Albert Einstein is widely known as one of the greatest physicists of all time and has become a pop culture icon. However, like any other man, he had a good side and a dark side.
Einstein was an infamous womanizer and fathered illegitimate children. He could not remain faithful to his wives and had numerous affairs throughout his life.
Einstein’s first marriage to Mileva Marić was tumultuous. Marić was the only woman in their class at the Swiss Polytechnic Institute in Zurich where they both studied physics. They became friends and eventually fell in love. According to sources, the two were evenly matched with comparable scores in exams. Einstein’s letters to Marić talked about relative motion and molecular forces.
Marić fell pregnant in 1902 despite being unmarried. The baby was probably given up for adoption which hurt her chances for the diploma she wanted so badly. Einstein and Marić married in 1903 and had another baby the following year. She settled into more housewifely duties and largely abandoned pursuing a degree.
By 1905, Einstein’s papers became famous, and he began taking on more academic roles. Marić chose to devote herself to her family but according to sources, there’s a strong possibility she helped develop many of Einstein’s theories. The two had co-authored several papers as students though submitted only with Einstein’s name.
Things fell apart by 1912 when Einstein reconnected with a first cousin, Elsa Lowenthal, and began an affair. Marić demanded he stay with the family and he did but with conditions. Sources reported Einstein wrote to Marić that he would remain provided she lay out his clothes, fix him three meals a day, shut up when told to, and leave when ordered.
Einstein’s genius is undeniable but it is important to acknowledge that he was also a human being who made mistakes and had flaws.