Karen McDougal’s Bruce WIllis Fling Resurfaces Amid Trump Trial

April 27, 2024 - Culture

Did you know Karen McDougal dumped Donald Trump to get with Bruce Willis? Probably not, but the sorted tale is taking flight ones more!

Years later, the story of her alleged affair with the former president is no longer secret, despite significant payments to cover up the truth. ALLEGEDLY!

During the years when the disgraced former president occupied the White House, the world heard a lot about porn star and Playboy payoff plots.

Karen McDougal in February of 2010.
Karen McDougal attends Playboy’s Super Saturday Night Party at Sagamore Hotel on February 6, 2010. (Photo Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Playboy)

Then, between the pandemic and the January 6 attack on the Capitol and so many other things, many all but forgot about the affairs and hush money scandal. There were simply bigger issues.

But a hush-money payment in violation of federal law is a crime. What’s wild is that, nearly two decades ago, the relationship that (indirectly) has Trump in court lasted less than a year. It ended after she upgraded to Bruce Willis.

Donald Trump’s hush money criminal case involves his history Karen McDougal

Karen McDougal is a former Playboy model. In 2016, she was ready to exclusively tell her story about an affair with then-candidate Donald Trump. The 9-month relationship that she described took place during 2006 and 2007, coinciding with his marriage to Melania.

Having an affair is not a crime. Engaging in a financial conspiracy to alter the outcome of a presidential election is another matter.

During Trump’s criminal trial in Manhattan in April 24, former friend and magazine publisher David Pecker testified about the scheme to purchase Karen McDougal’s story of an affair in order to keep it secret.

Donald Trump speaks in October of 2023, looking especially orange.
Disgraced former US President Donald Trump speaks to the press during a break in his civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court on October 25, 2023. (Photo Credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

David Pecker is a longtime pal of Trump. Until 2020, he was the head of American Media, Inc (AMI). He was behind everything from normal magazines like Men’s Fitness to tabloids like The National Enquirer.

He was also at the center of the controversy surrounding the “catch and kill” scheme to bury stories that might potentially embarrass Trump. This included paying Karen McDougal a whopping $150,000 (and assisting her career) so that she would sign over exclusive rights to her story.

The plan was for her to sign an NDA and then AMI would never publish the story, all as a carefully coordinated favor with the Trump campaign. And Trump and then-attorney Michael Cohen discussed the scheme on tape, referring to payments for “all of that info regarding our friend David.” As in David Pecker.

Trump ‘knew’ that the Karen McDougal story would become public, according to Pecker

While testifying at Trump’s trial on Thursday, April 25, David Pecker shared that Trump was initially unwilling to purchase the story. Pecker told the court that Trump “said clearly that he doesn’t buy stories because it always gets out.”

Trump is facing 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. All of this pertains to hush money payments ahead of the 2016 election.

Pecker described to the court how he had purchased the exclusive rights to Karen McDougal’s story in 2016 while acting as the “eyes and ears” of the campaign and burying stories before they became public. This, he said, was part of an agreement with Trump and Cohen that he made in August of 2015.

Donald Trump on April 26, 2024 as he faces a criminal trial.
Disgraced former U.S. President Donald Trump returns to the courtroom during his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments at Manhattan Criminal Court on April 26, 2024. (Photo Credit: Curtis Means-Pool/Getty Images)

According to David Pecker, the former editor-in-chief of the National Enquirer verified Karen McDougal’s story. At that point, Pecker advised Trump to buy the rights to the story in order to protect his political campaign.

Despite Trump’s initial reluctance, he then gave Pecker the go-ahead by way of then-attorney Cohen. This meant that Pecker negotiated a $150,000 payment to McDougal and promises to boost her career.

McDougal would write for AMI magazines, grace magazine covers, launch her own beauty company, and even become a Radar Online anchor on the red carpet.

Per his conversations, Pecker knew that he would “either be reimbursed by The Trump Organization or by Donald Trump.”

According to Pecker, he spoke to his own legal counsel at the time and decided that he did not want Trump or the Trump organization to pay him.

“I called Michael Cohen and I said to him, ‘The deal was off. I’m not going forward. It’s a bad idea and I want you to rip up the agreement,’” Pecker testified in court. “He was very, very angry, very upset, screaming basically at me. Michael Cohen said the boss is going to be very angry with you.”

Karen McDougal in October of 2004.
Karen McDougal arrives at the launch party to celebrate Diane von Furstenberg’s limited edition designer mobile phone at Astra West in the Pacific Design Center on October 15, 2004. (Photo Credit: Cherie Steinberg/Getty Images)

Eventually, of course, Karen McDougal was able to tell her story publicly following a settlement with AMI. The world also became very familiar with Stormy Daniels’ name and story.

As it turned out, the majority of Trump’s political base had other priorities — seemingly fueled by spite and animosity towards perceived enemies, such as racial and sexual minorities.

The affair news alienated a small proportion of would-be Trump supporters, but amidst the dangerous erosion of political norms, the revelations about Trump’s porn star flings was nothing like the scandal that it would have been in decades past.

Donald Trump at his hush money criminal trial in April of 2024.
Donald Trump speaks to members of the media during his hush money trial at Manhattan criminal court on April 26, 2024. (Photo Credit: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Karen McDougal claims she was in love with Trump

Ultimately, Karen McDougal told her story to The Daily Mail. “I was in love with him. He was in love with me. I know that because he told me all the time.”

She recalled: “He’d say, ‘You’re my baby and I love you.’ He showed me off to his friends.”

McDougal actually voted for Trump in 2016. In 2023, she revealed that she hoped that Ron DeSantis would win the 2024 GOP nomination. Lots of yikes all around.

Bruce Willis in October of 2019.
Bruce Willis attends the premiere of “Motherless Brooklyn” during the 57th New York Film Festival at Alice Tully Hall on October 11, 2019. (Photo Credit: ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Karen McDougal ditched Trump for Bruce Willis

During that same interview with The Daily Mail, McDougal noted: “I’m portrayed as the disgruntled woman, but I am not that woman. I ended it.”

Feeling “shame” over bedding a married man, she was already on the lookout for a way to end things with Trump. Then, McDougal recalled: “A family member came to town and we went to a bar and I met a lovely man named Bruce.”

That man’s full name? Bruce Willis. The two were spotted in public in 2007. Their relationship apparently lasted about six months. In fact, this is the last relationship he had before he met his now wife, Emma Hemming Willis.

Funny how things turn out.

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