Eighteen years after it happened, Ali Landry still recalls her short-lived marriage to Mario Lopez — and all that came with it — as "horrible." The two had dated for six years, after meeting at the 1998 Miss Teen USA pageant, but their union was annulled after just two weeks.
"Not even a week after, I found out that it was, like, a Tiger Woods situation," Landry told Lacey Leone McLaughlin on the Unfolding Leadership podcast. "It was, you know, cheating across the board, with some women for one year, some women for two years."
The revelation made Landry question everything.
"I thought to myself, 'How did I, how did I miss this?' Then I looked at myself and thought, 'How did I even end up with a person like that? Like, what part of me… what did I do in this situation?' It couldn't be all him...," she said before adding that most of it was him. "And moving forward, like, it was devastating. It was truly, like, devastating. And I made a commitment that moving forward, I was gonna take the blinders off, number one. And I was gonna walk through, you know, my life in full awareness and really being aware of my choices, and those choices were gonna represent who I was as a person. And with everything. Not just with the person that I chose but also with my career. And that was the biggest shift in my life."
After that, Landry said, she took more ownership in her career too. She no longer allowed agents and managers to tell her what she should do, which meant changing her people-pleasing ways.
"I look back on that situation, which was horrible, and I thank God every single day, because it changed me as a woman. It changed the way… I walk through this world, 100 percent," she said. "I am so much better because that happened. I am forever grateful for that."
For his part, the Saved by the Bell actor and Extra host wrote in his 2014 memoir, Just Between Us, that he felt pressured by Landry and by society — his friends were all getting married — to walk down the aisle, even though he didn't feel it was right. Meanwhile, a friend plotted that infamous pre-wedding boys' trip, which the men told their significant others was just a fishing trip, during spring break.
"It was a five-day nonstop party," Lopez wrote. "Suffice it to say, my good time was a little too good, because I got inebriated and a little too friendly with a young lady on spring break at one of the stops in some university party town. What was I thinking?"
He said that he was caught because a friend of Landry's sister snapped a photo of him at a Louisiana State University party in South Padre Island, Texas. "I was caught in a white lie," he wrote.
Lopez said he realized that he didn't want to save the marriage, because he'd never loved Landry.
In 2012, Landry said on The Wendy Williams Show that she found out Lopez had strayed after tapping his phone to confirm her suspicions.
She explained then that she had become more religious because of what happened with Lopez, and she met her second husband, Alejandro Gómez Monteverde, at a theology class. They married in 2006 and have three children: 14-year-old daughter Estela, and sons Marcelo, 10, and Valentin, 8.