A US woman who won $9 million (£6 million) in damages from her husband's alleged mistress said her legal victory sent a clear message to potential home-wreckers to "lay off".
Cynthia Shackelford, 60, a former teacher from North Carolina, was awarded the unprecedented sum by a jury in the United States for damages to her feelings under an obscure 19th century adultery law.
The award was made against Anne Lundquist, 49, an administrator at a private school, who was accused of having an affair with Allan Schackelford, a 62-year-old lawyer who had been married to Mrs Shackelford for 33 years.
Mrs Shackelford took Miss Lundquist to court in Greensboro in North Carolina, one of seven states in America where the so-called "alienation of affection" law is still in force.
It evolved from common law under which men were classed as property of their wives (and women, the property of their husbands). As property, they were something that could be stolen. Both men and women are now able to sue under the law in North Carolina, Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Dakota and Utah.
In a similar case, a Dr Lynn Arcara, used the same centuries-old “alientation of affection” law to sue one of her closest friends after the woman betrayed her by stealing her husband of six years.
Dr Arcara, who was several months pregnant with her first child, had invited her friend Susan Pecoraro to stay at her home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, so that she could help decorate the nursery.
However, Miss Pecoraro, 45, embarked upon an affair with Dr Arcara’s husband, Russell, a retired US army officer.
When Dr Aracara discovered the affair, after giving birth to a daughter, the marriage ended and the couple divorced.
The 45-year-old radiologist launched a legal case to reclaim $5.8m (£3.7m), a sum based on the amount of money she would have earned if she had remained married to her husband.
Dr Arcara’s lawyer said that women seeking affairs should avoid coming to North Carolina.
Is this why my wife keeps encouraging me to go off to Monaco for the night so that she might have the chance to sue some rich woman if I stray ? Answers on a postcard please.
PS - Boys - recognise the picture? Yup - from the BBC series, Mistresses which I watched avidly.