WASHINGTON - Standing by your man suddenly seems to be going out of fashion for some American women in the public eye.
This month the wives of at least two famous men caught cheating - sexually and financially - openly declared that their spouses' behaviour was quite scandalous.
Ruth Madoff, reacting to her husband Bernard being sentenced to 150 years in prison for bilking investors with a massive Ponzi scheme, said she felt "embarrassed", "ashamed" and "betrayed" by a man she had known for half a century.
"The man who committed this horrible fraud is not the man I have known for all these years," she said in a statement shortly after her husband's sentencing on Monday.
Last week, after South Carolina governor Mark Sanford tearfully admitted to an affair with a woman in Argentina, his wife Jenny - who was not by his side at his public confession - left little doubt about her feelings.
"His career is no concern of mine," she told reporters at a vacation home.
"He's going to have to worry about that. I'm worried about my family and the character of my children."
Political analysts said the new attitude reflects generational and social change - at least for some women in the US.
"The old model didn't work," said Karlyn Bowman, an analyst of US public opinion at the American Enterprise Institute.
The image of the tearful wife, hiding behind sunglasses next to her husband while he unloaded his sins to the world, was "intensely embarrassing" and some women are deciding they do not have to follow that path, she said. - Reuters