Being a rising political star can be as risky as being a child star.

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife were indicted on federal corruption charges today, a few days shy of four years after he gave the Republican response to the State of the Union — a rare honor for a governor just starting on the job.

By the end of that term, however, McDonnell had gotten into trouble for allegedly accepting gifts and loans from a business executive who was looking for favors from state government.

But other one-time rising political stars have been brought down:

John Edwards, one-term U.S. senator, 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee and 2008 presidential also-ran, got in trouble for funneling money to his pregnant mistress.

Mark Sanford, former Republican governor of South Carolina, tumbled badly when he was caught sneaking out of the state to meet his mistress, though he later was elected to the House.


John Ensign, former Republican senator from Nevada, resigned amid reports that he funneled money to his former mistress and helped her husband get a job.

All three politicians were at one point considered credible candidates for the presidency. But not any more.