Sex scandals are nothing new to politics, but GQ digs in to one more unusual than most that rocked Alabama politics earlier this year. It involves the state's grandfatherly 73-year-old governor, Robert Bentley, and his relationship with Rebekeh Mason, an aide 30 years his junior. Bentley remains in office, though he had to publicly apologize after a recording surfaced of him saying things to Mason such as, “(When) I put my arms around you, and I put my hands on your breasts, and I put my hands on you and pull you in real close, hey, I love that, too.” Writer Jason Zengerle provides the back story of the affair, including its innocent origins: Bentley first hired Mason because they were members of the same church and the former news anchor and her husband were struggling financially. She would eventually become his press secretary and then a top adviser, as whispers grew.
Other aides were worried because Bentley was new to this kind of attention—he was "an awkward man with a heart-rending comb-over who'd married young and come late to his lofty position," writes Zengerle. Perhaps the most suspicious was Bentley's wife, Dianne, who noticed a shift in her husband's behavior. He started dressing flashier, treating her curtly, and blocking out chunks of his day for unspecified purposes. He even texted her rose emojis, which was out of character, causing her to suspect he meant them for someone else. That led her to leave behind her iPhone in record mode one day when she left their weekend home for a walk—and it quickly picked up Bentley calling Mason. The scandal intensified from there as the seemingly lovestruck governor refused to ditch Mason, until the affair (they both deny it was physical) became public. He's divorced now, and Mason resigned from her post. Click for the full, messy story, which includes, yes, burner phones. (Read more Robert Bentley stories.)