Gen. David Petraeus has long been a controversial, larger-than-life figure, but the recent revelation of his affair with his biographer has transformed his name into a household word -- and into a cautionary tale. As the former head of the CIA watches a promising political future evaporate around him, it's clear that he has only begun to face the consequences of his tryst with Paula Broadwell.
But in the grand history of marital infidelity, Petraeus barely warrants a footnote. His affair, while personally and professionally costly, will not result in the end of a political dynasty, the loss of a crown, or a payout of billions of dollars. In the hopes of getting a little more perspective on the subject, we've done some research into history's most expensive affairs. So if you're interested in exploring just how much a little infidelity can cost, click through the gallery above.
1. What was the most devastating political affair in U.S. history?
A. Teddy Kennedy's relationship with Mary Jo Kopechne
B. John Edwards' relationship with Rielle Hunter
C. Barney Frank's relationship with Steve Gobie
D. Gary Hart's relationship with Donna Rice
While all four relationships were costly, Teddy Kennedy's late-night assignation with campaign worker Mary Jo Kopechne, and her subsequent death after he drove his car off a pier in Martha's Vineyard, likely cost him the presidency. Kennedy decided not to run in 1972 and 1976, and his last stand on the presidential stage was a 1980 primary battle that he lost to Jimmy Carter. His defeat in 1980 was partially due to a devastating interview with Roger Mudd, in which the newsman grilled Kennedy on -- you guessed it -- Chappaquiddick.
2. Which athlete had the most expensive off-the-field affair?
A. Tiger Woods
B. Michael Jordan
C. Kobe Bryant
D. Alex Rodriguez
While Tiger Woods' cheating ultimately led to a divorce from his wife, Elin Nordegren, his estimated $100 million settlement pales beside that of Michael Jordan. At an estimated $150 million, Jordan's divorce remains one of the most expensive in history.
3. Which royal paramour cost her boyfriend the British crown?
A. Anne Boleyn
B. Camilla Parker-Bowles
C. Wallis Simpson
D. Henrietta Pussycat
While Anne Boleyn was partially responsible for the creation of the Church of England, her boyfriend -- later husband -- King Henry VIII managed to hold on to the throne. The same cannot be said of King Edward VIII, who abdicated the British throne to marry the woman he loved, Wallis Simpson.
4. Who had the most expensive affair of all time?
A. Rupert Murdoch
B. Adnan Khoshoggi
C. Donald Trump
D. John Paul Getty
While Donald Trump's divorce from Ivana Trump generated more headlines, his ultimate payout of $25 million is pocket change compared to the amount that Rupert Murdoch had to shell out in order to leave his wife, Anna, so he could marry his girlfriend, Wendi Deng. At an estimated $1.7 billion, it is the most expensive divorce on record.
5. Which actor's (alleged) affair was the most expensive?
A. Harrison Ford
B. Steven Spielberg
C. Kevin Costner
D. Mel Gibson
Answer: While all four actors were caught in expensive, embarrassing divorces, the winner -- by far -- is Mel Gibson. In 2009, following the publication of photos depicting Gibson with Russian pianist Oksana Grigorieva, his wife Robyn filed for divorce. The ultimate settlement was for $425 million -- half of Gibson's total wealth.
6. Which political mistress profited the most from her affair?
A. Christine Keeler
B. Monica Lewinsky
C. Rielle Hunter
D. Ashley Dupre
Although the $1,720 per hour that Ashley Dupre allegedly received from New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer is certainly on the high end of the compensation scale, it pales beside the money that Monica Lewinsky has earned as a result of her affair with Bill Clinton. Her interview with Barbara Walters netted her an estimated $1 million, while her involvement with "Monica's Story," a book about the scandal, paid a further $500,000. She also received $300,000 to be a celebrity spokesperson for weight-loss company Jenny Craig and, more recently, was offered an estimated $12 million to tell her side of the story.
Bruce Watson is a senior features writer for DailyFinance. You can reach him by e-mail at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.