So Lance Armstrong is the latest high profile person to confess all to Oprah, but will he ever be able to repair the damage to his reputation and his brand, or will he always be viewed as simply the latest in a long line of celebrities who, ultimately, are only sorry they got caught?
The difference with Armstrong in comparison with, say, Tiger Woods, is that it relates to the way he competed in his chosen sport, rather than being a personal scandal. His performance and achievements have been tainted, and it’s not just that he cheated in order to win. It’s that for years he repeatedly denied ever doing so that really gets the public’s goat.
Now, the way in which his confession has been tightly staged managed – a cosy one-to-one on the sofa, rather than a noisy press conference – is doing little to help his cause, giving the impression that he is still very much in charge of what is and isn’t reported.
Will he ever bounce back from this? Armstrong and his team must have weighed up the relative merits of remaining quiet versus spilling the beans and decided that, in the long run, he would be better off speaking publicly about his wrongdoing. The troubles lies in the fact that, due to ongoing legal issues and lawsuits, he could not perhaps be as full and frank as is needed to start winning over the public. Only time will tell.