How People Are Explaining Their Ashley Madison Accounts

Man sitting at desk using laptop
Photo: Chad Springer/Getty Images, Ashley Madison

So you got busted. Someone who didn’t know about your Ashley Madison account now does and you’re in deep, deep trouble. At least you’re not alone. Thirty-seven million names were leaked this week as a part of a massive hack into the website for cheaters and some of the people whose personal information turned up in the hackers’ files have chosen to speak out about it. Their accounts provide a glimpse into conversations happening around the world this week — some certainly ending in laughter, others in tears. Here’s a sampling of the ways people have publicly reckoned with their appearance in Ashley Madison’s database:

Someone else used my email address.
“Along with potentially millions of others, an out-of-use email address seems to have been harvested by hackers.” —Scottish MP
Michelle Thomson

Someone signed up with my e-mail address in order to sully my good name.”  —Knesset member Taleb Abu Arar

It was just a gag.
“I’m sure I cruised some profiles, but did nothing.” —This BuzzFeed writer’s

I was doing research.
“I found an account in the dump that I used for security research purposes while working on a potential story about shady business pratices [sic] … with major dating services.” —Internet-security expert
Per Thorsheim

I had joined out of curiosity and for research purposes when I was Townsville’s premier dating columnist.” —Matthew Dunn of Australia’s the News

Morbid curiosity,” but I told my wife anyway.

I’ve got a really common email name/email address.

All of the above.

My marriage sucked.
“I worried that I’d made a huge mistake marrying my husband. He made me feel so stupid, so small, so worthless … That’s when I made a huge mistake by subscribing to the website Ashley Madison.” —This
writer at the Motherish

How People Explain Their Ashley Madison Accounts