This is the sort of thing that you'd never expect to happen in real life: the long-term mistress of a married Oracle executive allegedly spent in the neighborhood of $250,000 in billboards in New York, Atlanta, and San Francisco to out their affair when she heard that he was patching things up with his wife.
According to widespread reports in the likes of the New York Daily News and the New York Post, Oracle President Charles Phillips had an 8-and-a-half year affair with an actress-writer named YaVaughnie Wilkins.
In 2008, Phillips' wife filed for divorce, though details are unknown. But apparently, in recent months, Wilkins caught wind of the fact that Phillips and his wife were reconciling and purchased the aforementioned billboard space to display massive photos of herself canoodling with Phillips, accompanied by captions like, "You are my soulmate forever."
Phillips, 50, admitted to the affair this week, when news reports concerning the billboards started to surface. A member of the boards of Jazz at Lincoln Center, the American Museum of Natural History, New York Law School, Viacom, and Morgan Stanley, Phillips is also a member of President Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board.
"I had an eight-and-a-half year serious relationship with YaVaughnie Wilkins," Phillips said in a statement provided to CNET by Oracle's public relations team, who declined further comment. "My divorce proceedings began in 2008. The relationship with Ms. Wilkins has since ended and we both wish each other well."
At the bottom of Wilkins' billboards is the Web address charlesphillipsandyavaughniewilkins.com, which on Friday morning had crashed altogether. But while it was live, it contained a cornucopia of photos of Phillips and Wilkins, snapped in many an exotic destination, as well as ticket stubs from concerts and political events, and sappy notes from Phillips.
A few newspapers tracked down Bela Kovacs, the Web designer who had made the site: he said Wilkins had hired him in August, paid him $1,400, and said it was a gift for Phillips. Kovacs was reportedly unaware that Phillips was married to another woman.
For Phillips, it goes without saying that this is a huge personal embarrassment. But professionally, he may survive unscathed. His boss, the famously colorful Oracle founder and CEO Larry Ellison, is on marriage No. 4.
Update, 11:27 a.m. PST: This post was expanded with Phillips' non-Oracle associations.
Update, 12:31 p.m. PST: This post was expanded with comment from Phillips.