LOS ANGELES – Kristen Stewart has dominated headlines since she admitted her affair with the director of “Snow White and the Huntsman,” married father of two Rupert Sanders.
Of course, such scandals are nothing new in Hollywood.
Stewart, Forbes' highest-paid actress of 2012 and long-time girlfriend of “Twilight” co-star Rob Pattinson, has plenty of gals to compare notes with. Angelina Jolie, LeAnn Rimes, Sienna Miller, Claire Danes and Rose McGowan have all been accused of seducing married men. And guess what? These women are all still successfully working, still gracing magazine covers, still banking multimillion-dollar paychecks, unaffected by any alleged personal indiscretions.
“We live in a kind of ‘celebrity worship’ culture, the public and Hollywood are usually very forgiving of celebrities who steal married men as months, and especially as the years, move on,” Dr. Diana Kirschner, author of ‘Sealing the Deal: The Love Mentor’s Guide to Lasting Love’ told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “Hollywood is very quick to forgive and forget.”
One may even benefit by playing naughty instead of nice.
“Hollywood doesn’t have a major problem with the ‘homewreckers’ per se, as far as morality is considered. It only gets to be a problem when the sexual shenanigans affect the box office or record sales,” explained the author of "The Bible of Behavior," Ariane Sommer. “Generally speaking, you don’t go far in Hollywood by being ‘nice.’ Nice is boring and secretly we all love a good villain. And in the long-term, the well-paid PR team around a star will always find a way to turn the image around.”
So can we expect Stewart, 22, to suddenly embark on a humanitarian journey to impoverished nations around the globe, a la Angelina Jolie, who stole the married Brad Pitt from his then-wife Jen Aniston, and soon after was suddenly involved in foreign relief efforts? Well, it may not be such a bad idea.
“Angelina was very well prepared in advance for the firestorm of gossip when she got involved with Brad Pitt. Her philanthropy became the topic instead of infidelity,” explained Hollywood-based life and career strategist Suzannah Galland. “Within weeks she was highly visible, surrounded by children of the world. Jennifer Aniston was outmaneuvered as if by a series of well-calculated chess moves. It is all chess. You’re thinking ahead, in public life, shielding yourself every way you can.”
What’s more, if Stewart plays her chess pieces correctly, not only will she salvage her reputation, but it’s highly likely she will become an even bigger, more sought-after star than she already is.
“Hollywood is an interesting animal as it is oftentimes the individual going against the grain ... gets more attention than the individual who maintains a simpler lifestyle,” public relations pro John E. Borkowski said. “Kristen generated more buzz recently for her alleged cheating episode than 'Batman' star Christian Bale’s visit to the victims and families of the Aurora, Colo., tragedy. While negative attention may turn some fans off, the reality is, it places their names at the forefront of the Hollywood media coverage.”
According to numerous well-placed Hollywood insiders, studio executives typically are not concerned about an actor or actress’ personal mischievousness, providing it doesn’t impact their ability to work, get insurance coverage, or detract from box office numbers. And while the cast and crew for the “Snow White and the Huntsman” sequel is yet to be officially determined, Vulture.com reported last week that Stewart has landed the lead role in the indie adaptation of the 1951 novel, "Lie Down in Darkness." The publication stated that Stewart will play Peyton Loftis in the story of a dysfunctional family, a role that had previously been sought by Jennifer Lawrence.
(A source close to the actress told us that “any talk about that project is way too preliminary.”)
But Carole Lieberman, author of “Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets,” says bad behavior doesn't necessarily pay, Hollywood does take note of celebrity women who steal husbands away from other women, and the negative ramifications are long-lasting.
“There is kind of a dark shadow that follows them, and comes to define them. Even Angelina Jolie, with all her charity work and mothering, can’t shake the stigma of being the "other woman." She still gets a lot of work and accolades, but people can’t look at her without remembering how she stole Brad from Jennifer,” she added. “Kristen Stewart’s career will probably be damaged by her affair, also men still run Hollywood. Some of these men will identify with Rob and will hold ill toward Kristen for betraying him.”
Danielle Jones-Wesley contributed to this report.
Hollie McKay has been a FoxNews.com staff reporter since 2007. She has reported extensively from the Middle East on the rise and fall of terrorist groups such as ISIS in Iraq. Follow her on twitter at @holliesmckay