Relive the Biggest Holiday Weekend Scandals

Surprise! Tom DeLay was just convicted, joining a long list of famous faces that made news during a quiet dumping ground. Rebecca Dana remembers the divorces, pardons, and resignations.

Sipa / AP Photo

Sipa / AP Photo

Maria Serves Arnold With Divorce Papers, Fourth of July 2011

Kicking off Fourth of July weekend, Maria Shriver filed for divorce from Arnold Schwarzenegger, citing “irreconcilable differences.” Shriver is seeking joint custody of the couple’s two minor children, 17-year-old Patrick and 13-year-old Christopher. The Kennedy scion also asked for spousal support and is seeking for the judge to deny support for Schwarzenegger. According to the court documents obtained by TMZ, there is no prenup, so all of their earnings over the past 25 years will be split 50-50. Sources said that Shriver and Schwarzenegger are on speaking terms and Schwarzenegger knew Shriver would be filing the divorce papers today—and Shriver has been telling people she hopes this will be an easy and amicable divorce. Shriver and Schwarzenegger announced they would be separating in May after 25 years of marriage; it was later revealed that Schwarzenegger fathered a child with another woman.


Susan Walsh / AP Photo

Al and Tipper Gore Split, Memorial Day '10

The Gores were once known as Washington's perfect family. The high school sweethearts married at the Washington National Cathedral in 1970 and became parents to four children. They weathered through the near-death of their youngest, Albert III, in a car accident, Al's sister's untimely death, and then his White House defeat in 2000. But after 40 years, the couple called it quits, announcing over Memorial Day weekend they were separating. Despite rumors that the former veep got inappropriate with a masseuse, the couple has largely managed to stay out of the tabloids.

Chris Pizzello / AP Photo

Charlie Sheen Threatens Wife, Christmas Day 2009

Holidays often bring out the worst in people, but Christmas 2009 really brought out the worst in Charlie Sheen. The bad-boy actor topped his own record for mischief when he was arrested in the wee hours of December 25 for threatening to kill his wife Brooke Mueller and chasing her around an Aspen ski cabin with a switchblade. He spent Christmas Day in jail, and although the story made plenty of headlines in the end-of-the-year news dump, Sheen managed to thrive in the following months, even earning the nickname " Teflon Charlie." Of course, it wasn't long before he landed himself back in the tabloids.

Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP Photo

Elin Nordegren and Tiger Woods Fight, Thanksgiving 2009

The car crash heard 'round the world happened during the early hours of November 27 on the typically quiet Friday after Thanksgiving. Although the National Enquirer first reported Tiger Woods cheated with Rachel Uchitel two days earlier, the stories about Woods' drug-filled sexual adventures surfaced much later. The holiday weekend, though, set the scene for a whole lot of marital strife. Initially, news reports claimed Woods was in a car accident and Nordegren broke the front window to save him. Later, we found out the real (and dirty) details: His now-ex-wife texted Uchitel, posing as Woods, and then woke him up in a rage. She reportedly chased him throughout the house with his golf clubs, before he attempted to escape in his car—and then crashed it into a tree.

Gerald Herbert / AP Photo

Salahis Crash White House, Thanksgiving 2009

A White House state dinner is not supposed to be tabloid-worthy, but the Tuesday night before Thanksgiving bucked that trend when Tariq and Michaele Salahi came to town. The Salahis, who would later star in the Bravo reality show The Real Housewives of D.C., allegedly crashed the party—apparently, the guards allowed them in because of her looks—and were photographed with the vice president and Rahm Emanuel. The news hit the day before Thanksgiving, with the White House officially apologizing by the end of the day. But there was more to come: Although the Salahis never faced any official charges over the incident, it was documented as the ultimate reality-TV stunt in the finale of Real Housewives.

Carlos Osorio / AP Photo

Van Jones Resigns, Labor Day 2009

As far as scandals go, Obama's environmental adviser Van Jones' Labor Day resignation shouldn't have been a big deal—except for the details that came out in the days before. On September 3, Jones signed a "truther" petition for 911Truth.org, a group that alleged the government had a role in the September 11 terrorist attack. Once right-wing pundits got wind of Jones' involvement, they immediately began calling for his resignation. And the slow news cycle of Labor Day turned into a Jones-fest as rumors swirled about how close he was to Obama, or whether Obama would ask for his resignation. Jones insisted the whole affair was a "vicious smear campaign," but he did resign on September 6 before Labor Day weekend was over.

Al Grillo / AP Photo

Sarah Palin Resigns, Fourth of July, 2009

There's no better way to go out with a bang than Sarah Palin's exit from Alaska's governor's mansion. On the afternoon of Friday, July 3, Palin announced her resignation, setting off frenzied discussion over what prompted her to quit. Any pundit or commentator who had the bad fortune to have a late flight on July 3 ended up spending the entire weekend speculating whether she was forced to resign due to scandal, whether she was running for president or dozens of other possible options. Tina Fey later called Palin "an inspiration to working mothers everywhere because she bailed on her job right before Fourth of July weekend. You are living my dream. Thank you Mrs. Palin!"

Chris Pizzello / AP Photo

Sean and Robin Wright Penn Split, Christmas 2007

Despite Sean Penn's wild past, he and wife Robin Wright usually managed to stay out of the tabloids—until their Christmas split in 2007. They filed for divorce on December 21, and Penn was spotted on Christmas Day on a date with another woman. The separation didn't last long: Four months later, they reconciled, but Penn filed for legal separation in April 2009, and the couple temporarily reunited a month later. That proved short-lived as well: Wright filed for divorce in August 2009 and their divorce was finalized a year later.

J.. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

W. Commutes Scooter Libby's Prison Sentence, July 4, 2007

Before Sarah Palin marked the July 4th weekend for herself, former President George W. Bush also tried to bury a news story before the holiday weekend. On July 2, 2007, Bush made the controversial decision to commute the prison sentence of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the former chief of staff to Dick Cheney. Libby was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in federal prison for allegedly lying to FBI agents and a grand jury during the investigation into the leaking of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity. Although commuting the sentence stopped short of giving Libby a full presidential pardon—still favored by many conservatives, including Cheney—it still did not absolve Libby and he was forced to pay $250,000 in court fines.

Patrick Gardin / AP Photo

Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston Split, New Year's 2005

It seems so long ago now, but on New Year's weekend 2005, Hollywood golden couple Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston called it quits. The duo went on a Caribbean vacation over the New Year's holiday with the now-separated Courteney Cox and David Arquette and announced their split upon their return on January 7. They were dogged by rumors of why they split, but remained mum. It wasn't until photos surfaced in April 2005 of Pitt vacationing with Angelina Jolie and her son, Maddox, that everyone realized the Pitt-Aniston split—despite coming out during New Year's, the time for renewals—was final.

David McGough / Getty Images

Rush Limbaugh Divorces, Christmas 2004

Although Rush Limbaugh wasted no time in branding Al Gore a hypocrite for his divorce, Limbaugh certainly has his own fraught history with marriage. Limbaugh and third wife, Marta Fitzgerald, finalized their divorce on December 21, 2004, but this was after Limbaugh went to a Thanksgiving meal with CNN Live Today co-host Daryn Kagan. The news of their relationship didn't break until Kagan introduced Limbaugh as the "man in her life" at the CNN Christmas party. Awkward.

AP Photo

George H.W. Bush Pardons Iran-Contra Participants, Christmas 1992

Just before leaving office in 1992, former President George H.W. Bush bestowed a pretty hefty Christmas gift to six former Reagan administration officials. Although dropping the story into the Christmas Day news dump was probably not necessary for Bush's popularity—he had already lost to Bill Clinton by then—on Christmas Eve 1992, Bush erased one conviction, three guilty pleas and two pending cases, granting six pardons total. Although President-elect Bill Clinton said he wanted to know more about the pardons, Clinton himself would be swept up in his own pardoning scandal in 2001, just hours before George W. Bush took office.

Joe Cavaretta / AP Photo

Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson Divorce, Thanksgiving 2005

Reality TV's original Newlyweds had a whopper of an announcement before spending the Thanksgiving holiday with their families: They announced their split hours before Turkey Day 2005. The two issued a polite statement about their separation after three years of marriage, but over the holiday weekend, rumors flew about who was really at fault. Although they claimed the split was amicable, sources close to the couple said Simpson asked Lachey to still spend Thanksgiving with her family, but he reportedly refused and she went home alone.

Danny Moloshok / AP Photo

Britney Spears and Kevin Federline Divorce, Election Day 2006

Brit probably hoped that announcing her divorce from K-Fed during the much-ballyhooed '06 midterm elections would keep them out of the tabloids. Spears appeared on David Letterman the night before looking healthy and happy (better than she would look for months afterward) and the couple announced their split the next day on November 7. Despite the big news of the Democrats winning back the House and Senate, Spears' divorce announcement, coming less than two months before the birth of their second son, Jayden James, still managed to grab headlines. That's counterprogramming at its finest.