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. Mike O'Brien

    John Edwards.., you broke a promise to your wife. A serious promise to her.., you broke her heart and the word 'trust' in a relationship. That might be hard to understand and the consequences could be devastating in a marriage. Its time to rebuild that 'trust' in your relationship with Elizabeth or you two will have a long road in front of you. I have noticed that many people have turned against you. You have to also regain your 'trust' with the American people or your political career is over. Mike in Montana

    May 7, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  2. Moonbeam

    To Mr. and Mrs. Edwards: you are private citizens now, folks! People, regardless of their political flavors, are not interested in your life. OK, perhaps Fox networks do, but the rest of us moved on, really.
    Your opinion of your own importance to the nation is greatly inflated.
    Go home, spend as much time as possible with your children. Privately!

    May 7, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  3. A.D.D.

    I saw the Edwards interview. Very sad for them, for us as a nation. He was so promising as a politician. Oprah asked John, "What did you think of the book?" His response was weird, something like: "It's what she wanted to say. I didn't influence her at all." What's that supposed to mean? He seemed weary, sad, resigned and angry all at once. It's clear that the last thing he wants is more publicity, but that he knows he can't interfere with Elizabeth's desire to speak. At first, I wondered about resurrecting this travesty, but after watching Elizabeth, I believe that she has important things to say about what resilience means. It's also clear that the hurt remains and that these two have a long way to go, if they will ever find each other again. I hope the other woman reads this and hangs her head in shame.

    May 7, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  4. JonDie

    Mr. Edwards,

    Please join Rod Blagojevich and Elliot Spitzer on a unmapped, deserted island somewhere. YOU are completely irrelevant, so no one, and I mean no one, cares what you have to say.

    May 7, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  5. Jack in Florida

    John Edwards is a loser.................................Elizabeth...hold your head high and kick him to the curb!!

    May 7, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  6. NIKKI, SACRAMENTO CA

    I think somethings should be kept between a husband, wife and God. People share to much of there personal business.

    May 7, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  7. Karen

    What a total jerk! Guess the ego just made him go ahead and run for president. It's all about him.

    May 7, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  8. Tal Hearst

    Johnny, you shoulda listened to your wife. Now see what you and the little man have done to your families...

    May 7, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  9. David

    It's time John Edwards returned to politics.

    May 7, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  10. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I don't agree with John Edwards or any married person having an affair, but I find some of his/her statements in conflict. Elizabeth said she knew about the affair before he ran for president and she urged him not to run to protect the family. John then says he wasn't sure if his wife would leave him. This leaves me to believe she didn't know about the affair until he ran for president.

    May 7, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  11. pistachio

    Why is it when the men have an affair and make a fool out of their wife many times the wives do not leave them but if the wife had an affair and made a fool out of the husband he would get out as fast as his legs could carry him. I think it's ridiculous that these women think so little of themselves or think they can't get another man that they would put up with the emotional abuse of their husbands cheating on them. And if it's because of the children or the history the couple has together I don't think that would be enough for the husband to stay if it was reversed. Wise up ladies!! You deserve better than that!!

    May 7, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  12. Bob

    I don't believe she was told in 2006 by her husband that he had an affair. Why would he tell her that if he thought he could get away with it. All he did was lie about it. I think she found out when the National Enquirer busted him last Summer in her residence in the midnight hours. She only said that to protect him somewhat. As for the question if the baby is his. Of course it is! Mrs. Edwards once again is protecting him by saying that the baby does not look like any of her children. With these lies of hers I'm not one bit interested in reading her book. Tell it like it is or don't tell it at all. Why protect a guy who made you look like a fool in front of the whole country. Go ahead, like the rest of polictical wifes do "Stand by your man!".

    May 7, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  13. Michael

    And this is what the religious right wants gay people NOT to have.

    May 7, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  14. Just go away

    John cheats – has a child – lies about cheating – lies about the child – still will not acknowledge the child – illegally sends the mistress money – lies about the money – and wifey writes a book. and goes on Oprah

    Well, I have heard enough of this soap opera – take your sorry story and broken marriage off the Internet. John you are forgotten and irrelevant. Mrs edwards – get wekk, and dumop the bum or else forgive him and please both of you disappear

    May 7, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  15. Bubba

    The fact that he actually ran for president with this on his back makes him a traitor to his party as well as to his wife and family. What a fool.

    May 7, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  16. Steve, Columbia SC

    Not interested.

    May 7, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  17. Will

    "I didn't know, I think the honest truth is that I didn't know what she would do," he said.
    ---------

    Can anyone really trust this person after he turned 'white-faced' in the lobby of a hotel having an affair?

    Incredible he still believes people think he can tell the truth!

    May 7, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  18. TomJay

    Shades of Billary.

    May 7, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  19. StuckinmoderationMari

    This is so sad. However, I think that these matters need to be kept private. What's to be gained from airing "dirty laundry"?

    Hope the best for Elizabeth's health, and her children. God bless.

    May 7, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  20. Ekbaaaaaaal from AZ

    This is America!!!!

    Husband "screws" around and Wife makes money writing a book on how he "screws" – LOL

    May 7, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  21. fachavez

    by buying this book or feeding into the edwards attempts to make more money you are only helping to fund their legal bills . lol . they think they can still pull the wool over America's eyes .

    May 7, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  22. Idiot_Peolosi

    Boo Hoo, dirty John Edwards finally got caught in a lie. What a shock. He's always been dirty, he just finally got caught.

    May 7, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  23. carlo

    I know Liz is ticked off with John and she is justified (I suppose) in bad mouthing her husband, but she really should leave the other woman and the baby alone. They owed her no allegiance, but HE DID! I used to really like her, but the more I hear of her, the more vapid and mean-spirited she appears. I know she has cancer and I feel for her (my mother just went into remission), but she should be at this stage of her life focusing on forgiveness and how to be a better person and not how to get even.

    May 7, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  24. nan

    Elizabeth Edwards is probably the best person who has ever touched John Edwards life. Her love must be boundless. She was the biggest asset to his campaign. Hope, they will find happiness in the end. I truly admire Mrs. Edwards as she is a true lady in ever sense of the word.

    May 7, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  25. Melissa

    What fear keeps Elizabeth Edwards from leaving the vile creature who is masquerading as her husband. And please don't tell us she remains in this deplorable situation for the sake of her children. That fear is what she needs to seek treatment for.

    May 7, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
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