Tammy Wynette, who released “Stand By Your Man” in 1968, concedes she hasn’t kept up much with current affairs. Still, the singer, 55, has a gut feeling for women like Heather Faulkiner, The 39-year-old fiancée of Marv Albert remained true to the sportscaster, walking with him daily into a Virginia court where women testified to his obsession with threesomes, biting and wearing lingerie. “If you love him,” says Wynette, “you will forgive him.” Perhaps: Relationship expert Barbara De Angelis notes that “women have very thick skin.” Yet Carole Lieberman, author of Bad Boys, a self-help book for women who love wayward men, says that what looks like loyalty is often denial. She speculates that women like Faulkiner and legendary bystander Mary Jo Buttafuoco may say to themselves, “He isn’t really as bad as everyone’s saying.” Of course, a woman’s largesse has limits. Wynette has had four divorces. What follows is a look at some high-profile couples who, like Marv and Heather, are, for now anyway, staying together through sick and sin.
EILEEN MCGANN & DICK MORRIS
THE CRISIS: Last year the White House political strategist, 49, was caught with Sherry Rowlands, 38, a $200-an-hour call girl, in a posh Washington hotel. She revealed that he had a thing for toes and that he even let her listen in on calls with Clinton. Later a Texas woman surfaced, claiming that she had a daughter with Morris, who had been paying her $4,000 a month.
HER STAND: At first McGann, 49, a lawyer, “had serious concerns about his ability to survive,” she told The New York Times. Then last January, after soul-searching, she decided she wanted out. In a reversal, though, they got back together in September.
OTHERS SAY: “Eileen has an enormous capacity to care,” says pal Connecticut pol John Larson, “therefore to forgive.”
WHERE ARE THEY NOW: Reunited, at home on a winding lane in Redding, Conn. “He put all he could into rebuilding,” says friend Deborah S. Chang. Morris, she says, “has changed.”
KATHIE LEE & FRANK GIFFORD
THE CRISIS: The ABC sports commentator and football Hall of Famer, 67, was caught last May huddling in a New York City hotel room with Suzen Johnson, 47, a married flight attendant. The Globe, which reportedly paid Johnson $75,000 to lure Gifford to the room, published photos of the tryst.
HER STAND: During a gig in June in Atlantic City, Kathie Lee, 44, belted out the Connie Francis hit “Who’s Sorry Now?” directly to her husband of 11 years. Yet when she accepted an honorary degree from Virginia’s Marymount University in May, the costar of Live said that Frank “stood by me, loved me, encouraged me and defended me. I love him very much.”
OTHERS SAY: Marriage counselor Gary Smalley (who asked his friends the Giffords to appear in an ad touting his videos Hidden Keys to Loving Relationships) says, “When I think of couples with the courage to go on, they are near the top of the list.”
WHERE ARE THEY NOW: The crisis won’t go away—Johnson graces Playboy’s November cover—but neither, apparently, will Kathie Lee. Larry King reports in USA Today that the couple “appeared as happy as honeymooners” during a recent visit.
ELIZABETH HURLEY & HUGH GRANT
THE CRISIS: A charmer in Four Weddings and a Funeral, Grant, 37, had his image tarnished by Divine intervention—Divine Brown, that is. The actor was arrested near Sunset Boulevard on June 27, 1995, and charged with lewd conduct for allegedly buying oral sex.
HER STAND: Hurley, 32, the Estée Lauder model and Austin Powers star, said, “I am still bewildered and saddened.” Later she told 20/20, “I felt like I’d been shot…[but] I don’t think you should hit someone when they’re down.”
OTHERS SAY: Hurley’s pal Henry Brocklehurst told PEOPLE, “She is flabbergasted….She’s livid about the stupidity of him doing that.”
WHERE ARE THEY NOW: Living in London and sometimes working together. “You have to make a choice to sink or swim,” Hurley told US. “My choice was to swim.”
NICOLE & EDDIE MURPHY
THE CRISIS: Stopped, briefly, by the LAPD after he picked up one Atisone Seiuli in his Toyota Land Cruiser at 4:45 a.m. last May 2, Murphy, 36, said he was just going out to buy some magazines and wound up giving the transsexual prostitute a lift.
HER STAND: Nicole, 29, the stunning former model who wed Murphy in 1993, has never commented publicly, but Murphy told PEOPLE, “She wanted an explanation. She said, ‘I can’t believe you would let somebody like that in the car.’ ”
OTHERS SAY: That Nicole is looking at the big picture. “When you have a family, you ask yourself, do I want to throw the baby out with the bathwater?” says advice author Barbara De Angelis.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW: Living with their three kids at Bubble Hill, their $3.5 million spread in Englewood, N.J.
AMY MOLITOR & ALEX KELLY
THE CRISIS: In June, Kelly, now 30, was convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl in 1986, a charge he avoided for eight years by hiding out and living the good life in Europe, apparently with the help of his wealthy parents.
HER STAND: Kelly’s Darien (Conn.) High sweetheart, now 28, has been amazingly loyal, considering that in 1996 he left her bleeding when he totaled her car while fleeing police. She even ditched a new beau and bartending job to be at his side.
OTHERS SAY: Even privately, says a Molitor pal, “she never said anything negative about him—nothing, never.”
WHERE ARE THEY NOW: Molitor moved in with Kelly’s parents; he began serving his 16-year sentence and awaits a second trial for allegedly raping a 17-year-old, also in 1986.
LYNDA & CHARLES ROBB
THE CRISIS: In 1991, Robb, 58, a U.S. senator since 1989, admitted he received a nude massage from Tai Collins, a former Miss Virginia-USA who later posed for Playboy. In 1994, The Washington Post reported that former aides found Robb had “sexual relations or oral sex” with at least six women during his marriage to Lynda, 53 (daughter of President Lyndon Johnson). Robb later put a finer point on things, saying that during his marriage Lynda was “the only woman I’ve loved, or slept with, or had coital relations with.”
HER STAND: “We will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary this December,” says Lynda, “and I would marry him again tomorrow.”
OTHERS SAY: “She has been raised in the world! of politics,” notes A.E. Dick Howard, a friend of the pair. “Lynda is obviously no stranger to stress.”
WHERE ARE THEY NOW: Still living as senator and wife in McLean, Va.