Celebrity

Adam Levine’s Cheating Has One Clear Villain — So Why Are We Pointing Multiple Fingers?

There are major power dynamics at play here.

By Lucy Cocoran
Apparently everyone has an opinion on the Adam Levine cheating scandal. If you're not across the finer details, 23-year-old Instagram model Sumner Stroh alleged that she and the Maroon 5 frontman had a year-long affair. According to her TikTok confessional, things fizzled out, but in June of this year, Levine reached out to ask if he could name his unborn child after her – the child he's having with his wife of almost a decade, Victoria's Secret model, Behati Prinsloo.
Levine has since denied the affair allegations, but claimed he 'crossed a line' by flirtatiously speaking with other women, which he labelled a "regrettable period" in his life.
From branding her a 'clout chaser' to a 'home wrecker', there's been a tidal wave of condemnation against Stroh on TikTok, with people attempting to poke holes in her timeline and assume what her motivations might have been.
In two now-deleted videos from Stroh's account, she can be seen playing a Maroon 5 song and referencing her man 'being on tour', with one captioned 'sometimes I look at my life and just laugh.'
The furore generated from her apparent lack of remorse prompted Stroh to release a follow-up apology video for her alleged role as the 'other woman', while explaining that she believed Levine and Prinsloo were separated at the time.
"I fully realize I'm not the victim in this," she said in a follow up video. "I'm not the one who's really getting hurt here. It's Behati and her children, and for that, I'm so, so sorry."
Stroh's online bashing has been offset by an outpouring of support and sympathy for Prinsloo. But as people jump to take sides, we've seemingly forgotten about the actions of the man that lead them here.
Unfortunately, it's a narrative that has played out in the media several times before — read: the Jen vs Angelina sensation which dominated tabloid headlines for years. In what feels like dejavu, people are once again taking sides, jumping on everything from Stroh's 'smug demeanour' to peddling the tired argument that some women are just too beautiful to be cheated on.
Let's get one thing clear — there is an obvious villain in this story, and it's Adam Levine. Expressing hatred towards Stroh is arguably just missing the point.
Emily Ratajkowski, who found herself in Prinsloo's exact situation a few months ago has also weighed in — but her stance might surprise some.
Rather than jumping on the anti-Stroh bandwagon, the supermodel defended her, citing Levine's abuse of power as a major problem.
"I don't understand why we continue to blame women for men's mistakes, especially when you're talking about 20 something year old women dealing with men in positions of power who are twice their age," she said.
"Also, if you're the one in a relationship, you're the one obligated to be loyal, so the whole 'other woman to blame', that's bad and it's literally designed to keep women apart."
She's right. It's this 'othering' of the woman in cheating scandals that do the most damage, because it provides a scapegoat for the men who are really at fault. Whatever her personal motivations, the public outrage over her lack of remorse is interesting. Why do we need this woman to feel bad in order to make the situation more palatable?
Regret or not, the onus is still (and has always been) on Levine to respect his family.
Earlier this year, Khloé Kardashian spoke about the blaming of women for their partner's infidelity — something which she, and the father of her two children, Tristan Thompson, know all too well.
"If your significant other is doing something wrong, for the woman to be blamed, that's always been really hurtful for me," she told Variety. "I just don't understand why there's so much finger pointing – like it must be me. That's a heavy thing to carry."
It was a marked change from Khloe's comments after the first cheating scandal, when it emerged Tristan had been unfaithful with family friend Jordyn Woods.
"You ARE the reason my family broke up!" Khloé tweeted Woods at the time.
Less than 24 hours later, she doubled down on her comments, instead placing the blame firmly at Tristan's feet.
"What's been harder & more painful is being hurt by someone so close to me. Someone whom I love & treat like a little sister. But Jordyn is not to be blamed for the breakup of my family. This was Tristan's fault."
If 24 hours can provide clarity for someone whose life was torn apart by unfaithfulness, perhaps we can take another look at our own stances.
If we're going to point the finger at anyone in the Adam Levine situation, let it be the person who held all the cards. It's not the 23-year-old model, but the man twice her age who made a vow to his wife. The man who made vows to his wife before engaging with a woman half his age, knowingly deceiving both in the process.
You don't have to agree with Stroh or her actions to acknowledge that the real villain in this story casts a far, far bigger shadow than either of these women.
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  • undefined: Lucy Cocoran