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The Mistress

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These are not the short-term flings, the one-night stands, or the casual extramarital friends with benefits. They are long-term lovers who have spent years, sometimes decades, single and involved with married men. [...] This seems to be more typically a female variety of suffering, and it’s no accident that the epithets applied to them do not have masculine equivalents. [...] I have met plenty of men who were the lovers of married women (or married men, for that matter). But I have yet to meet a man who was single and gave his love to another man’s wife for thirty years, hoping that she would leave and come and make a family with him.
Esther Perel, The State of Affairs

Basically the next level up from adultery, but not quite equal to a concubine. She is the usually long-term girlfriend of an already married man. Sometimes the affair is public, but just as often it is not.

The reasons can vary: the most common being that the husband just doesn't care enough for his wife, especially if they are in an Arranged Marriage. Sometimes it's actually expected within a culture, particularly for people of high rank (even if kept private). Sometimes the wife can even drive her husband to this, but just as often she can be a kind woman, or even a Hot Consort.

Some mistresses will be happy with their position, but others will want their lover to leave his wife and marry them. Occasionally, the latter could even lead to attempts to get rid of the wife. Needless to say, if the wife wasn't aware of her existence and finds out, the mistress is very likely to die at her hands, if the man isn't the one to die.


Crime Fiction stories often involve this trope, as it conveniently gives everyone involved a motive for murdering at least one of the Love Triangle. The more mistresses, the more potential red herrings/victims.

There are a lot of historical examples, because European aristocratic marriages were almost always purely political. It was generally accepted that the husband and (though less tolerated, if only because accidents could wreak havoc with the succession) wife would take lovers to provide the emotional fulfillment they may not be getting from their marriage. It was usually considered bad form to be conspicuous about it, but not always. In some countries, such as France, the royal mistress was even an official position; she was designated 'maîtresse-en-titre' and had her own special apartments. Formalizing and legitimizing it made things less awkward in public, and it also made it easier to keep tabs on any illegitimate children who might one day contest the throne.


Compare The Unfair Sex, Oops! I Forgot I Was Married (if the mistress does not know about the other's family), Dark Mistress (who is not an evil version of this, despite the name). Many a Trophy Wife starts out this way, although it is by no means guaranteed that she'll eventually become his wife...or, for that matter, that every (usually second or third) marriage between an older (and usually rich) man and a younger woman started out this way. A Royal Harem is an officially established and sanctioned legion of mistresses. When the mistress has kids, and the man helps her raise them behind his wife's back, that's Secret Other Family. See also Good Adultery, Bad Adultery. And if you can think of a perfectly equivalent, accurate term with the exact same connotations for the Spear Counterpart, please let us know — society has yet to come up with one.

Not to be confused with the other type of "Mistress", nor with a feminine form of The Master.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ascendance of a Bookworm: Taking mistresses is apparently a common practice among high-ranking men, to the point that young girls are sometimes promised as future mistresses as some sort of loose equivalent to an engagement. Noblemen, even the most low-ranking ones, are absolutely not supposed to properly marry outside of nobility, so the only Nobility Marries Money arrangement that is mentioned in the story has the "money" side slated to become a mistress. The male head of the temple doesn't have a wife, but plenty of mistresses. The children of mistresses are considered illegitimate children despite this, though having a noble father can let them get a few perks of nobility such as going to the setting's Wizarding School.
  • In Fate/Zero Kiritsugu and Maiya have known each other for a long time and have been sleeping together for some time, even after his marriage to Irisviel and despite the fact that Kiritsugu actually loves his wife.
  • Akeno takes the place of Issei's Mistress in High School D×D. In a twist, Top Wife Rias is not only aware of this, but openly condones it, since Akeno is her best friend and Rias knows Akeno has a kink for being the other woman. Even when the rest of Issei's harem eventually marry him and take his name, Akeno never does - it's hard to cheat with your own husband!
  • In Yuu Mishouzaki's The Legend of Zelda manga, the previous Queen Zelda had an elf lover behind her husband's back. Link is the result of that affair. As her husband was terribly prejuiced against elves, the half-elf Link was sent away without knowing his relationship to the Hyrulian royal family.
  • Nodoka gets the idea of being this in Mahou Sensei Negima! when her subconscious suggests a solution to a Love Triangle she's in. That suggestion is "saishoudoukin," a situation where a man keeps a wife and a concubine in the same house.
  • Patlabor: The Movie 2: Back when Shinobu was a cadet at the Tsuge Institute, she had an affair with the instructor, himself, despite knowing he was married. It was both a breach of police protocol and ethics. Word of the affair soon got out, reaching as far as he top brass, which created a scandalnote . The stigma barred Shinobu from ever attaining a seat among the higher-ups, which forced her to settle for a position at the SVUnote .
  • This trope is referenced in Ranma ½. One of the things Ranma does to try and get Ukyo to dump him is to tell her he's going to go spend the night with his mistress. Made funnier when he enters Akane's room and tries to convince her to go along with it. She really doesn't take it well.
  • Rosario + Vampire makes use of it overtly; in the case of those seeking Tsukune's love only one has expressed real interest in marriage, with the others either outright saying they want to be something else to him, or simply showing no great interest either way. However more subtly when we finally discover the full picture of the Shuzen family, we learn that not only was Issa casually polygamous, but it is implied that among his partners, Moka's mother Akasha Bloodriver is Issa Shuzen's mistress rather then his wife. This despite also being a Shinso vampire and one of the Three Dark Lords, who control/watch over Japan.
  • Being set at the court of Versailles in the years preceding The French Revolution, The Rose of Versailles has various examples.
    • The most notable being Madame Du Barry (the mistress of King Louis XV and an early villain and enemy of Marie Antoinette). At the time, as explained by Madame De Polignac, it was so common for married nobles to have a lover on the side that people were astonished that Louis XVI and Oscar's father had none, and many were willing to believe that Fersen was Marie Antoinette's lover because it made more sense than Marie Antoinette refusing to consummate their love because of her duty as the queen.
    • Speaking of Madame De Polignac... Her lover was her brother-in-law.
    • When it came to Oscar's father, when a child showed up and claimed he was his son from his late mistress everyone but Oscar's mother believed it because it just made more sense than the opposite - though Andrè's grandmother was pissed for his infidelity. Eventually it turned out he was the son of a different officer that, when the relationship started, claimed to be the Count of Jarjayes because he felt he wasn't important enough to have that woman as his mistress, and even after being promoted never got around explaining the truth.
    • For Marie Antoinette, it's heavily implied that they wanted to consume their relationship, but decided to wait until her legitimate children were relatively old so to not imperil the succession. They eventually consume their relationship before the Flight to Varennes after Louis XVI, who had known the whole time and pretended not to know because he trusted her and it made her happy, gave them implicit permission.
    • When it appeared that he would marry Oscar, Girodelle told André he would allow him to be Oscar's lover if they both wished. That is how easily it was accepted.
  • Set in (last years) Victorian England, Count Roland of Under The Rose manga has two mistresses. One is glamorous, pretty, dughter of declined Marquis Grace King and clumsy, plain jane who was his former intern Margareth Stanley. It says a lot when each of the mistresses has more active role in children, sans William who is his mother's (legitimate wife) favorite. Yes, it is Seinen featuring Disfunctional Family.

    Comic Books 
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Lisa Abernathy has been in a long term secret relationship with the married senator Brad Covington, who is implied to be her elementary school aged daughter's father. She is pissed when she realizes Gen. Darnell has figured out that she and Brad are dating.

    Fan Works 
  • "Heis'he Ri'nanovai": Morgan t'Thavrau realizes by looking at genetic records recovered from the ruins of Romulus she was conceived as the result of an adulterous affair between Merken tr'Vreenak, then a prefectural governor, and his chief of staff Iliana. It's unclear how long the affair went on but Iliana had worked for him for nine years. Morgan surmises her parents ended the affair and kept her paternity a secret to avoid inter-clan blood feuds, never mind a scandal that would've ended both their careers.
  • Their Bond: It's noted that one of the previous princesses of Hyrule, Eldora, had a lover in her brother. It's even speculated that her children were really his, not her husband's. The king himself also had a mistress in one of his maids. His maid had his kids and it's been noted that the children were friends with one another. The marriages were non-romantic, so neither had any issue with each other taking lovers.
  • This is used for Deliberate Values Dissonance in Kindred. Aurora casually mentions that her father has eight mistresses (with one of them supposedly giving Aurora a half-sibling) and Mulan mentions that her father has one as well. Jasmine's father had a harem until he killed them all because one of them wasn't faithful while the emperor of China has several hundred concubines.
  • Anastasia/Quasimodo – We Hit a Wall: The story starts wifh Lady Tremaine finding out about her husband's young mistress, Esmeralda. In the end, she has her killed, though this leads her husband to kill himself a few days later.
  • In Aphelion, Ty Lee begins having an affair with her wife's married brother Zuko after Azula runs off because she's scared of emotionally hurting her family. She even ends up pregnant by him. When Zuko's wife finds out, she temporarily leaves with their daughter.
  • A lot of the drama in Metamorphosis comes from Sachiko asking Yumi to be her mistress after she marries her gay arranged husband. Sachiko, being the ojou she is, words it as Yumi "living in the same room" (and, if Yumi likes, the same bed) as her, as "an adopted family member".
  • This is discussed in the first chapter of Fake due to the fact Sachiko is marrying a gay man. She guesses that Suguru will have his own lover, but wonders who will be her own. Sei is her first option for a mistress. Not because of the sex (Youko would be better for just that), but because she would kindly reject her advances.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 8 Women: Gaby and Marcel are married, but the latter slept regularly with Louise for five years prior to the story. Louise got hired as a maid in their house and the affair continued. Despite this and Gaby's outrage at finding out, Louise developed her own interest in Gaby and wants to be her maid.
  • In 68 Kill, Ken is Liza's sugar daddy, and the relationship is the main source of income for her and Chip.
  • Colette: Willy is keeping a mistress early on his marriage, until Colette makes him break it off. Later, Meg becomes his live-in mistress, with Colette's tacit approval.
  • Veronica Franco becomes this to Marco Venier in Dangerous Beauty, after having been a courtesan.
  • Helen's husband Charles has one in Diary of a Mad Black Woman , and she even had two children with him (meanwhile Helen had two miscarriages).
  • The book in Down with Love even makes mistresses unwilling to cooperate with men any more.
  • In Horrors of the Black Museum, Joan Berkley is Edmond Bancroft's mistress. The dialogue during their argument indicates that she is a kept woman, living entirely off Bancroft's largess. When she gets sick of Bancroft and breaks off their arrangement, Bancroft sends Rick to murder her.
  • In In the Mouth of Madness, an Insurance Fraud scam is found out when a guy claims a warehouse full of fur coats was supposedly destroyed, but he kept the coats, giving some to his wife, who ratted on him when it turned out he gave some to his mistress.
  • In Just the Way You Are, one of the women at the ski resort is having an affair with a married man. He was supposed to come to the ski resort, but his wife got sick, and his mistress was forced to room with Susan because she didn't have anywhere else to go.
  • In The Life of Oharu, Oharu is sold to a lord to be his concubine and deliver him an heir, the wife being barren. After she does deliver an heir, she is booted out of the lord's palace.
  • The Other Woman: Emilia, plays the eponymous role.
  • In Revenge, Jen is the mistress to the wealthy Richard. Richard claims he is only staying with his wife because of the children. However, after Jen is raped by Richard's friend Stan, Jen threatens to tell his wife what is going on if he does not resolve the situation. Richard then demonstrates that he has no intention of leaving his wife, and decides that Murder Is the Best Solution to get Jen out of the picture.
  • The titular character of Rosita is forced into being this to the lecherous King of Spain. When the Queen of Spain finds out, she is obviously annoyed. She ends up working with Rosita against her husband.
  • Lola's father has one in Run Lola Run, who convinces him to elope with her.
  • Sam's mistress in Ruthless People, who tries to blackmail him because she's sleeping with another man.
  • In Thunderball, Domino, the "Good Bond Girl", is the mistress of Monster of the Week Largo when she and Bond meet.
  • In What's the Worst That Could Happen?, Max Fairbanks is two-timing his wife with a mistress and is an asshole to both of them. Strangely enough he still is afraid of this affair being discovered (maybe because he doesn't wants to lose any money in the divorce) so Tiffany (the aforementioned lover) manages to make Max do what she wants a couple of times during the film by threatening to tell Max's wife.

  • The court in the Hurog duology has the official version - the queen's lover is appointed by the king, and the king has a male "favourite", who is country-wide known to be the one who shares his bed.
  • In The Great Gatsby, this is Blue Blood Tom Buchanan's relationship with Myrtle Wilson, who herself has an unhappy marriage with an auto mechanic.
  • In Katherine Kerr's Deverry series, Rhodry takes Jill as a mistress. He would have liked to marry her, and his allies do end up arranging things so she can be given a title to enable them to marry. However, fate has different plans in store for them and they can't... for reasons of destiny. It's acknowledged that this is common among the nobility due to the proliferation of political marriages; and in many cases the jilted spouse doesn't particularly mind as long as you are tactful and discreet.
  • One interpretation of the poem "The Rival" by Sylvia Plath (in Ariel (Plath)) is that the subject is an expy of the mistress of Plath's husband.
  • Discworld, Making Money: The bank's previous owner was the former mistress and later wife of the former chairman, mentioning that as his mistress, she had the wife's approval because it got him out of her hair for a while. He also had other lovers after they were married, under the same kind of arrangement. She was also good with numbers, which is why she remained in charge of the bank after his death. Before she passed on, she noted that standards have dropped and that now "the ability to spin upside down on a pole is considered sufficient".
  • Dune:
  • Petra Cotes in One Hundred Years of Solitude, doubling as one of the three hookers with hearts of gold.
  • In Guilty Wives, Winnie is revealed to have been the mistress of the President of France for some time before the action of the novel begins.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire plays with this trope constantly.
    • As part of the series's back story, King Aegon IV ("The Unworthy") had several semi-official mistresses, and thus several illegitimate children. As bastards, they weren't entitled to inherit, until the king legitimized them on his deathbed. Civil war resulted.
    • Some high lords keep mistresses; but they have no official standing and the relationship is considered adulterous and immoral. Such mistresses are kept behind closed doors and the relationship is kept officially secret, even if it's common knowledge. (Tyrion Lannister's whore/mistress is treated in this way, lest she be used against him by Cersei, or killed by Tywin.)
    • In Dorne, where looser standards of sexual morality are in play, mistresses can be given official status as paramours. The relationships are public and have no implication of shame. Even a Dornish member of the supposedly celibate Kingsguard kept one. In some cases, a man and wife will even share a paramour.
    • Daenerys Targaryen marries twice, but aside from that, has plenty of men and women to serve in her bed. The only one who has a regular position, however, is a mercenary named Daario Naharis who she retains even after she remarries.
    • Melisandre is implied to be this to Stannis Baratheon.
  • In Les Misérables, Marius's grandfather has had many mistresses over the course of his life, and believes it's better to take a woman as a mistress than to actually marry her. When Marius tells his grandfather about Cosette, his immediate advice is to keep her as a mistress instead of as a legal wife (Marius, who reveres Cosette, finds the idea of dishonoring her so much to be unspeakable).
  • In Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, Rochester's past is filled with lovers — usually rich and well-known performers, such as Céline Varens. At the time of the novel, he says he's grown tired of keeping girlfriends. After their would-be wedding is busted, Rochester offers this position to Jane. Jane realizes she could not possibly live with herself in this way, and leaves him.
  • In In the Time of the Butterflies, Papa has another family with three other children in addition to the four daughters he has with his wife.
  • In The Last Herald-Mage Trilogy, King Randale's beloved Herald Shavri is officially this, mainly because the option of a State Marriage had to be left open. Shavri even talked Vanyel into siring a child upon her in large part to hide the fact that a wasting disease had rendered the king sterile (little did she know that said "byblow" would marry into the collateral line that eventually got the throne).
  • Goes both ways in Star Craft Ghost Nova. It's explained that, due to marriages among the Confederacy's aristocracy on Tarsonis being invariably political in nature, it's expected that both husband and wife will have mistresses (called a "jig" in the wife's case). Nova's parents hate each other so much they've apparently never actually had sex with each other: she was conceived via IVF.
  • Elsabeth Soesten:
    • Although he's not married, Lord Cuncz offers to make Elsabeth this at the end of No Good Deed... She rightly surmises he's really doing it as a means to keep an eye on her because She Knows Too Much about his identity and declines. For his part, Cuncz remains gracious at her refusal.
    • Cuncz himself is the product of a relationship between a rival lord and his favorite mistress. The woman died in childbirth, and the local Abbot used the infant Cuncz as part of his efforts to build a power base against his own political rival.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In 'Allo 'Allo!, Rene is cheating on his wife with Yvette, and cheating on both of them with Maria. Later he also cheats with Mimi, Michelle, Denise La Roche, Louise, and possibly most of the Communist Resistance. And apparently this wasn't all of them.
  • Charite has young actress Hedwig Freiberg becoming this for renowned Professor Robert Koch. Koch's wife, whose marriage with him has long come to an end emotionally, doesn't want to divorce (it's late 19th century; divorces are still considered a great disgrace), but she'll accept the affair as long as it's kept discreet. Works out until an immoral journalist finds he can profit from turning the relationship into a public scandal. After following through with a divorce after all, Koch winds up happily Remarried to the Mistress.
  • Lucrezia Donati is this to Lorenzo de' Medici on Da Vinci's Demons. At one point she and Lorenzo's wife come face-to-face, and the conversation is surprisingly civil. When Lucrezia asks how Clarice can bear to look at her, Clarice simply points out that "you will never be up on that wall" (that is, the mural that depicts Lorenzo's family).
  • Spoofed in Designing Women, when they get a mistress to stop seeing a married man, but the wife was angry, because she knew about the affair and was having her own.
  • Desperate Housewives wouldn't really be Desperate Housewives if it didn't have at least one mistress per season.
  • Doctor Who: "The Girl in the Fireplace" revolves around Madame de Pompadour, the mistress of King Louis XV Bourbon of France.
  • In the Firefly episode "Shindig", Atherton Wing wanted Inara for one of these. Mal objected to his possessivity, leading to a sword duel over her honor. It's indicated in the pilot that Inara gets these kinds of offers on a regular basis, and we find out after all's said and done that she had no intention of accepting the offer in the first place.
  • A French Village: Three adulterous relationships on the show are long-term:
    • Marie is with Raymond, although they later break it off.
    • Hortense and Müller, who get a fake marriage certificate later.
    • Sarah and Daniel, until she goes into hiding to escape arrest for being Jewish.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • In a rare male example, Loras Tyrell fulfills this role when his lover Renly Baratheon marries Loras' sister Margaery. Verges on an Open Secret, if the amount of sarcastic references to the relationship is any indication. At one point the exclusively homosexual Renly is trying to make excuses for not consummating the marriage, to which Margaery suggests in all seriousness that they bring Loras in to "get him started". Renly thinks this is an insult, but she actually fully accepts that the marriage is a political sham while Loras is his real lover; she just thinks they need to have an heir to cement the alliance.
    • Shae after Tyrion marries Sansa.
    • Melisandre for Stannis, though they only have sex once to spawn the Living Shadow that kills Renly.
  • Kaamelott: Arthur has up to four mistresses at any given time, going from one to the other as his needs warrant. Hilarity Ensues when a rumor spreads of his rebuking the queen, and each girl tries to convince him to marry her.
  • In Madam Secretary, Elizabeth's chief of staff Nadine Tolliver, whom she inherited from the preceding Secretary of State Vincent Marsh, confesses midway through season one that she had been Marsh's mistress for six years. He was basically stringing her along saying he was going to divorce his wife, while using her authority to help him plot the overthrow of the Iranian government.
    Nadine: I swear, I'm glad he's dead.
  • The Musketeers: In the second season King Louis XIII takes Milady de Winter as his official mistress leaving Queen Anne humiliated by his publicly flaunting Milady. Aramis, who has feelings for Anne, is furious at the way she's being treated and Athos, who used to be married to Milady, is so unable to deal with it that he abandons guard duty and returns to the garrison so he can avoid them.
  • On My Name Is Earl, Earl had a Bad Boss with a hot blonde wife and an equally hot brunette girlfriend on the side. When Earl punches him (landing him in the hospital), the two women show up to be by his side... and find out about each other's existence. When the (soon-to-be-ex) wife is giving him a Defenestrate and Berate, she finds the money he's been laundering and he winds up in prison. He loses both his wife and his girlfriend... but he does become his cellmate's prison bitch. (With a coffee mug that has "World's Best Bottom" scrawled on it.)
  • An extremely rare Gender Flip version appears on The Office (US), during the plotline where Michael thinks his girlfriend Donna is cheating on him but it turns out that the "other man" is her husband: "I'M the mistress?"
  • In the first time in Quantum Leap where Sam leapt into a woman, he was there to save "his" roommate from committing suicide over an relationship with her boss - she thought her boss would leave his wife for her, but the wife made it clear to her that she tolerated his "indiscretions" but they would never break up (and she was a former mistress of the boss herself, having broken up his previous marriage).
  • Scandal:
    • Olivia Pope used to be the President's Press Secretary as well as his mistress. Mellie, the President's wife, knew about it and was generally fine with it since the marriage was purely a political one at this point. The people who knew assumed that when the President's term in office was over he would divorce Mellie and marry Olivia. However, Olivia threw a wrench into the arrangement by breaking off the relationship and quitting her job. Throughout the series the President tries to rekindle the relationship but Olivia is tired of the lies and betrayals. In season 2 the relationship between them turns outright toxic.
    • One of Olivia's clients turns out to be a male example of this. He is in love with his brother's wife and they have been having a clandestine relationship for more than a decade. Olivia gives him a "The Reason You Suck" Speech where she explains why such an arrangement is not a real relationship and he needs to end it if he wants to be ever truly happy. Of course she is partly talking about herself as well.
  • The Sopranos: Almost every made guy has a "Comare" (pronounced "goomah" by everyone,note  meaning "godmother" in Sicilian dialect, but slang for mistress) on top of their wives who they won't divorce for their Catholic beliefs. For the main character, it becomes a major plot device when one of his mistresses actually contacts his home pushing his wife to call it quits, albeit temporarily.
  • Hilariously, on the last season of The Tudors, Charles Brandon introduces his French girlfriend to people as his "official mistress". Less hilariously, in an earlier season, Henry offered this position to Anne Boleyn when he was still married to Catherine of Aragon. To say that Anne refused is underselling the reaction.
  • The War of the Worlds: Amy starts out this way, as George is revealed to have a wife already. He never gets formally divorced, though he later says Amy is his wife. She later expresses guilt about their affair. His wife thinks he did this because she can't give him a child, and so he's moved on to a woman who can, though he insists it's because Amy is his soulmate. True of his motive or not, Amy does give birth to their baby later.
  • The White Queen: Jane Shore is King Edward IV's favourite mistress.

  • "Can't Let U Go" by Fabolous is about a man who is already married, and is torn between his wife and his girlfriend (and trying to keep the former from finding out about the latter). For now, he decides to secretly have his cake and eat it too, because "the entree ain't as good without something on the side". For her part, the mistress knows full well that her boyfriend is already married, and is apparently OK with the status quo.
  • "Saving All My Love For You", by Whitney Houston, is from the mistress's POV as she laments that her paramour is being about as honest with her as he is with his wife and family.
  • "Two Black Cadillacs" is a Murder Ballad by Carrie Underwood about two women who find out that their husband and boyfriend, respectively, has been two-timing them, and collaborate to kill him. They get away with it, too.
  • "illicit affairs" by Taylor Swift is from the perspective of a woman who's been carrying on with someone who's married for a long time. It's a Deconstructed Character Archetype, as the narrator is obviously unhappy with having to sneak around and being kept a secret, but she loves her partner too much to really consider ending it, making her come off as quite the Love Martyr.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Vince McMahon Jr has had several, the most famous of them being Trish Stratus. Stratus did very little to hide her status, thinking herself hot stuff, and part of what made her role famous was a rare feud that had Jr's daughter Stephanie McMahon as a baby face of sorts against Trish. The other famous part was when Vince Jr made it publicly known that Trish was just a toy he was getting bored of, and had her on all fours barking like a dog to keep her job. This had the side effect of turning Stratus face against the entire McMahon family, Stephanie included, except Vince Jr's wife Linda, who was oddly sympathetic towards Trish in spite of her displeasure with her husband's infidelity.
  • Torrie Wilson, Victoria and Candice Michelle, the Girl Posse known as Vince's Devils, had the distinction of serving as Vince Jr's mistresses all at once while feuding with a former mistress of Jr's, Trish Stratus. Granted, the feud was over Ashley Massaro asking Stratus for help after weeks being bullied by the three, as well as Stratus having the women's title belt that said Devils ended up turning on each other over. Still, there was a moment when Michelle had the gall to call Stratus a slut.


  • Cyrano de Bergerac: De Guiche wants to bully heroine Roxane into this. She will have none of it.
  • In The Rose Tattoo, Estelle Hohengarten, a blackjack dealer from Texas who works at the Square Roof on the Esplanade, has an affair with Rosario delle Rose whose one-year anniversary was to have been celebrated on the day of his funeral. Of course, everybody knows about it but his wife, who only acknowledges it several years later.

    Video Games 
  • Princess Maker:
    • The second game as a possible ending with the girl as the lover of a local landlord as well. Said landlord can potentially show up earlier and make the girl his lover if she has high Charisma with low Morals — it's not recommended to just let her be, though, as she'll get a rather nice allowance from him every month but her stats and overall rep will go lower.
    • In said second game the King of the Land also has a royal concubine, and the daughter can speak to her. She seems to be a pretty but deadly bored woman rather disenchanted with the life of the court, but unwilling to leave it due to the benefits it still gives her.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade King Desmond of Bern has a son (Zephiel) by the queen (Helenne), and a daughter (Guinevere) by his unnamed mistress. His illegitimate family lives in the palace, while his official one lives in an old out-of-the way manor. It's explained in the earlier-released Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade that said mistress was actually the King's old girlfriend, whom the King couldn't marry due to being forced in an Arranged Marriage with the Queen.. Needless to say, it does NOT end well.
    • In Fire Emblem Fates, King Garon of Nohr had many mistresses and some of these women gave him children. This made the Decadent Court even worse than it already was, as the concubines started in-fighting each other and using their kids as leverage; it got so bad that out of all the kids born and raised in such an entourage, only four remained (one of them being the sole legitimate child and heir).
      • It's quite strongly implied that Mikoto, the widow of King Sumeragi and the Queen Regnant of Hoshido, was his mistress first and only married him after he was widowed. Unlike the above-mentioned Garon's case, Mikoto was Sumeragi's only known lover (especially in the localization, which takes away a line implying that Sumeragi used to sleep around before being enthroned) and that she never gave him children - the mother of the Hoshidan Royal Siblings was the late legitimate Queen, Ikona, whereas Mikoto's child (the Avatar) was already born before she arrived to Hoshido, and his/her birth father is someone else.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, if a Female Warden makes Alistair king and cannot/will not make herself queen and are in a romance, and provided he became "hardened" earlier, she may become his mistress. Not just a mistress, though, she may be his adviser, as well. A human noble Warden who marries the new monarch but is in a relationship with Zevran or a hardened Leliana can similarly keep their lover around.
  • Further on down the series line, Inquisition companion Vivienne has a lot of political clout for a mage due to being the mistress of an Orlesian count. His wife approved of the situation; the two of them got along splendidly, and Vivienne still mourns her death.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, Zelos' father had a half-elf mistress, who was the mother of Zelos' half-sister Seles. Despite him being the Chosen, it's implied that it was something everyone knew, as Zelos and Seles not only knew about each other, but they got on rather well. The mistress wasn't happy with the arrangement though, knowing that Zelos would be The Chosen One instead of her daughter... so she tried to murder Zelos with a powerful spell. She got to kill Zelos' mother instead, who died saying she wishes he'd never be born. The mistress was executed for treason, an emotionally broken Seles was sent away, and Zelos was thoroughly shattered.
  • In Pretentious Game 3, the bright pink square is the gray square's mistress while he's married to the light pink square.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda: If romanced, Keri T'Vessa assumes she's one for Ryder, while Ryder's off exploring the Heleus Cluster.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Umineko: When They Cry, several characters theorize early on that the basis of the legends of Beatrice, the mysterious witch that Kinzo Ushiromiya seems to be obsessed with, is that Kinzo had a secret mistress (though Natsuhi, trying to be the loyal daughter-in-law, repeatedly tries to deny it). It turns out that they're right. Kinzo did have a mistress, an Italian beauty named Beatrice Castiglioni, who he met during the second World War. They fell deeply in love, and after Kinzo bought the island of Rokkenjima he built her a secret mansion, Kuwadorian, for her to live in, and he would often visit her under the pretense that he was going on business trips. They even had a daughter, but unfortunately Beatrice died in childbirth...and this caused Kinzo to go insane with grief, and as their daughter grew older he convinced himself that she was his mistress reincarnated, eventually leading him to rape her and get her pregnant with the kid who'd grow up into Sayo "Yasu" Yasuda, one of the key characters of the game.

  • Ménage à 3: Plays with the trope to comedy effect when it turns out that both Amber and Dillon are playing the mistress to sleazy Transparent Closeted bisexual producer Nathan.

    Western Animation 
  • Nurse Bendy, to Principal Fakey on Moral Orel. She's pretty nonchalant about it. Though the episode Alone, implies that her mental state has regressed to that of a child, and that sleeping around has made her affection starved and depressed.
  • There's a Gender Flip on King of the Hill. There is an Open Secret that Nancy has been having a 14 year affair with John Redcorn. Her husband Dale and son Joseph (who happens to look exactly like John, a brown-skinned Native American) are completely oblivious.

    Real Life 
  • Madame de Pompadour, was one of the mistresses of Louis XV. She was featured in Le Chevalier d'Eon. She also appeared in the Doctor Who episode "The Girl in the Fireplace" (the Doctor even mentions that she and the queen were good friends).
    The Doctor: France! It's another planet!
    • Queen Marie Leszczyńska wasn't happy with her husband's affairs at all, since she was a devout Catholic. She merely preferred the well-behaved and properly deferential Pompadour over her downright arrogant predecessors. Marie Therese, Louis XIV's Queen, on the other hand, was openly disappointed when her husband exchanged Louise de la Valliere for Madame de Montespan.
    • Madame DuBarry was another mistress late in his life, who was an initial antagonist in The Rose of Versailles.
  • Looking through the history of any European country, the amount of mistresses the royalty and nobility kept on hand is staggering. Special mention to Louis XIV, who was still sleeping around at 70, and Augustus II of Poland, who ended up with 350 children, of which one was legitimate.
  • The most famous example of a queen openly keeping lovers is Catherine the Great. She also rewarded her lovers handsomely (one of them briefly became king of Poland). Notably she started before she had her husband overthrown (and possibly murdered) and kept it up afterward. (This is the likely point of the rumor that she died, um...'a horse' — it was a joke about her insatiable appetite and her penchant for picking her lovers from her horse guards.)
  • A Swedish example: Frederik I's mistress Hedvig Taube who (like many others) acquired a large fortune from her liaison with the king.
  • Ah, yes, the British and English monarchy. Let's look at the highlights, shall we? (Click here for a more comprehensive list.)
    • Edward IV seems to have slept with something like half the married noblewomen in England. Interestingly, this seems to have helped him politically, as his mistresses would influence their husbands to support him in the War of the Roses.
    • Henry VIII had two confirmed mistresses, Elizabeth Blount and Mary Boleyn (yes, sister to Anne Boleyn). He may have had other mistresses and considering his personality that wouldn't be surprising but beyond Elizabeth and Mary it is purely speculation. Of course, Anne herself was his quasi-mistress while he went through that whole "divorcing Catherine of Aragon" debacle. Indeed, it seems that Henry was a fan of marrying the mistress. Jane Seymour was his mistress (in the same, not-so-fully-consummated way that Anne had been) while he was married to Anne Boleyn, and went on to become his third wife. Catherine Howard, wife number five, was his mistress while he was married to Anne of Cleves (with whom he never consummated his marriage).
    • King Charles II of England, Scotland, and Ireland was known as "the Merry Monarch" for his free-living lifestyle, and is famous for having twelve acknowledged illegitimate children by seven mistresses — with no less than five of the children being by Barbara Palmer, Countess of Castlemaine — and no children at all by his legitimate wife, Catherine of Braganza. Many of Charles' bastards have prominent descendants, with one of them (Diana Spencer) marrying the Prince of Wales (making Princess Di), and thus probably finally getting one of Charles' descendants in line for the throne.
      • A common story is that several people started throwing insults and/or rocks at the carriage they thought contained his French-born mistress Louise de Kérouaille, calling her the "Catholic whore" until Nell Gwyn leaned out the window and noted with a smile:
        "Good people, you are mistaken; I am the Protestant whore."
      • Charles II's son by Nell Gwyn, Charles Beauclerk, was made Duke of St Albans; his descendants in the male line hold the title to this day. His son by de Kérouaille, Charles Lennox, was similarly given the title Duke of Richmond, which also still exists (the current Duke is partially responsible for the revival of Rolls Royce as an automotive marque).
    • George I of Great Britain, who succeeded Charles II's niece Anne, was noted for having a bad marriage with his wife, Sophia Dorothea (whom he actually divorced before ascending to the British throne) and living more or less openly with his mistress, Melusine von der Schulenburg, by whom he had three children.
    • George II, son of George I, is an interesting case: while he enjoyed a good relationship with his wife, Caroline of Ansbach, he also had a roving eye and had a succession of mistresses during her lifetime—but none without his wife's approval. Indeed, Queen Caroline personally vetted and (it seems) interviewed the ladies in question to ensure that their personalities were suitable for the role of royal mistress and also that they had no political opinions or associations that would put the King in an awkward position (Caroline was very perceptive and astute in court politics and her husband relied on her judgment in such matters even outside of his mistresses). When Queen Caroline was on her deathbed, she urged George to remarry after her passing; the grief-stricken George refused, famously saying, "Non, j'aurai des maîtresses!" ("No, I shall have mistresses!") (implying that no other woman could replace her as his wife). (He proceeded to have several mistresses after her death, but true to his word, he never remarried.) Just goes to show that if you're in the right century, England is another planet.
    • George II's great-grandson William IV is another example. Although George II's grandson and heir George III was completely devoted to his wife and never strayed (or at least, we have no record of his straying), the sons of George III were almost to a man notorious womanisers. However, a few were not so much womanisers as hopeless romantics, choosing to live unmarried with unsuitable women rather than make the political marriages expected of them. The future William IV did just that, living for 20 years (from 1791 to 1811) with the Anglo-Irish actress Dorothea Jordan as man and wife in all but name; they had ten children together. William would later marry a "proper" wife, Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, by whom he had two daughters; however, both legitimate daughters died, leaving the throne to his niece Victoria. On the other hand, William's surviving children (bearing the surname FitzClarence) had important descendants, the most famous of whom is former Prime Minister David Cameron.
      • Of course, marrying their mistresses wasn't much of an option to the children of George III, despite several attempts to try. They had to have the permission of the monarch (for most of their lives, their father) to marry, which wasn't granted. One son — Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, had two marriages declared invalid because his father hadn't given him permission.
    • Edward VII famously had a number of mistresses and affairs, particularly during his fifty-plus-year tenure as Prince of Wales. His most famous were Daisy Grenville, the Countess of Warwick (more commonly known as "Babbling Brooke" because her husband had the subsidiary title "Lord Brooke" and because, well, she babbled); the actress Lillie Langtry;note  and finally Alice Keppel, with whom he lived during his reign (1901-1910). Edward's wife, Alexandra of Denmark, was generally OK with this—she seems to mostly have been amused by it, especially given that both he and his mistresses were generally overweight and therefore cut rather comic figures together. His dalliances did sometimes get him into trouble; he was famously compelled to testify in a divorce case (the first heir apparent in ages, if not ever, compelled to take the stand) when he was caught carrying on with an MP's wife while the MP was attending sittings of Parliament.
    • And of course, Prince Charles famously had an affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles for many years throughout their respective first marriages, off and on from 1971, before finally marrying her in 2005, by which time the sting of his ex-wife Diana's death wasn't so fresh. Interestingly, Camilla's great-grandmother (mother of her maternal grandmother Sonia Cubitt) was none other than Alice Keppel.
  • Marion Davies, longtime girlfriend of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst. Hearst remained married to his wife Millicent until his death, despite having been carrying on with Davies for the last 34 years.
  • Simón Bolívar has an interesting variant. While he was only ever married for less than a year (to the Venezuelan aristocrat María Teresa del Toro) in 1802-03, he swore an oath after her sudden death that he would never remarry. Since if Simón Bolívar swears something, he always does it (or at least tries his utmost), he never did remarry...but that didn't keep him from having several long-term mistresses—most famously Manuela Sáenz—and many other, shorter affairs. What makes this so much like a classic affair with a married man is that the long-term ones at least all probably hoped that Bolívar would break his vow and actually marry her, but he never did. The case with Sáenz can also be seen as an inversion, since throughout the relationship, she was married to (if estranged from) one James Thorne, an Englsh expat merchant based in Lima. (Compounding this, Bolívar made extensive use of the networks Manuela had developed in Lima as Thorne's wife—at Manuela's own insistence.note )


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