Top 10 Public Romantic Disasters


Imagine being embarrassed or betrayed in your relationship, by the person whom you’ve confided your most intimate self to, to whom you are devoting what is meant to be a meaningful fraction of your life.  It is a prospect so terrifying, that millions of people all over the world don’t dare even approach another person out of the fear it go will go wrong in some way, even though one of the things they want most in the world is the end of their loneliness.

Now imagine that you’ve not only been embarrassed, you were embarrassed in front of the world.  History will record your humiliation and for years, decades, or centuries, people will talk about what happened to you!

Okay, now have some voyeuristic pleasure at these stories of this happening to someone else.

10.  John Ruskin & Euphemia Gray


This couple married in 1848, into an era when Ruskin’s rather disastrous issues didn’t come up until way too late.  As Gray would later say of their honeymoon, “he thought a woman was something other than what I was.”  As such, Gray filed for an annulment where her husband’s phobia of female anatomy was dragged into the public eye and, when it was granted, she remarried and had eight children with the artist John Millais.  Millais, it so happened, was doing a portrait of Ruskin when his ex-wife married him.  So Ruskin had the extra humiliation of cutting a large check and sitting silently in front of the man who married the woman who made him an international laughing stock.


9.  John Poynant & Joan Swan


(Editor’s Note: No pictures of these two exist, like anywhere.  So, to compensate, here’s a cover of trashy romance novelist Joan Swan ‘s opus Intimate Enemies.  Read it if you foolishly think books couldn’t possibly get any worse after Twilight.)

In 1378, the marriage of this couple was declared null.  The part Poynant probably would have killed to keep out of the record was how this was due to his impotence.  Joan remarried and John Poynant shacked up with a woman named Isabel Pybbel.  Afterwards, the same church, which had allowed the dissolution of the marriage, decided that John was in fact not impotent.  So they dissolved the new marriage, and restored the original, impotence-inducing marriage.  The thing that changed its mind was the fact John was going to marry Isabel because he had impregnated her.  Given the evidence that Joan had been happy with her new marriage, presumably there wasn’t much call to see if John’s impotence was cured.


8.  Peter the Great & Catherine (And Parts of William Mons)


Peter Romanov ascended to the throne as Tsar of Russia when he was ten and, in addition to starting a scientific and cultural revolution, was a huge part of the reason the Russia of today is so huge.  But this story is one of the few anecdotes people bother to tell about him.  In 1724, Peter the Great decided he was sick of the flagrant affair his wife was having with one William Mons and had him executed.  His body was left on the scaffolding for five days.  His head, by contrast, was dunked in a jar of formaldehyde to preserve it and then placed in Catherine’s bed chambers.  It’s hard to condone the actions of anyone here but, if Catherine did manage to have another affair after that, she was truly a goddess.


7.  The UCLA Audience

Only three months after it was posted to YouTube, this video of a woman running away from her date when he pulled out the ring has been seen 9,500,000 times.  Deeply humiliating, it undoubtedly ruined his relationship and led to dozens of phone calls, texts, harassment and, since it’s only three months in, he probably hasn’t seen the worst of it yet.  Still, maybe it made some ladies out there feel sorry for him…

6.  Princess Maria Cisterno & Duke Amadeo’s Wedding


Many of us have stories of bad wedding experiences, our own or someone else’s.  But we’ll never top what happened at the wedding in this entry, and let’s hope no one ever tries.  On May 30, 1867, their wedding was marked by the deaths of the following people: the palace gatekeeper, the king’s aide, and the bride’s mistress wardrobe.  The person leading the wedding reception collapsed from sunstroke.  And finally, the best man shot himself.  Despite this, Duke Amadeo had the courage to marry someone else after his wife died in 1873.


5.  Greg & Kim on Andy Savage’s Show

Many people have had their infidelities revealed to the public.  Between the television show Cheaters and a bunch of other reality shows, there’s probably footage of someone you know being filmed performing infidelity that might not even have been considered good enough to broadcast.

“Greg” here has the distinction of being tricked and confronted about his through nothing more than a phone call.  A woman identifying herself as Kim gave contact info about a guy she was seeing “on the weekends” named Greg.  This way he could be told he won a prize of a free bouquet to send to the woman of his choice, from a made up contest.  It turned out he wasn’t going to give them to Kim.  The show didn’t even bother to make the story believable with like a “you’ve been randomly chosen!” aspect, but instead told him he’d won some prize for a contest he didn’t really enter, so this Greg guy is probably one of those people Nigerian scams actually work on.

4.  Claudius & Messalina Valeria


Now we’ve already seen a couple cheaters on this list, but none of them so far has done so competitively.  The second wife of Claudius, Emperor of Rome, was both an intelligent manipulator of her scholarly husband and an extremely lustful person.  Hence, one night, Messalina entered into a competition with a prostitute named Scylla.  Scylla managed twenty-five men, Messalina supposedly kept going long after her competitor had given up.  Claudius later had her executed when he learned of her plotting to have him assassinated, and was apparently content to only have her head cut off once.


3.  Casanova


Perhaps, with Casanova’s reputation, this was actually the sort of thing he wouldn’t have minded so much, but it seems safe to imagine at least 99% of us would die from embarrassment if history recorded this happening to us.  In 1761, the guy infamous for getting around decided he’d get married to Leonilda Lucrezia.  She was seventeen at the time, and probably didn’t suspect a thing when she went to her mother Donna to request her blessing… and was greeted with the news that Casanova was, in fact, her father.

This almost certainly ruined holiday dinners for everyone involved, for the rest of their lives.  “pass the gravy, lover ma—I mean, Dad.”


2.  Sada Abe & Kichizo Ishida


You probably were never worried what happened between Abe and Ishida would happen in your relationship.  If you were, you might want to seek some help.  The situation was that in 1936, the two were engaged in an affair that became increasingly perverse in its nature.  So much so that asphyxiation was incorporated into it, which was quite the mistake; Abe ended up accidentally strangling Ishida to death.

Then, for reasons no one should ever want to know, she cut his privates off and then sort of wandered around with them for a few days.  She decided to turn herself into the police, and only managed to convince them she was the Abe they were looking for when she showed them the offending organs.

Abe’s story was made into the 1976 sensationalist arthouse hit In the Realm of the Senses which, for obvious reasons, is quite possibly the least “guy” movie ever made.


1.  The Tattoo


We’ll end this list on the most recent incident, and on a comparatively light note.  Hopefully the people involved learned some lessons they’ll be able to carry over into their next relationships.  We’re not spoiling anything in this write up, you’ll just have to click the link below yourself.


Written By Dustin Koski

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  1. the last one about the tattoo was so funny. quite sad to know that it’s only a hoax.

    • Peter Boucher on

      @ Jason Stone. Woody Allen and his Korean Wife Soon-Yi Previn decide to renew their wedding vows. The arrangements are made and Woody and Soon-Yi go to the church as to where its being held. They are at the altar and Woody begins by saying “Soon-Yi, I will love you and cherish you forever. In return, Soon-Yi replies “Me so Hawny !!!! Me Love You Longtime !!! (Full Metal Jacket)

  2. Peter Boucher on

    O.J. Simpson and Nicole Brown Smith with a certain Ron Goldman being at the wrong spot at the wrong time !!!

  3. Re No. 2:

    There are at least four other films about the “Sada Abe Incident”, plus a documentary in which Abe herself appeared.

    Oh, those wacky Japanese!