May 7th, 2009
06:28 PM ET
5 years ago

John Edwards breaks silence on wife's book

WASHINGTON (CNN) - John Edwards supported his wife writing about their marital problems in the wake of his affair with a campaign staffer, the former presidential candidate said in a rare on-camera interview airing Thursday.

In the brief television interview with talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, Edwards said he never suggested his wife, Elizabeth, change any part of the book, even chapters that described the most personal details of her reaction to his infidelity.

"I think it's how she feels, it's what's inside of her," Edwards said. It was his first television interview since publicly acknowledging the affair nine months ago.

Among the revelations in her book out this week, Mrs. Edwards said she became nauseous when her husband told her of an affair with Rielle Hunter in 2006, who was hired to make Web videos about Edwards as he geared up for his second presidential run.

“I cried and screamed,” Mrs. Edwards writes in the book. “I went to the bathroom and threw up." Mrs. Edwards added that she urged her husband not to run for president in order to protect the family if the affair became public.

In the interview with Oprah, John Edwards said he wasn't sure whether his wife would leave him after he admitted to the affair.

"I didn't know, I think the honest truth is that I didn't know what she would do," he said.
“I don't think anybody knows when they go through something like this."

Edwards also said he and his wife are "are getting to a good place." But he added, "It's not over."

John Edwards currently faces a federal investigation over the $114,000 in payments to Hunter's production company. Edwards denies any wrongdoing in how Hunter was compensated.


Filed under: Elizabeth Edwards • John Edwards • Popular Posts
soundoff (127 Responses)
  1. rachel

    Go back silent john and go take care of your baby.

    May 7, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  2. Doug, New Jersey

    Spitzer, Clinton, Edwards ETC.......they have made it known just how honest and caring they are for their loved ones, yet libs trust them.

    It's funny how fake stories about McCain makes the libs very frothy but they wish to ignore the truth and facts about Edwards and company.

    Say what you want about republicans, not one in America comes close to the blind partianship of the liberal Democrat.

    May 7, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  3. kevincollins

    What I despise about Edwards (whom I voted for in the primary) isn't just the affair but his running for president knowing that his undiscovered-yet affair could've been unearthed while he won the nomination, which would've badly damaged the party.

    May 7, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  4. yuri

    John boy, you'd better come clean and confess even more if there are other convincin' collection of crucial facts. What about the federal investigation?

    May 7, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I'm truly disappointed in Mr. Edwards. I can care less about his infidelity or even the notion that he used campaign funds to keep his mistress quiet. What get's under my skin is what would've happened if he was the democratic nominee for president.

    May 7, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  6. librarian

    I REALLY don't care about the marital problems of Mr. and Mrs. Edwards. They both should be ashamed of making them public fodder. It is pathetic.

    May 7, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  7. Jesse

    This man is a puke. Who knows what his wife is really like.

    She reminds me of Hilary Clinton. When are these high-profile women subjected to cheating going to take a REAL stand, not just by their man?

    Maybe the rest of society would benefit from the example a powerful and connected woman kicking her husbend to the curb. Maybe women might think, "Hey, if she is strong enough to do it, so am I."

    May 7, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  8. Chip

    His 15 minutes are up! Enough already.

    May 7, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  9. patNY

    Don't have a pitty party for Mrs. Edwards...think of all the money she'll make from her book. Once the royalties start rolling in, she's gonna kick Mr. Edwards to the curb and dump him!

    May 7, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  10. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    Their is no reason for putting anything about this dog in the political section, it is tabloid stuff. This man will never be elected to anything again with the possible exception of dog catcher wherever Barbra Streisand lives.

    May 7, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  11. lousy

    ypical Dem. Can’t keep it in his pants. The morally bankrupt party

    May 7, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  12. Thomas

    Why would she stay with that cheating lying loser is beyond me. Cheating on a wife suffering from cancer. That's a real man. NOT

    May 7, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  13. Brian

    Who cares. John Edwards is a prime example of what is wrong with the American politician today.

    May 7, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  14. Chamorrita, MD

    John Edwards knows better than to buck his wife regarding her book. This book is "therapy" for Elizabeth Edwards. When you write, its a way of getting the pain, hurt, anger and everything else off your shoulders. There's a healing process every couple goes through when one of them is unfaithful. The Edwards are no exception to the rule. They have invested a lot of years in a marriage, they are the only ones who will decide its fate.

    We all HURT and if you cut any one of us, we all BLEED the same red blood. NO one is immune to infidelity. It's very painful and it hurts to the core of your soul.

    I think John Edwards realizes the ill of his ways. He knows this horrific decision had caused some serious damage in his marriage, whether or not it can be salvage, ONLY these two people know.

    People in this blog can criticize or bash the Edwards, but in the end, it's NOT YOUR MARRIAGE or YOUR LIFE. You do NOT get to dictate what is appropriate for the Edwards or their situation. John and Elizabeth are the only two people who will decide, and that's how it should be. There's a lot at stake here, they have children they love dearly and want to protect, there's an investment of time and emotion in this marriage. Nothing is taken for granted, and everyone makes a mistake. NO ONE IS PERFECT, WITHOUT SIN.

    May 7, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  15. Tulsa

    This guy needs to go away and beg his wife to forgive him every day. I have no pity for him or anyone who does the dispicable things he has. (Newt, McCain, Clinton. doesn't matter, dishonest and just wrong)

    May 7, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  16. Paul from Phoenix

    Allow me to do my best Robert Gibbs impersonation and clarify what Edwards really said:

    "This is the only way we are going to get any money for the forseeable future, and I am going to need some cash to pay for my soon to be mounting legal bills. Moreover, My very large house requires me to buy lots of Carbon Credits from my good friend Al Gore so that I can use as much energy as possible, and it gets cold sleeping in the guest room."

    May 7, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  17. Terry

    Too bad Edwards got tagged with the scarlet letter. Now his political future is pretty much over. He was my first choice for the Democratic nomination. It is unfortunate that a candidate's sexual activity has now become a criterion by which voters make up their minds. How many of us would like for all of our sexual habits, history, and preferences to be on the front page of the NY Times?

    That said, a lawyer should know better than to hire his girlfriend, especially a lawyer running for public office.

    May 7, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  18. Noemi Rivera from Los Angeles

    Now, imagine if Edwards was actually the Democratic Nominee instead of Obama... his infidelity would have ruined our party and he'd be a Clinton #2.

    May 7, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  19. kelly

    Dear John:

    What a total bummer you turned out to be. Elizabeth has cancer, you have children, you took a vow. America is super glad you aren't our President. Once so promising now no thanks – and your choice in a lover was a kook.

    May 7, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  20. Ajay Jain, Garland, TX, USA

    What a shame exSenator ran for the highest public office AFTER having and acknowleding his affair with his WIFE!!! No concern for self or Party!!!

    May 7, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  21. KLK

    He's a total loser.

    May 7, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  22. Linda

    It's just too bad so many of our country's "leaders" are involved in such affairs. No matter how hard one tries to defend their behavior it still has a negative effect on our society as a whole. What one does in their private life does matter. "Edwards denies any wrongdoing in how Hunter was compensated." And why should we believe him; he lied about his affair. Why should we believe Bill Clinton; he lied about his affair. How about Eliot Spitzer who got off scott free, unlike those he prosecuted for the same scandalous crime. Why should we trust these tax-paid employees when they are not trustworthy? Look where these "leaders" have led us to – the brink of destruction. I say vote in some reputable, law abiding citizens with some moral standards and even if they don't know the first thing about politics and Washington we would be better off, by far, than with these jokers and what they have done/are doing to the country.

    May 7, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  23. Shirley In California

    I think both John and his wife are classless. Why in the world would you chose to air your dirty laundry to the whole world when there are children involved? Most of us as parents take major precautions to protect our children's privacy. It's bad enough their children will actually know what (both) of their parents did but other children are listening too and will taunt them horrifically on the matter. This should not have become a media circus. I am so glad this was found out before Edwards advanced any further in the primaries. While the "other woman" is certainly not in my graces, Elizabeth in my opinion is even worse. She's a sick woman mentally and physically. I think she needs psychiatric help. Its as though she wants ALL of us to punish her husband. This is HER job and HER situation not mine. Please Elizabeth and John work your bedroom problems out between the two of you in private. I don't want to hear or read about it.

    May 7, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  24. Sharon

    I met Mr. Edwards during his run as VP in 2004. At the time, he seemed like an insincere pretty boy attorney who was full of himself. The revelations of his affair are not surprising but I feel terribly sorry for his wife – who was so crassly used by the opportunistic Mr. Edwards in his 2008 run for office.

    May 7, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  25. NC Independent

    Typical male dog....

    May 7, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
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