Most explosive US presidential scandals – sex acts with interns to Marilyn Monroe affair

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January 20 will mark the start of a new chapter for the United States when Joe Biden gets sworn in as the 46th President.

A star-studded inauguration has been planned, with actor Tom Hanks presenting a 90-minute prime time special alongside performances by Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Timberlake and Demi Lovato among others.

Many are hoping Biden's leadership will herald the dawn of a new era following his predecessor Donald Trump's controversial term in office.

Trouble-causing Trump infamously suggested bleach injections as a cure for Covid and was the first ever president to be impeached twice, the second time for allegedly inciting insurrection in the Capitol riots.

But the Republican leader isn't the only top dog or hopeful to have landed themselves in hot water…

Bill Clinton – Monica Lewinski

Bill Clinton denied getting intimate with intern Monica Lewinsky, but soon changed his tune
(Image: Getty Images)

President Bill Clinton makes a speech in which he denies the allegations
(Image: Reuters)

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The world was agog in 1998 when president Bill Clinton uttered those immortal words: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

Of course, that turned out to be a fib – and after months of speculation, the politician was forced to admit he had an “improper physical relationship” with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

The grubby scandal led to the impeachment of the President on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.

Clinton was later acquitted of all charges and remained in office but his reputation took a beating and the scandal had knock-on effects for the following presidential campaign.

John F Kennedy – Marilyn Monroe

JFK is said to have had an affair with Marilyn Monroe
(Image: The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

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The slain American president was just as famous for his numerous affairs as he was for his marriage to the glamorous and long-suffering Jackie Kennedy.

The most well-known of his flings was with Marilyn Monroe, who he met at a party after she sang "Happy Birthday" to the 37th president at a Democratic Party fund-raiser in 1962.

JFK invited Monroe to Palm Springs with him a few weeks later on a trip that would, of course, not include his wife.

The affair was said to have only lasted a few days; another notch on the president's bedstead.

And in 2012, former White House intern, Mimi Alford, released a memoir recounting that when she was 19-years-old, she lost her virginity to the president in the first lady's bedroom.

She said that she always called him, "Mr President," and that they never kissed on the lips.

Richard Nixon – Watergate

Richard Nixon is the only US president to have stood down
(Image: PA)

The scandal kicked off when the Republican Nixon administration tried to hide its involvement in the June 1972 break-in of the Democrat's HQ at the Watergate hotel in Washington.

When the five perpetrators were caught, they were found to be carrying cash that was linked to the Nixon re-election campaign committee.

Mark Felt, known as 'Deep Throat' was the famous FBI mole who helped topple Nixon.

Felt sparked the biggest political drama ever when he tipped off reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein about the raid but kept his identity a secret until 2005.

In his memoirs, he wrote: "People will debate for a long time whether I did the right thing. But we got the whole truth out, and isn't that what the FBI is supposed to do?"

Threatened with impeachment, the president resigned over the scandal, which was made into movie All The President's men.

Gary Hart – Model affair

American politician Gary Hart initially denied having an affair with model Donna Rice

In early 1987, Gary Hart, the former senator of Colorado, was the Democratic front-runner for the party's presidential nomination for the 1988 election.

Yet soon after announcing his candidacy in April 1987, rumours started to circulate that he was having an affair.

Hart's response to the press? "Follow me around. I don't care. I'm serious. If anybody wants to put a tail on me, go ahead."

The Miami Herald had already been pursuing Hart and discovered he had been seeing a 29-year-old model called Donna Rice. Hart withdrew from the race a week later.

Yet a month later, a now infamous image emerged of Rice sitting on Hart's knee on a dock, with the former senator wearing a t-shirt with the slogan "Monkey Business," the name of his boat.

Hart re-entered the presidential race at the end of the year, but polled poorly, the scandal and the infamous image causing his career significant damage. He never returned to politics.

John Edwards – Love child

John Edwards and Rielle Hunter

In December 2006, John Edwards, the former North Carolina senator and potential presidential candidate, hired a campaign worker called Rielle Hunter.

A year later, reports started to emerge that he had had an affair with Hunter, and further still, that he had fathered a child with her.

After first denying the claims and staying in the presidential race, Edwards did admit to the affair in late 2008, but he did not admit to fathering the child until early 2010.

The news of the affair tarnished Edwards' image because it happened while his wife was undergoing treatment for cancer, and soon after he admitted fathering the child, his wife filed for divorce.

She died later that year.