August 9th, 2008
09:03 AM ET
6 years ago

National Enquirer: Edwards story came from credible tip

National Enquirer editor-in-chief David Perel says the tabloid broke news of John Edwards' affair in 2007.
National Enquirer editor-in-chief David Perel says the tabloid broke news of John Edwards' affair in 2007.

(CNN) - Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards admitted Friday to having an extramarital affair in 2006 with a woman who worked on his campaign.

Edwards has denied being the father of the woman's child, as had been alleged in tabloid reports, and it is willing to take a paternity test.

Wolf Blitzer, filling in for Larry King, spoke with David Perel, editor-in-chief of the National Enquirer, who originally broke the story in October 2007. Blitzer also spoke with Alan Butterfield, a senior reporter for the National Enquirer who confronted John Edwards at a hotel in Beverly Hills on Thursday.

Some highlights:

Wolf Blitzer: What got you guys going in this direction to begin with?

David Perel: We received what we thought was a credible tip, Wolf, and we started investigating it. A lot of times when we go down this road and the story turns out not to be true, we abandon it. But the more we dug in, the more information The Enquirer uncovered that was standing up, we were able to prove that, indeed, John Edwards had a sexual affair with Rielle Hunter. We first did the story in October without naming her and then we came back with a much tougher story in December 2007, where we not only named her, but we photographed her pregnant.

Watch: Perel discusses Edwards' 'character issue'

Blitzer: And at that time, you didn't report that - what you reported subsequently, that you thought that he was the father.

Perel: That's true. We know that Rielle believes that he is the father. And Mr. Edwards today, in his own statement, said he did not take a paternity test. He's now saying that he will take one. We've asked him for months if he would take one and he's ignored that request.

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Filed under: John Edwards
soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Todd C.

    Mr Edwards is no longer running for anything. So who cares?

    Newt Gringich admitted to having cheated on his ill wife WHILE leading the pack to impeach Clinton at the same time. That was a non-story.

    John Edwards did a bad thing. To his family. Not to USA. Let's stick to the issues!

    August 9, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  2. THE BUSH TWINS : GEORGE & JOHN

    Ok, so now everyone knows. So lets leave this family alone to work out their personal problems. Of, course that's wishful thinking, we know also, other slimbags will be coming out of the woodwork to make some money, or grab 15 minutes of fame.

    August 9, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  3. JA Cook

    So the point is.... Edwards is lot like McCain and many other human beings.

    Edwards at least worked things out with his wife rather than divorcing her to marry the younger, undamaged woman.

    August 9, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  4. The Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    I am shocked at this revelation. I wish it would have been Hussein.

    Who wants a president named Hussein.

    That is okay for Arab Countries but I don't think it is appropriate for the land of the free and the home of the brave.

    Who wants to be ruled by a minority?

    August 9, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  5. Ell from TX

    I don't care much for National Enquirer! They are scum, and in order to gain respect as a news worthy they should not print all the other bull! Then it would not look like the "The Boy Who Cried Wolf".

    I feel for the Edwards family, and I too would not be giving a statement to them. I'm glad he (Edwards) came out to make a statement to "Real Journalists".

    August 9, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  6. Orlando

    Wow – main stream media stood on the sidelines to protect Obama!

    August 9, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  7. Credible

    Credible report came from PUMA?, so one vice presidential nominee is out , so few more knock outs so only Hilly Billy is left.
    I guess we will have an impeached president's wife?

    August 9, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  8. ben

    Remember Diogenis(sp?) Anyway he was the man with a lamp trying to find an honest man. Today he would be looking for an honest politician, one who does not have a sexual skeletin hidden in the closet. Who cares about the private life of anyone? Well scandal mongers do! There was a book calles IS SEX NECCESARY? It is about a sheriff who was honest and uncorruptable. He had been in office for 20 years and nobody wanted to run a gainst him because nobody could possibly beat him in an election. One night at an all male party he said,"boys, I think sex is fun" The next election he was soundly defeated by an unknown who had only lived in town for 3 months.

    August 9, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  9. Jan, Toledo, OH

    What about John McCain's affairs while married?

    August 9, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  10. California Girl

    Very disappointing in Senator Edwards' poor behavior. People wonder what he was doing at 3:00 am, it was a booty call.

    August 9, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  11. Dave in Illinois

    So much for an honest politician with high morals. He would have had a field day with White House interns had he gotten that far.

    I guess Obama will have to disown him now. "That's not the John Edwards I knew."

    August 9, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  12. rhoward

    I agree it shows poor judgment but don't feel that it warrants the breathless media coverage it's generated. Edwards is not the first, nor will he be the last, politician who couldn't keep his zipper up.

    August 9, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  13. A CANUCK

    Now the Edwards...Clintons ..and McCains all have something in common !!!!! Nice bunch !!!

    August 9, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  14. Shon P. Connors, Warsaw, Ohio

    In my opinion, I really don't care about what Mr. Edwards does. It is between His wife, His God and himself. He is no longer a presidential candidate, the press needs to leave his family and him alone to figure out what they think is the best way to handle this.

    August 9, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  15. deedee in the suburbs

    I am disappointed in Edwards and feel sad for his wife and kids. Those in public office should represent the best values for our families. Committment in realtionships and being trustworthy are attributes that count although no one may ever be perfect. Still. When I think of all of McCain's admitted affiars and that he dumped the wife that stayed by him through Viet Nam for 24 yr old welathy Cindy after his firsr wufec was disfigured in an accident, its hard for me to understand why there is no press on that. She would be our first "home wrecker" first lady and based on how he presented her to the Biker rally this past wk.in the Dakotas as an applicant for their beauty pagent, which we then saw had videos of topless women gyrating with bananas, I have to wonder what this says about him as a husband. I think he needs to be more mindful of the message that sends to young girls and regular, not trophy ,wives. Perhaps I am old fashioned but if you cannot stay honest with the most critical people in your personal what does that say about you?

    August 9, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  16. Willow, from Iowa

    I don't think the American public really cares much at all about Edward's extracurricular activities. That is between him and his wife. While I feel bad for his wife, I don't feel sorry for him, he gets what he deserves.

    Lots of men think that they couldn't possibly be the Father, because people misunderstand that a baby doesn't take nine months, they take ten lunar months. So a ten month baby, the father thinks couldn't possibly be his. Surprise. So if he been with this woman 10 months earlier, that could possibly be his baby. And why is his financial advisor paying them money? to get them out of state? Yeah right. Take the test, Edwards. Then we can forget about it and move on.

    August 9, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  17. Ken

    In today's moral america!, LOL, now Edwards can't be President, V.P., burger flipper at McDonald's! Come on!, who has not sinned and went on to greatness.

    Forgive the guy, and let's not waste a good mind and person.

    August 9, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  18. California Gold

    Nothing like old news from 2006 that is none of our business to fill up band width. Please try to keep in mind the ones who get hurt by this are the children of the families. Try to exercise a little restraint.

    August 9, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  19. Texan for Obama

    Sad. I am very disappointed in Edwards...thought was one of a few true Southern gentlemen. My guess is that he is the father of this child which is even more troubling.

    But with all that having been said I believe his political career is probably over. Continuing this story serves no purpose. We need to respect the privacy of the Edwards family and that of Ms. Hunters too.

    August 9, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  20. Elizabeth

    I knew about this in 2006 but I let John continue going for the presidency...I am still furious.

    August 9, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  21. Raymond Duke

    The national Inquier is slimeballs and that is all I have to say to the matter. They have never received a cent of my money and never will.

    August 9, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  22. Comment....

    This story may legitimize the national inquire...

    August 9, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  23. Ruth Taylor

    I'm not clear on the purpose behind all of this focus on Edwards' personal foibles, given he's no longer a candidate. Don't get me wrong; I don't like what he did. But why all the attention? If it's because he may be on Obama's veep list, then I see hypocrisy here. Senator McCain's philandering has been mentioned in the past, but it has faded from public discussion-let's put that back on the table now, if we're going to go after Democrats who aren't even candidates (yet).

    August 9, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  24. CJ

    I was very sorry to learn of John Edwards' affair with Rielle, but the tragedy here lies with Elizabeth Edwards and her children. I listened to the interviews, heard the statements of both John and Elizabeth, and none of you can possibly imagine the hurt Elizabeth and the Edwards' children must be feeling now, thinking that they had all forgiven him for his mistake and were working to mend their family. Now after all of them have supported him, tried to put this behind them, here is John again going to this woman's hotel room in the wee hours of the morning. Once may be a mistake, but the truth is, Elizabeth is now enduring a new pain, one of learning that he is still seeing someone else. My heart goes out to her, and frankly, right now, I would think her strength is beginning to dwindle. I believe this has gathered all the attention and then some that it may deserve, and as someone who has experienced this, I would hope that the media will allow Elizabeth some privacy so that she may grieve and begin to get her life in order.

    August 9, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  25. Linda

    Leave the poor man and his poor family alone. This is a personal issue. I don't want to hear any more about it. There is no longer a legitmate media in America. You've all become like the National Enquirer1

    August 9, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
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