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. Eeeewwwww

    This is pathetic. They are both pathetic.
    They both need intense counseling.
    The USA's best interests were never in either of their hearts.
    Their poor children.

    May 7, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  2. sandra

    Such a smuck..........thinking he could just flash his duplicitous smile and be our VP.

    May 7, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. Sally

    I wish the Edwards would quit airing their dirty linen.

    May 7, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  4. DaBird

    Ms. Edwards needed to write a book so she could divorce this piece of crap politician. Our government, both Democrats and Republicans, are corrupt.

    May 7, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  5. bj, Texas

    Mrs. Edwards wanted to keep the affair a family matter, but now that it's all out, let's make some money off of it right? Typical.

    May 7, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  6. phoenix86

    Who cares? Edwards should be in jail and his wife should be locked up somewhere.

    May 7, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. makes sense

    I am sorry for Elizabeth Edwards for all the trials she is going through. I notice she said she urged him not to run for President "to protect the family"– did she say anything about not running in order to protect the rest of us from a possible melt-down of the Democratic party if Edwards had won the nomination and then this scandal had come out?

    May 7, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. A New Day

    Did it occur to anyone that maybe just a little mabe a 1% maybe that Liz was the problem?

    May 7, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  9. Stephanie

    So first he had an affair, and then he basically said "I want to be President – I don't care if you and the family are humiliated". Nice.

    May 7, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  10. JT DC

    I believe it is much more likely that Mrs. Edwards felt nauseated upon hearing the news of her husband's affair, rather than nauseous.

    May 7, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  11. Marc in Virginia

    To be fair, Elizabeth is looking pretty rundown these days.

    May 7, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  12. iwannatalk2

    I know that people shouldn't judge others- but I think that the mistress is a snake. How could you go after a married man whose wife has cancer? How low of a person are you? Really?

    May 7, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  13. Redman

    This is nuts. One I don't care about the Edwards family problems. Waat gauls me is the fact we (the public) are paying attention and our money on this.

    May 7, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  14. bsmith171

    these edwards people are as fake as they come.
    elizabeth is hillary clinton.

    anything for power.

    does she have cancer or is that another scam for sympathy arranged by her 'tax cheat' husband who chheated medicare out of $600,000.00.

    May 7, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  15. Bev - NYC

    How nice of the cheater to give his wife permission to tell her truth about his affair. Now John if only you would man up and admit the baby is yours. Grown men don't rush to hold the child of an acquaintance like a woman would, especially at 2:30 in the morning if it wasn't yours. Not for one moment, do I believe you and your wife don't know that child's paternity. The child is innocent and one day will be told of this sorted mess hope you have a good explanation for denying her.

    May 7, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  16. Julie

    Way to Go Elizabeth! I was married 27 years to a cheater and each time I was promised by him it would never happen again. Maybe if we expose these spouses who cheat it would stop or at least it would make us feel better having them exposed. Everyone should have an opportunity to express what they had to go through. They don't realize what this does to us faithful ones. This is abuse maybe not physical but emotional.

    May 7, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  17. Mississippi Mike

    Anything that makes money for John Edwards or gets his face on the evening news is fine by him. Heck, he should pull stunts like this more often.

    May 7, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  18. Ludmila

    I am sick and tired from both of them ...

    May 7, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  19. Kate in San Diego

    Some of you people are horrible. I hope none of you are ever in a position like this.

    May 7, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  20. Leigh

    I’m one of those “libs” you seem to speak so negatively about. Stereotyping and lumping people together does nothing beneficial and really doesn’t add to the conversation. I can simply negate your statement by expressing my displeasure and disgust with this whole Edwards situation. To echo several posters before me, I hate to think how this could have negatively impacted the Democratic party, should Edwards have secured the nomination. I’m also in agreement that making all of this public is pathetic, not to mention simply tacky.

    By the way, please don’t pretend as though Republicans are immune to these types of situations, or that they always act with their families’ best interests in mind. Marital problems and cheating are non-partisan occurrences – I’m pretty sure Newt and Giuliani can attest to this.

    May 7, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  21. Connie

    Many women in America deal with cheating husbands. But they live in 2,000 or less square foot homes with the guy, not a 35,000 square foot mansion. And they do not have the luxury of writing a book (HOW TACKY!!!) about it for closure; they deal. And really, do they believe Americans are that naive and that Elizabeth is that naive that this is John's first affair? It is just the first to receive national attention, and she is trying to capitalize on it, which makes her just as narcissistic as he is. I met the Edwards in person, and liked her very much, when I met him in person, he gave me the once over and I did not like him. I have now lost all admiration I once had for her. Do what every other American does when a private thing happens in your marriage – deal with it privately - we do not care.

    May 7, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  22. Jeff in Houston

    Yes, I cringe I ever donated money to the man. I really do.

    But I have a question.

    I someone had the means to cure your child of a terminal illness, and you knew him to cheat on his wife, or was gay, or did not sit on the front row of yoru church, . . . . would you allow your child to die on principle?

    Is ANY of this ANY of our business? Is it?

    May 7, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  23. Changed My Mind

    I used to be a huge supporter of Mr. & Mrs. Edwards, now I have changed my mind entirely. Except for the fact that they seem to be two of the few politicians that really care about the disadvantaged, I can't believe the way Mrs. Edwards trashed Ms. Hunter. Does she understand that this child is most likely the stepchild of her own children????? Who painted the Mother, Ms. Hunter, as a lazy person, who has time to hang out in front of a hotel? Ms. Hunter had a career as a videographer. Unbelievable denial on her part that her husband has little if any guilt in this situation. Does she really believe this inane story of how SHE picked him up & he was a victim? Elizabeth I thought you were a feminist. Give me a break.

    May 7, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  24. Morgan

    One more thing.....good for Elizabeth! I am glad to see her putting the screws to her lying cheating husband, who by-the-way is SOOOOOO the father of that baby. That child looks just like him. He should be doubly ashamed that he has nothing to do with his new daughter. He makes me sick. What kind of a person cheats on their wife that has supported them through everything and is dying of cancer? Such a pig.

    May 7, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  25. sarabee

    I just hope Obama is faithful. Obviously big time politicians can't keep their personal lives secret, so I'd like them the keep their personal lives boring.

    May 7, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
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