May 12th, 2009
08:35 PM ET
6 years ago

'I was certainly naive,' says Elizabeth Edwards


(CNN) – Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former Democratic hopeful John Edwards, tells CNN's Larry King that at the time her husband was carrying on an affair with videographer Rielle Hunter, she did not suspect him of being unfaithful.

"Did you have an suspicion at any time?," King asks Mrs. Edwards in an exclusive interview set to air Tuesday night on CNN.

"No. No. None," Elizabeth Edwards replies. "He's been on the road for quite some time. He's a lawyer who traveled. He took cases all over. But I saw the way he treated me. I knew the way he treated me, the commitment he had to our family. I was perhaps, the one thing I could agree with Maureen Dowd, I was probably naive, I was certainly naive."

Edwards also tells King that she believes her husband loves her, but fell prey to a flaw.

"I believe through this whole thing, John has loved me," she tells King. "I just think that he had a frailty that allowed him to do something which was completely contrary to the rest of his life."

The political spouse was also candid about the impact that her husband's infidelity has had on their marriage as she continues to live with terminal cancer.

"You know what's double sad, if God forbid you left, John will probably be double crushed," King says in Tuesday's interview.

"I completely agree with that," says Edwards. "We've talked about that. We've talked about his work at rebuilding trust, and it's really important that he get to that place, quote in time so that he understands that what he took away he does his very best job to put back."

Updated: 6:38 p.m.

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Programming Note: Watch Elizabeth Edwards' entire exclusive interview on Larry King Live beginning at 9 pm Tuesday.

soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Amanda

    As much as I would like to sympathize with Ms. Edwards I don't think that airing your dirty linen in public is appropriate. Particularly in that case.

    May 12, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  2. jm from sc

    If she is going to stay with the man, she need to stay off the news talking about it.

    May 12, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  3. Larry

    Enough is Enough

    This is a Tabloid issue

    Let it go ...

    May 12, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  4. Kay

    To trust a lawyer/politician. Yes I would say your naive. He lies for a living.

    May 12, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  5. Emma

    Many women, including myself, think their husbands would never be unfaithful...but the ones I know that are sick or have cancer, may have known subconciously that they really were, just didn't want to believe it.
    Get rid of the cheating husband, get rid of your illness!

    May 12, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  6. SLM

    She needs to quit making excuses for that lying and cheating husband. He needs to go back under the rock he crawled out from. Sounds like she is she trying to convince herself that she can forgive him for what he did.

    May 12, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  7. Sara

    Am i the only one who doesn't care about the Edwards family? Over and done with.

    May 12, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  8. ruti

    Elizabeth Edwards did not see what was right in front of her, because she wanted the Presidency as much as John, maybe even more. Same reason that Hillary could not see or wanted to see, Bill's actions with Monica. These women, Hillary and Elizabeth, are very motivated women.

    May 12, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  9. Vic

    It's easy to believe that Elizabeth Edwards is sincere about her naivete, but why in the world would she support anyone as "flawed" as her husband for President of the United States. If she'd called the whole thing off when she first found out about his "frailty," she'd have a lot of sympathy from the rest of us. But for now, it's just hard to understand why she not only did not tell him, "Stop it, now," but went on to campaign for him, all the while trashing Hillary Clinton when she didn't think John was tough enough. Lots of questions to be answered by Mrs. Edwards.

    May 12, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  10. Steve, Columbia SC

    I am sorry for Mrs Edwards, but "naive", pleeeeeeeeeeease spare me this attempt when she clearly was an accomplice in her husband's deception of the American voter.

    May 12, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  11. Fox

    Thats more than a flaw about John Elizabeth he never only did it then he lied time and again and continued his floopping with that street walker he gladly put his whole being in her trap and added her in his every schedule to include how he would fund her.
    She knew zonk about what she was so called hired to do which was instead a gold digger.
    I kinow you are very ill and him treating you like this is dirt but keeping him is like keep scratching a b ad wound.

    May 12, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  12. Gerry

    How absolutely heartless of this woman to put daggers in the heart of her husband and yet tell the world she knows he loves her and is trying to make up to her, the trust and faith she had in him and HE took away.
    I see his face and understand the hell he is living through while trying to regain that trust and keep a little of his own dignity through this whole mess.
    While she may have cancer (as I have had) she isn't the only one who is suffering in that relationship. Sometimes the husband, who is suppose to be the strong one, is suffering more inside then is the person who is sick.
    Tell me who the strong one is to turn to for comfort? Certainly not the person who is sick, for that would be admitting to them, the fact that their rock isn't as solid as he would want her to think he is...

    Some one said John was acting like a spoiled child when he turned to some one else for comfort.. I think Elizabeth is acting like a spoiled child by screaming out in public as she has, instead of trying to put all her feelings aside and start over again. It can't be all one sided on his part..
    Yes it's not easy to do but IF she truely wants a new start (instead of a good book review) thats where she must go...

    May 12, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  13. mary

    Best thing that Elizabeth Edwards can do is kick that no good husband of hers out. I would really have a lot more respect for her.
    There is no reason to stay in a marriage that was tarnished, unless she loves the lifestyle. If he cheated once he will do it again. Next time he will be more careful not to get caught.

    May 12, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  14. Tony

    Perhaps if we had kept our noses clean we wouldn't be faced with the world seeing pictures of the abuses everyone already knows about. Being upfront about it clears the way for correction rather than sweeping it under the rug as the previous administration has always done.

    May 12, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  15. Simmy

    No disrespect intended, Mrs. Edwards, but I am already sick of you.....I felt empathy for you when the story first broke about your husband's affair. But you have sunken to an unfortunate low, by continuously parading your private lives in the public......For the sake of your children and your marriage, please fade away into average American life......God bless you , John and children......P.S....After you have forgiven him, your deeper convictions will not allow you to air your dirty linen to the masses any longer...

    May 12, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  16. travis_bdboy

    Right now she'll say anything that will sell her book....another politicians prima dona.

    May 12, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  17. Johnny DC

    I am certainly not naive. Translation: I don't believe a word this woman is saying.

    May 12, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  18. Shirley In California

    Mrs. Edwards. Do you not realize you are getting on some of our nerves? No one cares what goes on in your bedroom. As much as I dislike the Clinton's, I never commented on their marriage as I believe marriage is between two people. Not the audience. Since you seem to be a little slow let's try this:

    I care far more about an average working woman who was just diagnosed with cancer and is afraid her health insurance won't last and she will lose her job. Also, who doesn't have much money in the bank and who is NOT a politician's wife. This is who I care about. Not someone like you who is living in a mansion, able to get proper treatment , sleeps all day, has millions in the bank and is making lots of money from a book deal. So please do some of us a favor and leave us alone. You wanted fame and fortune NOW live with the price of it.

    May 12, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  19. mike

    Most liberals are naive, Elizabeth. Reality is an amazing thing.

    May 12, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  20. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Stone throwers and people with no life or just having fun on the back of others are always present at all times in our lives; people can only keep on moving forward in their own life and in showing their new work! A public figure has to show a lot more efforts to face in order to keep on going as any other regular folks would but this is where the personal healing and gratitude comes to light for Mr. Edwards efforts for himself and for people seeing a public figure moving forward and believing in their own second chance in public service since it shows others second chance do exist in life!

    May 12, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  21. Texas Teacher

    God bless her..... a husband does not realize how cruel infidelity is to the "good" wife who trusts completely. You are hit with a ton of bricks... and it becomes a cancer that eats away at you and your marriage.... no pun intended for Elizabeth Edwards. My heart goes out to her.... not enough to have to battle cancer... but then the betrayal that marital infidelity brings. The only think that I can think is that looking death in the face probably puts all other things into perspective.

    May 12, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  22. Mari( maybe one of my comments will be posted)

    At the risk of not having, another comment posted, what kind of statement is:

    "....... if God forbid you left, John will probably be double crushed" John King, are you having trouble?

    Oh my goodness. Mrs. Edwards, its sad to see you doing interviews about a family matter. Your forgiveness of John, will not salvage his political career, so sorry, but you married a ...... schmuck.

    God bless you, Elizabeth, you are a nice lady, go home to your children.

    May 12, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  23. Ed

    Sorry, Mrs. Edwards - naivete does NOT qualify for pursuing the highest office in the land! I'm sorry for you - but you made your bed - now lie in it!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 12, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  24. truth is liberal sort of

    the two Americas lawyer has always been a fraud and you are finding that out now ? the 'breck girl' was always for his self.

    May 12, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Typical liberal behavior...nothing new

    May 12, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
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