11 Most Notorious Celebrity Breakups

The public’s fascination with the breakups of rich and famous couples extends at least back to the 16th Century when King Henry VIII entertained all of Europe with messy breakups with four of his six wives. These breakups were so messy that they almost started several wars, led England to abandon Catholicism, and resulted in numerous executions, including that of two of his wives.

While today’s celebrity breakups don’t tend to lead to war, changes of religion or executions, the fireworks that often ensue can serve to make the participants in the breakup just as notorious as Henry VIII. Here then are a few of the more notorious celebrity breakups of modern times:

Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren

The golfing phenom’s five-year marriage to the former Swedish model came to an end after Tiger smashed his car into a fire hydrant the day after Thanksgiving in 2009. Because Tiger’s injuries were inconsistent with the low-grade nature of the accident, and rumors about an alleged affair had just surfaced, the press jumped all over the story.

Within hours, it was reported that the injuries were probably the result of a golf-club wielding Elin, and within days a bevy of women had been identified as Woods’ alleged mistresses and playdates. Tiger put his golfing career on hold, Elin sued for divorce and walked away with a nice chunk of his $1 billion in earnings, and Tiger’s game just hasn’t been the same since.

Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com

Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver

This power couple’s 25-year marriage was abruptly terminated in 2011 by Maria, after she learned that the Hollywood action hero, former Mr. Olympia and former governor of California had fathered a child with the housekeeper some 14 years earlier, at about the same time she was giving birth to their fourth child.


While Shriver, a member of the Kennedy clan, managed to keep a relatively low profile during the breakup, allegations regarding the Governator’s sexual misconduct while in office resurfaced, and actress Bridgette Nielsen revealed that she had also had an affair with Arnold.

Public Domain

Public Domain

Sandra Bullock and Jesse James

Perhaps the high-powered Oscar-winning actress should have known that there might be trouble in paradise, given that her husband had previously been married to a porn star. But they say love is blind, and Sandra was apparently blindsided in March 2010 while promoting her newest film—The Blind Side—when a succession of women announced that they had been carrying on affairs with the reality TV personality. While James publicly apologized and checked himself into rehab, Sandra opened her eyes and gave him the boot.

Jaguar PS / Shutterstock.com

Jaguar PS / Shutterstock.com

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