May 5th, 2009
11:24 AM ET
5 years ago

Elizabeth Edwards speaks out about Rielle Hunter's baby

(CNN) – Former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards has long denied that he is the father of videographer Rielle Hunter's daughter - but outspoken wife Elizabeth Edwards says she isn't sure.

In an interview with talk show host Oprah Winfrey set to air Thursday, Elizabeth Edwards says doesn't "have any idea" if her husband, who has admitted having an affair with Hunter, is also the father of Hunter's child.

"The other woman has a baby," Winfrey said during the interview.

"That's what I understand," Edwards said, interrupting the media mogul.

"And there is great speculation that your husband, John Edwards, is the father of that baby," responded Winfrey.

"That's what I understand. I've seen a picture of the baby. I have no idea. It doesn't look like my children. But, I don't have any idea," said Edwards.

In "Resilence," a new book by Edwards due out later this month, she describes her visceral, physical reaction to her husband telling her about the affair in late 2006, soon after he announced his second presidential bid.

"After I cried and screamed, I went to the bathroom and threw up," Edwards writes in her forthcoming book.

Related on TIME.com: How I survived John's affair


The Edwardses recently acknowledged a pending federal investigation into payments by the former candidate's political action committee to a production company owned by Hunter.

In a statement given to several news organizations, including to CNN on Monday, John Edwards for the first time acknowledged the ongoing federal probe, but would provide no further details.

"I am confident that no funds from my campaign were used improperly," Edwards said in the statement. "However, I know that it is the role of government to ensure that this is true. We have made available to the United States both the people and the information necessary to help get the issue resolved efficiently and in a timely manner."

Elizabeth Edwards, told CNN Monday "there won't be anything that sticks on this."
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in North Carolina refused to confirm or deny any ongoing investigation.

It is a federal crime to knowingly use money from a political action committee for personal use.

Listen: CNN Radio reports on the Edwards investigation

Updated: 11:24 a.m.

soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. AJ

    People will air their dity laundry in public for the sake of a book and a buck. How disturbing. Thank goodness these two never made it to the White House and hopefully never will. When will we stop electing these dishonorable people to office? Do we really think that a person who cannot be fithful to their spouse can be faithful to the oath of office or to the American people? Our current president seems to be an intelligent and honest fellow. Perhaps he can bring back dignity and honesty to the White House.

    May 5, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  2. phoenix86

    Elizabeth Edwards stuck by John because he was a national figure and she likes the publicity that that brings her. A normal woman in the US would not put up with her husbands betrayal. However, the Edwards have been morally shallow for decades.

    What a fool.

    May 5, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  3. Johnny DC

    Feel bad for this woman because nobody deserves cancer. That's where my sympathy ends and my loathing begins.

    She is no different than Hilary, in that she was willing to trade her dignity and integrity for a chance at a glorious legacy. Mrs. Clinton let herself become a public mockery for a decade just to quench her unending thirst for power. What women like this don't understand is that this sets a horrible example for other – albeit stronger – American women out there. I have no respect for Mrs. Clinton, and I have no respect for Mrs. Edwards either. They have both, perhaps unintentionally but still unforgivably, selfishly distributed the message that it's okay for your husband to embarrass you publicly as long as you care more about your career than you do about your family.

    Horrible examples set by our "leaders".

    May 5, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  4. vicky

    Why cash in on this affair?

    May 5, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. dave

    Just remember that Ike and FDR were men who could not stay faithful to their wives

    May 5, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  6. KLK

    Wow, just when I thought all the hate was reserved for Michelle Obama...... Elizabeth Edwards is not the one who deserves the negativity and mean comments, her husband is.

    May 5, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  7. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    What upsets me about this is that she knew about the affair, and still actively campaigned for and stood by her husband in his quest for the nomination. What if he had actually been nominated and then news of the affair broke? The rug would have been pulled out from under the Democratic Party and we would likely have a Republican President right now. She put us all at risk in order to fulfill personal ambitions. I have lost all respect for her and for John (who was one of my favorites early in the process).

    May 5, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. Henry

    I am not an Opra lover but she is getting a raw deal here why get mad at Opra? The problem is with the people going on the show and airing their dirty laundry who cares any way. People are calling Opra racist for supporting a black man running for president. For over two hundred years white people has been supporting white candidates and everyone except whites was shut out of the process oh but that is not racist heh. Get a grip people.

    May 5, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. AMN

    what a cad. be strong, Elizabeth. and if you leave, take his money, get yourself a new house, and go on vacation in Fiji.

    May 5, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  10. Lynn West Bloomfield, Michigan

    Hey, just like this is Elizabeth Edwards' pain it is also her business to tell. If we don't want to hear it we know what to do – change the channel or not buy the book. If she wants to put up with that man that is her business. Careful ladies ......your man may just not have been found out!

    As for Oprah, she owns that show. So, if she wants to put these people on so be it. Turn the channel is you don't like it.

    Ms. Winfrey, by the way, also pays A LOT of taxes so if she wants to support Barack Obama that is her right. It doesn't make her a racist any more than the people who supported John McCain were automatically racist because he was white. It was her choice – and her right!

    May 5, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  11. C W

    Hear, hear Susan! The woman who went after John Edwards is despicable – and I totally agree these women who go after married men have HUGE psychological issues, not the least of which is being utterly devoid of compassion. Talk about self-centeredness and runaway ego! There's also a huge amount of cowardice. Having an affair with a married man is almost guaranteed to fail, so where's the real risk?

    Also, a married man rarely leaves his wife. If he does, look what you've got: a man who's proven to you he's completely capable of being unfaithful! For a person to feel like this is the best they deserve speaks volumes about their own low self-esteem, emotional immaturity and deep-rooted issues.

    May 5, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  12. Pam

    I don't see Elizabeth blaming the other woman. I see her relaying what was given to her, no doubt by her husband. Every single day, women share stories about things like this that have happened to them, publicly and privately. Why should she be any different? Maybe her writing about it is helping her heal. Maybe it will help another wife think smarter. She is already a very wealthy woman, so, Id on't see how this could be career/money motivated. There are plenty of women who have been cheated on in their marriages and would take the same route that Elizabeth has. If it brings her closure, I'm all for it. Maybe public embarrassment will do both John Edward and this other person some good so they won't bring this kind of hurt upon others again.

    May 5, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  13. Timbuk2

    I believe Elizabeth Edwards knew all along that her husband was having an affair, this is something women know, whether we choose ignore it or pretend it isn't happening, and based on her admission that John told her right in the midst of his running for prez; deception on both their parts. So in my mind the vomit story is one to sell her book.

    So now she forgives John and continue to live with him, but but wants the public to stone the "other woman. " Interesting...

    May 5, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  14. Someone who knows the pain.

    "That's what I understand. I've seen a picture of the baby. I have no idea. It doesn't look like my children. But, I don't have any idea," said Edwards.
    ****************************************************************************

    I can empathize with Mrs. Edwards's anger towards her husband and especially Ms. Hunter, but referring to this young baby as an "it" is just wrong. We illegitimate children of the world didn't choose our parents...God knows we wish could have. So, please don't hate on this baby. If she is John Edwards's daughter, she is never going to experience the security of having him as a father, and it will be her, and her alone that will forever carry the shame of this illicit affair between the parents she could not choose.

    May 5, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  15. Ken in NC

    She should have turned her husband from a Rooster to a Hen in one wack. That would have taken care of his screw ups for the rest of his life. He would never have had sex with any other woman again.

    What would the law do to her? Put her in jail for 20 years? I don't think so. She is already living under a death sentence with a terminal cancer and that makes what her fool of a husband did even worse.

    May 5, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  16. dominican mama 4 Obama

    Yikes!! He has an affair, possibly sired a child, AAAAND now they are investigating some "funny money" given to the mistress' company. So let's be a survivor, the wife says, and get on Oprah and thus ensure that the whole world knows the minutae of my private life. And, by the way, I wrote a book about it....wanna hear it? Here it goes......

    Anything for the almighty dollar.

    May 5, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  17. Susan

    I can't believe there is a man out there who actually makes Bill Clinton seem like less of a heel in comparison. Talk about The Biggest Loser!

    May 5, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  18. Shirley In California

    Really who cares? People are losing their jobs and healthcare. Go spend your millions and let your husband continue to get $400 hair cuts and please leave the rest of us alone.

    Thank you.

    May 5, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  19. Moonbeam

    Relationship between John and Elizabeth Edwards was a private matter until he decided to run for President.
    Elizabeth is a seasoned political wife and a lawyer, she knew that from that point on nothing will be private, that she and her children will be caused a great deal of pain, not to mention a betrayal of these who might vote for her husband.
    Yet she went along with his deception . I believe that Mrs. Edwards treats her husband not as man but as a naughty boy.
    That said, they are private folks again and should resolve their problems among themselves. Time when anyone was interested in them has passed.

    May 5, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  20. Linda from Minnesota

    I've never understood women who blame the other woman for the affair. The other woman has no allegiance to Elizabeth, John does. I am not saying its ok for the other woman to go after John but it was his responsibility to say no out of respect for his marriage. Which leads me to another topic – the conservatives want to ban gay marriage to "protect" marriage – the only protection marriage between a man and a woman needs is from each other. The gays aren't a threat and had nothing to do with John straying.

    May 5, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  21. JPC

    For the sake of her "family", if Elizabeth decided to forgive and move on then she should NOT be talking about this AGAIN! It was done! It is over! Of course, it will never go away, but she doesn't have to help it stay alive and her discussing it again does exactly that....keeps it alive.

    May 5, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  22. PK California

    Some men cheat and DO leave their wives! John McCain did, but there was a BIG financial gain to be made by doing so. (Somehow that issue was swept under the rug during the campaign) Edwards is the father because he's guilty by omission.....refusing a DNA test. If he has nothing to hide, he should hide nothing. It would be interesting to find out if he's paying child support. I suggest he go on tour with Bristoil Palin and tell the kids that this is what the father of your child will do.......DENY IT!

    May 5, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  23. ray ray

    Elizabeth CRIED, SCREAMED, and THREW UP in the bathroom.....
    ....... and never once had the courage to TELL THE TRUTH or convince her husband to get out of the campaign.

    She is guilty of being complicit in this whole drama and deserves little sympathy.

    May 5, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  24. No Incumbents 2010

    Oprah should be ashamed of asking Elizabeth Edwards who the father of Hunter's baby is. We need to let this story go it is not fair to the baby.

    May 5, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  25. munchmom

    CNN, I am getting tired of you not posting my comments......do I have to be a flaming liberal to get posted. And I was even defending Elizabeth.....

    May 5, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
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