but David Letterman has been one of the longest running and successful in history. His situation was unique, however, as far as paying hush money goes. After a male employee on the Late Show staff threatened to leak that Letterman had been sleeping around with other women behind the scenes, the talk show host confessed to the affairs on air.
Apparently, the employee wanted $2 million in hush money to keep quiet about it. Letterman did end up paying him a check for that amount—though it was actually fake—and the employee was later charged for blackmail. Sometimes it all works out in the end. You just have to write a fake check and call the authorities.
7 Look Under Your Chair Where There’s A Big Check
Oprah Winfrey is loaded with money. News flash: She even has her own private jet and attendants. One flight attendant, named Corrine Gheris, supposedly got it on with the pilot (hopefully not during a flight) and Oprah wasn’t too pleased about it. As a result, Gheris was fired for having inappropriate contact with the pilot, which she later retaliated with a lawsuit seeking $75,000 from Oprah.
Oprah quickly came to a settlement in order to keep things from getting out of hand, “hushing” whatever sexual incident may have happened. While Oprah handled the situation with a swift settlement, it would appear clear the reasons for it: Apparently the fired flight attendant is the daughter of Oprah’s close friend, Gayle King. At least Oprah’s hush money is intended to keep the peace between her and a friend.
6 The Expenses O’Reilly Didn’t Factor
The former Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly was host of The O’Reilly Factor, a major show on the network. Now, the only thing major was his hush money paid for sexual misconduct. Apparently, those who have threatened to leak information about his deeds were paid $13 million to keep quiet.
This all happened right before he renewed a lucrative contract to stay on the network, which would have kept him as the host of the popular O’Reilly Factor.
Since the sexual allegations against O’Reilly have come to light, Fox News has parted ways with their golden goose. Ever since, the Fox News network has struggled to maintain the ratings it carried prior to the fallout involving sexual allegations. It’s another reminder that one’s choices don’t just affect a single individual, but countless others.
5 What Ails Roger Ailes
Bill O’Reilly isn’t the only personality at Fox News to have been accused of sexual harassment. At one time, the late Roger Ailes, who presided as CEO over Fox News network, was also accused of sexual harassment. It would seem that keeping accusers quiet with hush money was part of the business model—just another expense in the form of a line item at the end of the month.
While paying money out to women—supposedly to two dozen over time—can be expensive, it seems to have been part of the norm at the network. Ultimately, it took one of the top hosts at Fox News, Gretchen Carlson, to bring Ailes down. He had told her to show more legs and wear tighter clothing. While it might sound crazy to a man like Ailes, this rubbed her the wrong way.
Dan Marino might be an NFL legend, but the only thing that’s legendary is how he was able to keep a child out of wedlock a secret. That’s right, Dan Marino not only had an affair, but also a child with the same woman whom he kept from everyone except his own wife.
She found out back in 2005 about the whole thing, yet still stayed with him. The woman whom Marino had an affair with was Donna Savattere, a PA who worked at CBS. In order to keep his secret safe from the public, Marino allegedly paid millions to Savattere. Their daughter is named Chloe. She was even a secret hidden from his coworkers and others at CBS who knew him personally. Sounds like a crazy way to live.
3 Hey Hey Hey, It’s Another Lawsuit
Bill Cosby over the past couple of years has been at the center of a serious trial to determine whether he drugged and raped multiple women over the course of many years. While not every incident Cosby paid hush money is known publicly, there is one proven instance which has cropped up again recently.
Andrea Constand, one of Cosby’s rape accusers, is being sued by Cosby’s team for breaking the agreement to keep quiet (according to the hush money deal that was written up in exchange for her cooperation long ago).
To think that Cosby can sue one of his alleged victims is audacious. That he would be so bold as to try and turn the tables on someone accusing him of raping her in the past is beyond low. It’s been hard for many to accept Cosby’s fall from grace, especially when considering how beloved the comedian was once in the public eye.
2 Body Of Lies
There was a time when John Edwards was running to be president of the United States and looked to being on the verge of almost getting the Democratic nomination. A scandal that erupted eliminated any chances he had of ever attaining his dream of becoming president.
An affair brought Edwards’ campaign down—one that he had with actress Rielle Hunter, who became pregnant as a result. It was later revealed that Fred Baron, who handled the finances for the Edwards campaign, was paying hush money to support Hunter and Edwards’ daughter.
When the news broke, it brought Edwards down—snuffing out any hope for the campaign to continue. Sadly, John Edwards’ wife Elizabeth passed away from breast cancer not long after it became public.
1 Protect Yourself At All Times
Some celebrities have sex appeal; others–like Charlie Sheen–don’t have it, but sleep around. Apparently, while sleeping around, Charlie picked up a little secret he didn’t want anyone to know about. On the Today Show, Sheen admitted not only to having HIV, but also to paying $10 million to a porn actress to keep her lips sealed.
Sheen, after taking drugs and partying for 12 long hours, accidentally let this secret about himself slip when he needed to take medicine for it. Oops. While Sheen seems embarrassed about having HIV, at least he was upfront and honest on national TV about it. Plus, he even admitted to trying to pay hush money to the porn actress to keep quiet—something that doesn’t make him look very good.
Sources: People, Chicago Tribune, Mirror, Press TV, Perez Hilton, The Ski Channel, Washington Examiner, NY Mag, The Smoking Gun, Daily Mail, Hello Beautiful, Extra TV, Daily Mail, Owen Sound Sun Times, BET