To admit one’s wrongdoing is quite a challenging task for all the three components of one’s being; the body, mind, and soul. Many religions recognize the importance of confession, and not to admit one’s wrongdoing is regarded as physical, mental, and spiritual obstinacy. Confession, on the other hand, is regarded as the first step towards righteousness after doing a wrong deed, and it is universally accepted to be an effective remedial, corrective, and preventive action. Many famous people tried to make mends by admitting their wrongdoing on television. There are some who paid a high price as penance but came out very clean afterwards. Bill Clinton’s image was quite tarnished prior to his admitting his wrongdoing, but after admitting it, his image re-emerged as clean and white as snow at the cost of his impeachment proceedings, though. Admitting to wrongdoings, however, has not been a panacea in all cases. The Pop King’s admitting his wrongdoings, for example, had done him no good. It is a historic fact that authorities have tried to coerce or extract confessions from detainees like those of the old Salem Witch Trials or from the recent Guantanamo Bay detainees
1. President Clinton
In 1994, Paula Jones accused President Bill Clinton of having sexual relationships with women, including a former White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. On January 17, 1998, Bill Clinton denied having sexual relations with Lewinsky. On January 26, he repeated in a press conference, ‘I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.’ On August 17, 1998, he testified before a grand jury that he had an inappropriate relationship with the former intern Monica Lewinsky, and he also apologized to the American people in his television address on a national level. In his address outside the White House, he said, ‘Indeed, I did have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky that was not appropriate. In fact, it was wrong. It constituted a critical lapse in judgment and a personal failure on my part for which I am solely and completely responsible, but I told the grand jury today and I say to you now that at no time did I ask anyone to lie, to hide or destroy evidence, or to take any other unlawful action.’
2. Michael Jackson
The parents of 13-year-old Jordan Chandler accused Michael Jackson of sexually abusing their son while he was staying at Jackson’s 3,000-acre ranch, called Neverland, in California. After a multi-million dollar settlement with the Pop King, the family dropped the charges. During an interview on the Granada television program, he admitted to the interviewer, Martin Bashir, that he encouraged a 12-year-old cancer patient to sleep in his bed. Martin Bashir, who had interviewed Diana also, interviewed Jackson, and the film was bought by ABC at an exorbitant price. Jackson’s confession that he allowed young boys to sleep in his bed caused great disrepute to him.
3. Hugh Grant
Hugh Grant, the famous British actor, was badly hit by a scandal when he was arrested for his vulgar and rude behavior with a woman in Hollywood. Unlike many other celebrities, who have fallen under similar circumstances, he did not refrain from meeting people and facing the media by refusing interviews. Instead, he publicly apologized on renowned television shows like Live With Regis and Kathie Lee, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and CNN’s Larry King Live. He said on Larry King Live, ‘I could accept some of the things that people have explained, stress, pressure, loneliness’¦that that was the reason. But that would be false. In the end you have to come clean and say ‘I did something dishonorable, shabby, and goatish.”
4. Juan Carlos I
The 74-year-old Monarch of Spain, Juan Carlos I, had to face severe criticism after returning from an expensive, 14-day elephant hunting safari in Botswana. At a time while Spain was undergoing a severe recessionary economy, the safari cost more than $59,000 excluding the air charter and other expenses. The king’s private vacation became public when having been hurt during elephant hunting he had to undergo hip surgery. His photos with the dead elephants aggravated the situation, and to diffuse it he apologized in an unprecedented manner for emperors. He publicly said on television ‘I am very sorry. I made a mistake. It won’t happen again.’
5. Tiger Woods
The world famous golfer Tiger Woods apologized publicly on television for his misconduct. His apology speech is reflective of his repentance. In a 15-minute press conference he said, ‘Good morning. And thank you for joining me’¦.every one of you has a good reason to be critical of me. I want to say to each of you simply and directly, I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior I engaged in. ‘¦ People want to know how I could have done these things to my wife, Elin, and to my children’¦I have made you question who I am and how I have done the things I did. I am embarrassed that I have put you in this position. For all that I have done, I am so sorry. I have a lot to atone for.’
6. Richard Nixon
The Watergate Scandal was a political scandal prompted by the arrest of five men for breaking into the Democratic National Party headquarters. It had connections with a fundraising group for the re-election of the President. The scandal culminated in the unprecedented resignation of U.S. President Richard Nixon in 1974. He declared on television ‘There can be no whitewash at the White House.’ In a broadcast in 70 countries viewed by 45 million people in the U.S., he said to David Frost in 1977, ‘I let the American people down… I brought myself down.”
7. Jimmy Swaggart
Jimmy Swaggart is a renowned, American pastor, author, television host, and a televangelist. His telecast was transmitted to 3,000 stations and cable systems. Hit by a sex scandal, he publicly apologized on television, tearfully speaking to his family, congregation, television audience, and to God. He said, “I have sinned against you, my Lord, and I would ask that Your precious blood would wash and cleanse every stain until it is in the seas of God’s forgiveness not to be remembered against me anymore.’
8. Princess Diana
Hurt by the television confession of Prince Charles, she agreed upon an interview with Martin Bashir for the BBC’s show Panorama. She admitted that in 1995 she felt she was being sidelined by the royal family. She confessed her extra-marital affair with Major James Hewitt. She said that she knew of Prince Charles’ love for Camilla Parker Bowles and assigned it as the root cause of the destruction of her marriage. On being asked by Martin Bashir if she had been unfaithful, she said, ‘Yes, I adored him. Yes, I was in love with him.” She said she wanted to be known as the Queen of Hearts.
9. Mike Tyson
In 1988, Mike Tyson and his wife Robin Givens appeared together in an interview with Barbara Walters probably to admit their wrongdoings and dispel the rumors about their married life. The interview unfortunately resulted in their separation shortly afterwards. Tyson was using drugs, and he admitted to Rick Reilly of ESPN ‘I just liked morphine’¦but I had to take a lot of it because it didn’t stay in your system for a long time. … And I’d have my cocaine, and I had my marijuana, and I had my Cialis and Viagra and my little friends all sitting there. That’s just how I lived my life.”
10. Sir Elton John
As many people know the name of Sir Elton John as those who know the name of Princess Diana. This is on account of his tribute song to Diana Candle in the Wind. He suffered from drug abuse and admitted on the NBC Today Show ‘I wasted such a big part of my life when this epidemic was beginning to happen in the early 1980s. And I was a drug addict and self-absorbed’¦You know, I was having people die right, left, and center around me, friends. And yet, I didn’t stop the life that I had, which is the terrible thing about addiction. It’s that bad of a disease.’ John said that the three most important words, he uttered in his life were ‘I need help.’
It is in the historical records that famous people, as famous as Galileo, admitted their wrongdoing while they were fully aware of the fact they were simply coerced to admitting that a right and valuable deed was a wrongdoing. The motive behind admitting their wrongdoings by famous people on television has not always been about repentance. More often than not, it had been just a white wash to keep their fan base intact.