Though married to Theseus, Phaedra falls in love with Hippolytus, Theseus' son by Antiope, queen of the Amazons. According to some sources, Hippolytus had scorned Aphrodite to become a devotee of Artemis, and that’s why Aphrodite made Phaedra fall in love with him as a punishment. Nevertheless, he rejected the pining Phaedra.
However, another source claims that Phaedra's nurse told Hippolytus of her mistress’s love, as long as he swore he would not reveal the nurse as his source of information.
In revenge for his rejection, Phaedra wrote Theseus a letter claiming that Hippolytus had raped her. Theseus believed her and cursed Hippolytus with one of the three curses he had received from Poseidon. As a result, Hippolytus' horses were frightened by a sea monster and dragged their rider to his death.
Yet another source maintains that after Phaedra had told Theseus that Hippolytus had raped her, Theseus killed his son and Phaedra committed suicide out of remorse, since she had never intended that Hippolytus should die. Later Artemis revealed the whole truth of the matter to Theseus.
In yet a third version, Phaedra herself tells Theseus what transpired and why, and does not commit suicide; in this version, Dionysus sends a wild bull to terrify Hippolytus' horses which again drag him to his death.