Sally Hemings
6 Images

Presidents Day: Scandals that created celebrities

Sally Hemings
In honor of Presidents Day, we take a look at a few folks who’ve achieved fame -- or at least notoriety -- by having their names linked to the leader of the free world.

Sally Hemings was a slave and half-sister of Thomas Jefferson‘s wife Martha. And that’s all the Jefferson household was willing to divulge, despite rumors and newspaper rumblings that alleged there was an intimate relationship and subsequent offspring between the mixed-race woman from Virginia and our nation’s third president. DNA testing in the late 20th century proved these stories positive. Hemings’ legacy has been told through various media, including a book, a miniseries starring Carmen Ejogo and Sam Neill and a movie (pictured) starring Thandie Newton and Nick Nolte. (A. Borrel)
Valerie Plame
The covert CIA officer made headlines in 2003 when Washington Post’s Robert Novak outed her in a column. But how did Novak become privy to this information? And was this some kind of retaliation against Plame’s husband, Joseph Wilson, a U.S. ambassador?

Eventually I. Scooter Libby, Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, was convicted on two counts of perjury, making false statements and obstruction of justice after he shared information with New York Times reporter Judith Miller. Plame wrote a memoir, and Naomi Watts starred in a movie about her. (M. Spencer Green / Associated Press)
Nan Britton
A silly schoolgirl who could never get over her crush or an illicit affair? Born and raised in Marion, Ohio, Britton was the teenage daughter of newspaper man Warren Harding’s friend. Although others have chalked her anecdotes up to infatuation, Britton penned a tell-all book called “The President’s Daughter” and claimed to have had an affair with Harding before and during his presidency and had a daughter with him. (From the book “The President’s Daughter”)
Maria Halpin
During his first presidential campaign, Grover Cleveland (pictured) -- a bachelor and governor of New York known for his frank honesty -- admitted to having an affair with local widow Maria Halpin. The problem was that he also was apparently not the only one spending quality time with Mrs. Halpin. This became even more complicated when she had a son named Oscar Folsom Cleveland. Interestingly enough, Oscar Folsom was also the name of one of Cleveland’s married friends.

No matter. Cleveland admitted to paying child support. His honesty didn’t stop detractors from shouting “Ma, Ma, where’s my Pa?” during his presidential campaign. (Sympathizers responded with “Gone to the White House. Ha! Ha! Ha!”) Cleveland eventually married Folsom’s daughter years after becoming administer of her estate (he was 28 years her senior) at the White House -- the only president to get married there. (International Portrait Gallery)
Monica Lewinsky
The Clinton White House intern and her blue Gap dress made headlines in the late 1990s after details of her relationship with then-President Clinton were made public. The scandal eventually led to Clinton’s impeachment. Lewinsky, for her part, has had a minor career as a handbag designer, as a spokesperson for Jenny Craig and has been on reality TV and talk shows. She now has a master’s degree in social psychology from London School of Economics. (Associated Press)
More entertainment photos from latimes.com
1/6