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. Billy J in Texas

    man, oh man, Am I glad the truth came out BEFORE he got on the ticket. I was an Edwards man thru and thru, sent plenty of money and argued with my friends who supported Obama or Clinton. If he had knowingly taken the nomination only to lose to McCain because of something as stupid and despicable as the affair, he would have been as responsible as the actual president for any bad governance that came from the white house for the next four years. Not to mention destroying the morale of the party. What a disappointment.

    May 7, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  2. lynn in NM

    Who cares what this loser has to say? They still haven't done a paternity test. That would blow his last cover. I'm sure Mrs. Edwards didn't have anything to do with the campaign funds, but him???? He's a politician. That's all the explanation needed.

    May 7, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  3. Lois

    This woman is so brave and he should thank his lucky stars that she didn't kick him to the curb....I was so shocked by this, they always seemed so very much in love with one another..It blew me away...Is nothing sacred?.........

    May 7, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  4. Christine

    My view is different than most.
    I imagine after 30 years of marriage, John Edwards fell for someone else. It happens you know, we don't just love one person our whole life.
    I believe John Edwards stood by his wife throughout her illness, and going though that also takes a huge toll on the supporting party. Cut the guy some slack, and hey, I'm not even a Democrat.

    May 7, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  5. Joe

    John McCain cheated on his wife while she was in a wheelchair.
    McCain also ran for President.
    What's the difference?

    May 7, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  6. Rosa Birmingham, AL

    They should get a divorce. He is a jerk, I am just afraid of what will happen to their kids when she dies.

    May 7, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  7. Barb

    No wonder he supported revealing all the salacious details, apparently they will need a good source of income since he has effectively killed his career!

    May 7, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  8. Chi Town

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

    You bet... if it turns out he paid here with campaign or tax money... if not... I couldn't give a crap... just another typical democrat hypocrite otherwise

    May 7, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  9. kevin

    I know that people shouldn't judge others- but I think that Edwards is a snake. How could you, as a married man, have an affair, especially when your wife has cancer? How low of a person are you? Really?

    May 7, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  10. Dapper

    I always knew this bird Edwards was as phony as a three dollar bill. Can ya imagine, a sick wife at home and your out grabbing a cheap tart for your dessert plate.... makes ya sick!

    May 7, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  11. Somer

    At least he cheated with an adult age female.

    May 7, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  12. margrettt

    It was morally wrong, wrong, wrong!

    May 7, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  13. AH

    I feel bad for Mrs. Edwards. I guess that ignorance is bliss. She knows that the baby is his but does not want to confirm that fact with a DNA test. If she has a DNA test result, then she will have to do something about it. Her husband betrayed her, not the other woman. I'm sure that he is still seeing the other woman and his baby and supporting them financially. He still hasn't told his wife the whole truth. I guess he'll just wait until his wife succumbs to cancer, then he can be with his mistress in peace. Hopefully he will not move her into their family home. That Oprah interview was very interesting, but Mr. and Mrs. Edwards are both full of BS.

    May 7, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  14. Butch Dillon

    Without question, John Edwards is a piece of raw sewage. But it was somewhat sad to see his wife leap into the processing plant along with him. If she had anything resembling non political, non profiteering motives Elizabeth would have divorced the AH and carved out an existence on her own. Unfortunately, she could not shed the emotional dependence so she whined in public instead.

    May 7, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  15. Chamorrita, MD

    Everyone needs to back off being so judgmental about the Edwards Marriage.

    They don't answer to us on whether to stay or get our of a marriage that took them 30+ years to build.

    Everyone in this blog has nothing but criticism and bashing of the Edwards, but the one thing everyone fails to understand is that when you've built a marriage for 30+ years, that's a lifetime investment. YOU are invested in your marriage, it's a partnership that took 30+ years to built and all of you haters want them to just "throw it" all away because John Edwards made a mistake.

    This is NOT about being a Democrat or Republican, this is about a family who is going through a very difficult time in their lives. Mrs. Edwards wanting her husband to get out of the race was NOT worried about the country or the nation, she was worried about HER CHILDREN and HER MARRIAGE, because when it's all said and done, her family is ALL she's got. FAMILY is all you have left. Politics DO NOT apply when you are going through any family hardship.

    DO you think about your country when your love one dies, or is sick? Do you? Jesus, you bloggers are truly cold hearted and are quick to pass judgment on a 30+ year marriage that doesn't involve YOU!!!

    It's so very easy for all of you in this blog to pass judgement of the Edwards when it's NOT HAPPENING TO YOU, IT'S NOT YOUR DECISION.

    May 7, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  16. deb

    You know, I have to agree with a lot of these posters. Why do all of these "celebrities" and "others" feel the need to air all of their dirty laundry in public??? Maybe it's all the "tell all" talk shows we've had for 20 odd years now but, really, people, why would anyone go on tv (i.e. , Dr. Phil, Maury, etc.) and blab on and on about the most intimate details of their lives???!!! Don't people have any pride or dignity any longer. It's really getting pathetic how everyone has to have their 5 minutes of fame.

    May 7, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  17. Lefty

    And just as many,if not more,women cheat on their husband.His money will help her stay with him.So whats all the fuss about ?

    May 7, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  18. Betsy

    McCain did about the same thing. His wife was disfigured in an accident and he has an affair with a wealthy, beautiful younger woman, divorces the disfigured wife and marries the other. That is OK???

    May 7, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  19. Chris in MI

    I think the 'other woman' is waiting for Mrs. Edwards to succumb to cancer before she has the paternity test and files for child support. I wonder if this kid is going to be added to the John's will if it turns out the kid is his...what a windfall.

    May 7, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  20. MJ

    I'm a woman and I know that many men have affairs because their wives are bossy and stop wanting to have sex with them. It's as simple as that.

    Women need to stop being their husbands "moms." You need to make a guy feel needed and loved just as much as he needs to do that for you.

    People have affairs because they're too afraid to get the divorce first.

    You shouldn't stay in a marriage if you're not happy. You have one life. Don't waste it.

    May 7, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  21. Sherry

    I found out my husband was cheating (we were married almost 20 years) and have two wonderful children. Needless to say, I asked him to leave the home and we have since divorced. He did in fact marry the woman he had the affair with and I wish them both well. I moved on with my life and I could not be happier. Life is about choices - and only you can make that final choice. For me, it was a deal breaker.

    May 7, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  22. D. D.

    He isn't that hot.
    Now that his wife have dismissed this woman the woman wants a paternity test. Does she think she can take her little bundle to the Edwards' home? I don't think so. Elizabeth is not going to be her friend or a step mother to that child if it does belong to John Edwards.
    Elizabeth's book forever publicly divided that woman from her husband in life and in death.
    The mother of the child ned to scattle from the Edards. She did not want the test until Elizabeth did not fall for the drama of the Baby's Momma and dismiss the existence of the them except on a wide space from her. Elizbeth's family is all that matter to her.
    If he has to pay child support that will be through a court. Oh Mama Girl need to to get to steppin to the court house. But Elizabeth won't be hurt if the baby is his. It won't matter. She is not including them in her overall life and home. If I were Momma Girl I won't try to interfe in NC. Leave Mrs. Edwards alone- she has imaginery duct taped her family in togetherness even more and she sincerely means this to work. She wrote a legacy with her reminding women they should have an allegiance toward each other.
    Elizabeth once again has captured our hearts. John and Momma Girl still is in the American zoo.

    May 7, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  23. julie in atlanta

    God loves Elizabeth Edwards and so do I. I watched her interview and my heart hurts when I think of all that life has given her. I've been proud of her courage and grace as she's dealt with unimaginable pain and misery...I'll be first in line to buy this and any other book she writes.

    Cut John Edwards some slack, people. He didn't cheat on you, for god's sake. I believe he is a good man (and I was one of his strongest supporters since 2004) but he did a horrible, horrible thing. That said, THEIR marriage is just that: THEIR MARRIAGE.

    And as far as all the judgements about what they should or should not do about any of this, LET HE WHO IS WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE.

    Stay strong, Elizabeth E! Sending much love and admiration,
    Julie in Atlanta

    May 7, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  24. dennis

    I know Edwards and good ol bill ought to get together, they would have a great time.

    May 7, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  25. Debby

    These 2 have become idiotic about this whole affair of his and the wife wants to cash in by writing about it.

    May 7, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
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