Fatal Attractions

Bess Myerson and Andy Capasso

“Men go after me and I choose among them,” Myerson, 63, once said. This year that strategy backfired. Having chosen the married Capasso, 42, the former Miss America could face 30 years in jail for the love of this paunchy sewer contractor. A grand jury has charged that Bess used her power as New York City Cultural Affairs Commissioner to employ the daughter of former State Supreme Court Justice Hortense Gabel; in exchange, Gabel allegedly lowered Andy’s alimony payments. Bess pleaded not guilty, but she’s out of a job and a man—Capasso is now serving four years in prison for tax evasion.

Gary Hart and Donna Rice

Some country. Here he is, a candidate who plays the maracas, and we question his political fitness. Now that Gadabout Gary is back in the race, give the guy a break. It wasn’t like Hart, 51, was that indiscreet. So he let Rice, 29, spend the night in his D.C. town house. All that space, the poor kid should pay for a hotel? So he took her on a cruise to Bimini. You got any idea how hard it is to find a deckhand these days? So maybe he shouldn’t have let her sit on his lap while her girlfriend took snapshots. Okay, maybe he was naive. But it’s not that he used poor judgment or anything. Jeez. We’re not talking about nuclear war. As Hart told Ted Koppel, he is one of those guys who doesn’t see any difference between men and women. Donna, Popeye, Sindbad—what’s the diff? Just because a guy’s running for President, the press thinks it has a right to check out every little thing. Picky, picky.

George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin

Some people never learn. Impetuous New York Yankee owner Steinbrenner, 57, who discards managers the way Warren Beatty sheds women, announced in October that he was recruiting battle-prone manager Martin, 59, for the fifth time. This despite the fact that George fired Billy for the first time mid-season in 1978 after Billy opined that Reggie Jackson and Steinbrenner “deserve each other because one’s a born liar and the other’s convicted.” George thumbed him-out again in 1979 when Billy slugged a marshmallow salesman in a Minnesota hotel bar. In 1983 a few key Yankees pushed for Billy’s dismissal. And in 1985 Billy struck out again after a barroom fight in a Baltimore hotel with former Yankee pitcher Ed Whitson. “There’s a bond between Billy and me,” said Steinbrenner. And perhaps wisdom gained from hard experience? Martin doubts it. “To be honest,” he said, “I don’t think I’ve learned anything from it.”

Princess Stephanie and Mario Oliver

Monaco’s madcap Steffie, now 22, wants the public to cut her some slack. Sure, she’s had affairs with playboys, race-car drivers and actors. What else is a growing princess to do? Okay, she claims hunky Rob Lowe used their fling as “a promotional tool.” But a girl can learn from such mistakes: “I have discovered the security of having someone older at my side to help and advise me.” Sounds good, huh? Trouble is, as an adviser to princesses, Oliver, a former model, waiter and deejay, might be right up there with that old bag who urged Snow White to eat the apple. A bottle-blond Frenchman, Mario, 35, is an L.A. disco owner whose background includes charges of theft (later dropped) and rape (he pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of sexual battery). Look, said Stephanie, “nobody’s perfect.” Reportedly, the princess’s father, Prince Rainier, hasn’t yet seen fit to meet Steffie’s choice. But Rainier soon may have reason to deal with him royally. At last report the twice-divorced Mario was telling friends he wasn’t ready to marry Princess Grace’s younger daughter, but he would happily father her child. That okay with you, Dad?

Madonna and Sean Penn

For a woman who likes strutting around in her underwear onstage, marriage to an uncontrollably jealous man might have merited closer analysis. But Madonna, 29, thought love could soothe the savage beast, a role perfectly tailored to Sean Penn, 27. During the 27 months these opposites contracted, the sultry singer watched her fist-happy hubby toss rocks, chairs, spit and knuckles at various photogs who displeased him. (Penn spent 33 days in the pen for one run-in.) Two years was also time enough to see her film career (Who’s That Girl), his (At Close Range) and theirs (Shanghai Surprise) become trivia questions. By November, parolee Penn had no place to call home. Just after Thanksgiving, Madonna—citing “irreconcilable differences”—sued the turkey for divorce.

Christina Onassis and Thierry Roussel

The Greek shipping heiress, 37, is not the first poor little lonely obese rich girl to fall for, marry and lose a bundle to a man who took her fancy. But really, Christina, you’ve got to learn when to stop. In April, husband No. 4, French pharmaceutical heir Thierry Roussel, 34, took a powder—and reportedly around half of the estimated $100 million Christina accumulated during their three-year marriage. Friends say the Swiss-decreed divorce followed fast on Thierry’s infidelities, one of which produced a son by Swedish model Gaby. Still, for the sake of daughter Athina, 2, Christina is keeping the split amicable. And though she still often tips the scale at 200, Christina has been described as “radiant.” Self-reliant at last? Hardly. In what may be a fatal familial attraction, Christina apparently is ga-ga over a cousin of Thierry’s.

Sen. Joseph Biden and Neil Kinnock

It was a weakness for words, not women, that forced a second Democratic presidential hopeful to drop out of the race this year. “I started thinking as I was coming over here,” Biden told an Iowa crowd last August, “why is Joe Biden the first in his family ever to go to a university?” Trouble was, that exact question previously had been posed by British Labor party leader Kinnock. Indeed, the New York Times revealed that Biden, 45, had cribbed 45-year-old Kinnock’s impassioned plea right down to the Welsh politician’s claim to coal-mining ancestry. Later reports that Joe had lifted other speeches and plagiarized in college and law school suggested a character flaw strong enough to sink a campaign. Too bad, said Biden, dismissing the whole affair as “much ado about nothing.” Whoops! There he goes again.

Joan Collins and Peter Holm

Alexis Carrington would have seen this guy coming. But Collins, 54, who plays the man-shrewd Dynasty sexpot, is blinded by her confessed addiction: a need to find a man “to take care of me.” She thought she’d found him in fourth husband Peter Holm, a former Swedish pop star 14 years her junior. Sure, Holm knew how to scrounge up a buck—before their Las Vegas wedding two years ago he reportedly sold the photo rights to a tabloid. This was not quite the class shoulder-to-lean-on act Joan had in mind. Collins says her husband’s $20,000-a-month clothing bills, his volatile temper and his infidelities (including “passion flower” Romina Danielson) led her to believe she had wed “a bit of a loser.” Ending their 13-month marriage, the couple outdid Dynasty as they battled in court. Having lost his bid for more than $2.6 million from Collins, Holm announced he would write a book. Collins said she had a new addiction: “Freedom from all entanglements.”

Clayton Lonetree and Violetta Seina

Sgt. Clayton Lonetree was proud of his affair. So proud that, after a night of heavy drinking, the Marine assigned to the U.S. embassy in Moscow couldn’t help bragging about tall, sensuous Violetta Seina. Unfortunately those loose lips also dropped hints about the Soviet beauty’s KGB connections. Soon a full-blown sex-for-secrets scandal loomed. Lonetree, a 25-year-old American Indian, was brought up on 13 counts of espionage. Evidence centered on hot letters and cold cash (Lone-tree was paid $3,500 for supplying names of U.S. agents). “I thought she loved me,” Lonetree wept. Thanks to the spy who didn’t, he was sentenced to 30 years.

Jim Bakker and Jessica Hahn

“By helping the shepherd, you’re helping the sheep,” chipmunk-voiced evangelist Jim Bakker, 47, supposedly assured church secretary Jessica Hahn, 27, after removing his bathing trunks in a Florida motel room in 1980. Baaa-baaa-baaad boy. Seven years later, allegations about that lurid encounter and the hush money that followed catapulted the pint-sized preacher out of his PTL ministry. As the PTL auctioned off such holy mementos as the Bakkers’ air-conditioned doghouse, Jim and his shopoholic wife, Tammy Faye, cried set-up. Jessica, claiming she was a virgin at the time of her motel encounter with Bakker, told her story to Playboy (where she also bared her breasts) for a reported $1 million. Then former Long Island madam Roxanne Dacus claimed (over Hahn’s furious denial) that Hahn worked for her as a prostitute 10 years ago. In the words of Rev. Jerry Falwell, Bakker had brought the credibility of Christian televangelists “to an all-time low.” Amen.

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