Three and a half months and 12 mistresses later, Tiger Woods is finally returning to golf after he crashed his SUV into a fire hydrant on Thanksgiving Night last year. Rather than adult entertainment stars, Waffle House waitresses, and reality TV divas dishing about their extramarital affairs, all eyes will finally shift to Augusta to judge Tiger's golf game at the Masters. Earlier today we predicted the event will be ratings gold for both ESPN and CBS. Although it's too soon to predict how Tiger will play, we expect he's going to want to hush a lot critics, naysayers, and gossip hounds with an epic comeback performance. Believe it or not, there is life after tabloids and gossip blogs mercilessly squeeze the last juicy drop out of a celebrity sex scandal.
We've rounded up 15 other notable celebrity sex scandal comebacks below, and have our eyes on who next to add to the list. If Ben Roethlisberger is proven innocent in a court and he leads the Steelers to an impressive seventh Super Bowl victory, perhaps we'll add him to this esteemed list of shame and phoenix-like triumph next year. Self-professed and clinically diagnosed sexoholic Steve Phillips? Perhaps when he gets a job. Former Senator John Edward? Yeah, not any time soon.
In 2004, Kobe Bryant's case for criminal sexual assault was dropped after his accuser refused to testify in court. After resolving a subsequent civil suit out of court, Kobe returned to the hardwood with the Lakers to get serious as the NBA's premiere superstar. After disappointing playoff runs and Phil Jackson's tell-all book about the team dynamic, Kobe dominated in the years following the scandal by setting multiple NBA scoring records, chalking up an impressive 81 points in a game, and leading the Lakers to a victory in the 2008-2009 NBA Finals.
Everyone knows about A-Rod and PEDs. But don't forget that #13 also boasts an alleged penchant for patronizing high-price escorts, and banging str*ppers in Boston, blonds in Toronto, and maybe Madonna. And yet he can still launch them out of George Steinbrenner's Bronx palace and did so enough times in 2009 to help lead the Yankees to their first World Series Championship in a decade.
Letterman let the cat out of the bag when he announced on air that he'd been the victim of a bizarre extortion attempt involving a producer of CBS' “48 Hours.” He also confirmed that he's been sleeping with several of his female employees and interns. Nonetheless, he got off from a PR perspective relatively scot free, has a $120 million contract and ultimately was the big winner in the Conan-Leno brouhaha.
Pee Wee Herman
Comedian Paul Reuben was caught red handed in 1991 while masturbating in a public adult entertainment theater. After his arrest, Reuben's popular Saturday morning children's show, “Pee-Wee Herman's Playhouse,” was canceled. During the '90s, Reuben rebounded after the incident by landing a serious role in “Blow” as a flamboyant, coke-addicted hairdresser. He's gone back to the Pee-Wee Herman character and announced plans for a live stage show this past August.
At a career high-point in 1997 after the “Nutty Professor” came out, Eddie Murphy was stopped with a transvestite prostitute in his star. Despite the PR debacle and his subsequent 2005 divorce, he's gone on to dominate the “Shrek” franchise and land a best supporting actor Golden Globe in 2007 for his role in “Dreamgirls.”
In 1997 Marv Albert lost his 20-some-year gig as a broadcaster at NBC when his mistress accused him of sexual assault, including forced sodomy and biting her on the back 15 times. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and battery charges and served a suspended sentence for the crime. After the incident, he briefly returned to NBC. Now he does the court-side play-by-play for the Nets and some of TNT's NBA coverage.
Legendary comedian and director Woody Allen has been creeping out folks with his private life since he was 19, when he married a 16-year-old named Harlene Rosen. His most famous tabloid escapade is with his current partner, Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter to his previous partner, actress, Mia Farrow. Although his biological son understandably disowned his father, Allen's produced an incredible body of work since his relationship began with Soon-Yi, including 2008's “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” staring Penelope Cruz and Scarlett Johansson.
The 76-year-old film director continues to serve under house arrest in Gstaad, Switzerland, from a 32-year-old sexual abuse case involving an underage minor. Although he is still a wanted man in the United States and a legal controversy continues to unfold, Polanski's 2002 Holocaust film “The Pianist” won him an Oscar for Best Director and his current release, “The Ghost Writer,” received rave reviews.
The former Mayor of New York City has enjoyed a successful political, legal, and consulting career since allegations of infidelity with his communication director, Cristyne Lategano, first surfaced around 2000. Giuliani's philandering with Judith Nathan, a former drug company executive and Giuliani's current wife, resulted in him moving out of Gracie Mansion while he was still an elected official. Nonetheless, he still has some of the most coveted seats in Yankees Stadium.
Grant was caught with a Hollywood prostitute named “Divine Brown” in 1995. Shockingly enough, he was dating supermodel Elizabeth Hurley at the time. Despite the scandal, he's scored chick flick gold by staring in blockbuster movies such as “Notting Hill,” “Bridget Jones's Diary,” and “Love Actually.”
Does blogging about economic policy for Slate.com and writing New York Times and Washington Post Op-Eds count after being elected — and resigning — from the Governorship of the third biggest state in the country? “Client No. 9″ probably isn't being paid for his scribblings as much as his pricey prostitute Ashley Dupre cost per hour, but, hey, you have to start anew somewhere. We kid, but he seems to do an awful lot of talk shows.
The Brat Pack star blew up big in 1983 after landing a role in “The Outsiders.” In 1988, a sex tape emerged with Lowe having sex at the Democratic Convention with two women, one of whom was underage. Since the controversy, his career has involved major roles on “The West Wing” and ABC's “Brothers and Sisters.”
Screech from “Saved By the Bell” was able to do what very few celebrities have been able to pull-off: use a sex tape to re-launch a career. After the incident, he managed to nab a book deal for a “SBTB” tell-all titled “Behind the Bell.”He also landed a role as the maker of the infamous “bible” in the the latest “American Pie” movie, “The Book of Love.”
Despite Monica Lewinsky dishing about smokin' Presidential pole, a milky stain on a blue dress, and a phony vow to the American public that he “did not have sexual relations with that women,” Clinton left office with a 66% approval rating — the highest exiting approval rate of any American president, ever. After his presidency, Slick Willie hit the political trail for his wife Hilary, but he's remained in the public spotlight through the work of his William J. Clinton Foundation, which provides humanitarian support to combat HIV/AIDs and international poverty.
Despite his steamy interracial affair with Sally Hemings in the late 1700s, his legacy as one of America's most important founding father's is doing just fine.