Times Publisher's Longtime Affair

So it turns out Arthur Sulzberger Jr. has been seeing his girlfriend Helen Ward since 2005, about three years before the New York Times publisher announced a separation from his wife.

After speaking to a friend of Ward's husband, Page Six reported the two started their affair on an Outward Bound trip to Machu Picchu in Peru in 2005 and later met surreptitiously (and repeatedly) in New York. The gossip page had previously reported the affair started only "about a year ago." But the tabloid corrected itself after talking to the once-bitter husband's friends, including this one:

"Imagine how you'd feel, to find out what was really happening when your wife went every other week to quote-unquote work in New York."

If Sulzberger cheated on his wife — which he did, unless he was secretly separated for three years — it's all the more absurd to definitively conclude, as Page Six did last time, that "Caroline Kennedy is innocent" of an affair with the Times scion. If Sulzberger would cheat on his wife, he'd cheat on his mistress. Think what you will about the Kennedy/Sulzberger dinner-party chatter, but this relationship has no bearing on its veracity.

Does the affair have any bearing on Sulzberger's ability to lead the Times Company, then? Not really; he's made enough professional mistakes to make his private foibles a sideshow. The company under his watch instituted its first major layoffs, saw its debt slide to junk status and tried, in a down market, to mortgage the headquarters building it constructed at great expense. Sulzberger over saw ill-advised share buybacks, dividend payments and dumb acquisitions on the business side and fabrication and war propaganda on the editorial side, etc. etc. etc.

The Times publisher does get credit for avoiding the cliche of the mogul with a decades-younger galpal. Ward is 49, just eight years Sulzberger's junior.

Times Publisher's Longtime Affair