“Behind every great man, there’s a great woman,” or so the old (sexist) saying goes. For these crooked couples, it’s more like, “Behind every corrupt man is a woman willing to stand by him.” Below we explore these four corrupt (read: evil) husbands and their ride-or-die ladies.
1. Carol Boone Bundy
It’s one thing when a woman unknowingly marries someone who ends up being evil. But it’s another when they choose to marry someone who is actually on trial for murder. That’s exactly the case of Carol Boone Bundy. Yes, Bundy. As you probably guessed, she married infamous serial killer Ted – the man who confessed to murdering more than 35 women. He reportedly received 200 letters a day on death row, so many would say that Carol was in an envied spot. It gets more romantic. The marriage took place in the courtroom during his trial.
Here is the bizarre proposal in action:
2. Marceline Jones
Jones is a common name, but if you’re drawing a connection between this woman’s last name and infamous cult leader Jim Jones, you guessed correctly. Marceline was by husband Jim’s side as he orchestrated the mass suicide that was the “greatest single loss of American civilian life in a non-natural disaster” before Sept. 11.
Reportedly on the night before they left for Jonestown, Marceline’s mother told her, “I wish you had left Jim years ago.” Marceline replied:
“Mother, don’t say that after I have suffered so much…. This has been my decision. Never blame yourself.”
She stood by Jim even in the midst of his long-running open affair with Carolyn Moore Layton, who had a child with Jim. Marceline sipped the proverbial and actual Kool-Aid, dying at the Jonestown Massacre. In her will, she intentionally omitted her daughters, instead giving her estate to the Communist Party.
3. Opal “Mack Truck” Long
A woman with the nickname “Mack Truck”: This should be your first clue that this lady didn’t mess around. She earned the title based on her size and strength, but reportedly no one said it to dear Opal’s face. You see, she was part of the infamous John Dillinger Gang by way of her husband, Russell Lee “Boobie” Clark (more points for the wacky nicknames).
Opal was part perfect housewife: it is said she enjoyed caretaking, cooking, and cleaning for the gang like a family. But she was also the epitome of the a gangster moll, aka a gangster’s right-hand woman. In 1934, her husband was arrested in a sensational showdown in Tucson. Opal reportedly attacked those making the arrest, possibly even breaking a policeman’s finger. What got her ostracized from the gang was her begging Dillinger for money to appeal her husband’s case. Say what you will about “Mack Truck,” but she never squealed on the Dillinger Gang.
4. Ruth MadoffWe may never know exactly how much Ruth was involved in her husband’s notorious Ponzi scheme, one of the largest financial frauds in history. But, as The New York Times pointed out, the fact that she and Bernie had been inseparable since she was in her teens (he wasn’t with a much younger woman, bucking the stereotypes), made Ruth “an essential asset to her husband, humanizing him and drawing people into his orbit.”
Though she has denied knowing anything about the scheme, and in recent years has distanced herself from Bernie, she initially was vilified for standing by her man. They are technically still married.
“I just really miss him. I’m lonely and he’s the only one who will ever love me like that,” she said.
Ultimately the thing she regretted the most was an affair Bernie had. She admitted, “After the terrible crime he committed, I wonder why I would care about an affair. But I do.”
Do you think these women stuck by their spouses for money and power — or for the love and loyalty? Tell us in the comments.
Recommended For You:
Main photo: Marceline and Jim Jones with their adopted children in California, 1976, before leading the mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana [©Don Hogan Charles/New York Times Co./Getty Images]