As the third, and final, season of Mistresses concludes on BBC America tonight at 10p/9c, we take a look at some of the most famous celebrity mistresses from the British Isles.
Nell Gwynn was more than just the long-time lover of Charles II, with whom she had two sons. Perhaps the leading comic actress of her time, she was also a Restoration folk heroine. Samuel Pepys referred to her as both “pretty, witty Nell” and a “bold and merry slut.” She called her royal lover “My Charles the Third” because she’d had two previous lovers with the same name. For us, she’ll serve as a stand-in for the dozens of royal mistresses over the centuries. For some reason, we don’t think she’d mind. (Wiki Commons)
Model and celebrity Rebecca Loos made headlines for herself in 2004 when it was revealed she had a four-month affair with David Beckham while she was his personal assistant in Spain. The second cousin of Piers Morgan, Loos called herself the soccer star’s “alternate wife.” Beckham’s not-so-alternate wife Victoria has reportedly said the affair actually strengthened their marriage, and Loos has said that the Beckhams should thank her for it. Afterwards, Loos announced that she had always been bisexual and went on to marry a female fashion model. (Max Nash/AP Photo)
Lady Annabel is a famous British socialite. Her first husband named his famous London nightclub after her. Then, in 1964, she had an extramarital fling with financier Sir James Goldsmith, whom she later married, though she reportedly said, “We didn’t marry as a great act of passion. More to make sure that the children’s name would be Goldsmith when they went to school.” Sir James proceeded to acquire other mistresses and is known for quoting French film director Sacha Guitry when he said, “If you marry your mistress, you create a job vacancy.” In 2004, Lady Annabel told a journalist that she wished she’d been “a one-man woman.” She added: “I wouldn’t recommend anyone to do what I’ve done. To marry someone and grow old with them must be much better.” (via Daily Mail) (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP Images)
Vivien Leigh embarked on an affair with Laurence Olivier when the two appeared in the 1937 movie Fire over England and were both married to other people. They eventually got divorces so they could marry each other, which they did in 1940 in California, after Leigh starred in Gone With the Wind. (The couple is shown here in Hollywood, at the 1940 Oscars, where Leigh won the best actress award.) Later, while still married to Olivier, Leigh had an affair with married actor Peter Finch. (AP Images)
Choosing your children’s babysitter as your mistress might at first glance seem convenient, but the inevitable future complications more than outweigh the initial proximity. Just ask Jude Law, who had an affair with his kids’ nanny, Daisy Wright. His children then apparently told Law’s ex-wife and from there it wasn’t very long until his then-fiancée Sienna Miller learned about it. It’s been alleged that tabloid phone hacking and invasion of privacy were thrown into the mix as well. And then there was also Wright’s vivid description of the affair: “It was mind-blowing rampant sex,” she told The Mirror. “Jude was a masterful lover who made my whole body tingle.” (via People)
In 1967, Sandie Shaw became the first British singer to win the Eurovision Song contest with her hit “Puppet on a String.” But in 2010, Shaw said that 40 years earlier, as a 20 year old, she had almost been pulled from the competition because she had been named as “the other woman” in the divorce proceedings of a married television executive. She said the affair and its aftermath ruined the contest for her. Shaw, who is famous for performing while barefoot, went on to marry three times. She’s still singing – she toured with Jools Holland last year. (via Telegraph) (AP Images)
British women even have their own professional dispenser of advice, and as a mistress who’s had affairs with the rich and famous, including disgraced politician-turned-author Jeffrey Archer, Sarah Symonds should know what she’s talking about. “Since escaping the golden handcuffs of the mistress world,” she wrote recently on her Pillow Talk with Sarah Symonds blog, “the burden of my intense unhappiness has been somewhat lifted. But it took a long time.” She offered this pep talk to her readers: “Make 2012 YOUR year. This is your life. Don’t let someone else edit it as they see fit, and certainly not a cheating married man who will never be leaving his wife for you.” (Facebook)