Five politicians who faced love child scandals

From left to right: Strom Thurmond, John Edwards, Mike Duffy and Arnold Schwarzenegger. (Reuters)

From left to right: Strom Thurmond, John Edwards, Mike Duffy and Arnold Schwarzenegger. (Reuters)

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With suspended Canadian senator Mike Duffy recently acknowledging a Peruvian woman's paternity claim, according to the woman's mother, we look at a few other politicians who have had a love child.

John Edwards

The 2004 Democratic Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards saw his political career come unravelled in 2010, when it was officially revealed that the former U.S. Senator had had an extramarital affair. Making things worse was the fact that it had taken place while Edwards’ wife was suffering from breast cancer.


John Edwards. REUTERS/John Adkisson

Edwards met Rielle Hunter in 2006 when her production company worked on the Senator’s 2008 presidential campaign. Hunter became pregnant by Edwards in 2007, giving birth to his illegitimate daughter Quinn in Feb. 2008.


Strom Thurmond

After he died in 2003 at the age of 101, it was revealed that Thurmond ad fathered a child at age 22, with a 16-year-old who had worked for his parents. Making it even more interesting was the fact that Thurmond’s first daughter was black when Thurmond had been a staunch anti-segregation politician.


Strom Thurmond. REUTERS/Mike Theiler-files

The U.S. Senator from South Carolina was born in 1902 and married for the first time in 1947, to his 21-year-old secretary. They were childless when she died of a brain tumour in 1960. Thurmond married again in 1968, this time to a 22-year-old woman, with whom he had four children. Although Thurmond had never acknowledged his illegitimate daughter when he was alive, he did contribute financially to her welfare.


Arnold Schwarzenegger

In 1997, before he was governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a son with one of his domestic employees who had worked for the family for 20 years. Apparently Schwarzenegger did not know he was the boy’s father for eight years; it was only then that he could see the resemblance.


Arnold Schwarzenegger. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

The love child was the turning point that ended Schwarzenegger’s marriage to Maria Shriver, when she found out in 2011.


Thomas Jefferson

Although not official, it is widely believed that the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, fathered children with one of his slaves, Sally Hemings. The rumours were around during Jefferson’s own lifetime but often cited as slander or lies due to prevailing attitudes towards race over the years.


Thomas Jefferson.

Hemings herself was fathered by a slave owner, who also happened to be the father of Jefferson’s late wife, of whom Hemings was very similar looking.


Grover Cleveland

Not only was Cleveland the 22nd and 24th presidents of the United States, he was also one-time mayor of Buffalo. And it seems that on one of those cold Buffalo nights during the 1870s, Cleveland may have fathered a child. Although the child’s paternity was in question, Cleveland was the only bachelor among the possibilities and thus assumed the responsibility, paying child support.


Anti-Grover Cleveland political cartoon of 1884 (cropped from the front page of "The Judge" magazine), captioned "Another voice for Cleveland". (Library of Congress)

The issue came up 10 years later during Cleveland’s presidential run, when he shocked his opponents by admitting the truth. Cleveland won the election.


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