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. Eva, VA

    The more she talks, the less I like her. She needs to go put her mouth to better use or another floozy will.

    May 12, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  2. Richie

    Don't even start with the "leave her alone" comments. She is asking for it. She wants your money for her book. She is seeking out all this attention. It is her choice.

    May 12, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  3. LC in CA

    No more naive than any other woman whose husband is a lying, cheating sneak. Not your fault, Elizabeth. But you're not alone. Just stop milking it, OK? You're starting to look like an attention addict.

    May 12, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  4. Tam

    She is on a promo thing to sell her book. I have no interest in either him or her.

    May 12, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  5. T-n-EP

    Stop, stop, stop.... She is on tour promoting her book. The woman willingly and knowingly chose to look the other way and condone her husband's infidelity. All for the hunger of POWER.

    Hope this time you, CNN, post my comment.

    May 12, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  6. Claire, NY

    Elizabeth's story is sad. John did what he did because he could. Because he knew that she loved him, and that she would never leave him. Sad.

    May 12, 2009 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  7. kavita

    I don't believe her "naive" explanation. She is a politician's wife. She knew exactly what was going on and kept it a secret during the campaign. Her quest for the White House was more important than her husband's infidelity. She should have left it alone instead she wants to make millions out of her husband's affair and make her children suffer through the media circus again. Shame on her! I never like John Edwards and now I have completely lost respect for her.

    May 12, 2009 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  8. Polly

    May God bless this woman.

    May 12, 2009 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  9. Polly

    She's in stage 4? This is the real deal...this lady loves her husband...she is a good person...this is what a good person looks like. May God make things right for her. She needs our prayers.

    May 12, 2009 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  10. SLM

    She is in denial. Doesn't want to admit that not only did her husband cheat and lie about it, but was so careless that he fathered a child with her. John thinks he can pass this off as a "mistake". A mistake is something that just happens. Jumping into bed with another woman is a conscience decision that he chose to make. What does she hope to accomplish by writing a book and making the talk show circuit?

    May 12, 2009 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  11. Charles Kern

    It is clear that Elizabeth Edwards is another political opportunist. She is shilling her book to the disgrace of her family. Has she no personal pride? Of course she is married to John Edwards, a truly mediocre previous Senator from North Carolina.

    May 12, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  12. JPC

    I'm losing respect for Elizabeth. Although I agree that what John did was wrong and definitely hurt his family, Elizabeth is also hurting her family by going on and on about this. What about the kids?? Yes, John hurt them too, but Elizabeth is providing fuel for a fire that will never go out.

    May 12, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  13. Lois, Ont., Canada

    I think she (Elizabeth Edwards) is handling this affair amazingly well. She is such a classy lady. May God Bless her.

    May 12, 2009 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  14. Polly

    I think she is reaching out in her own way because she needs support and prayers. She is working her way into the truth of this awful situation. May our country stand behind this woman and give her our full support and respect so she finds the courage and strength she needs to handle this in all her dignity and might.

    May 12, 2009 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  15. No Hillary = No Obama

    Why is this woman defending her husband? Why does this woman feel the need to get on national tv, over and over? What is the matter with these people? The stress of doing this will only speed up Ms. Edward's physical deterioration. John Edwards is a first class loser.

    May 12, 2009 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  16. Maggie

    Do not be so naive. if it is too good to be true it is not true. Beware of spouses who go to extreme to be a good bou/girl.

    May 12, 2009 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  17. Adis

    Why does this woman think her husband's affair is a meaningful debate when there is so much serious pain going on in this world. I don't care much about it and she is becoming a distraction from things that really matter. If she is hurt, she should leave him. If she has forgiven him, she should recall the book, shut up and rebuild her family. As far as I am concerned, there marriage is currently another facade behind which there is nothing left but convenience – however they define it. Stop this deceit. If it is vengeance that she is after, it is no longer compelling or attractive.

    May 12, 2009 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  18. Don

    I believe she was naive, in fact, most democrats are quite naive in ways of the world and in understanding how bad others can be!!!

    May 12, 2009 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  19. dave

    go away, you two. please, please just go away

    May 12, 2009 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  20. Cali Mike

    So.....he treats you and your family great . He treatged his other lady great. Sounds like a decent guy.

    Give a guy a break. It's just a physical act. Prude

    May 12, 2009 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  21. Republicans are the American Taliban

    So gosh Elizabeth...how's it feel to be virally linked to all of those flight attendants? That makes the book worth it all now, huh?

    May 13, 2009 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  22. Jennifer

    Both of the Edwards appear to have strategized and manipulated their way through life from John's early days as a drawling, ambulance-chaser trial lawyer. This continued while they staged a campaign representing John as a "populist" with an anti-poverty platform, while they owned the largest house in North Carolina (28,000 square feet on 100 acres) and made total charitable contributions of $410 the year before he ran for President. They then stood hand-in-hand promulgating "family values" and their strong marriage while both of them knew they were lying through their teeth. She now wants sympathy because his mistress used a tacky pick-up line (would she have felt better if Rielle asked a philosophical question?), and steadfastly denies any financial wrongdoing while simultaneously stating she doesn't have any of the details about what happened. The Edwards have both seemingly done whatever it takes to try and gain more power and money at the moment. While it's deeply regrettable that she is suffering from cancer, that does not somehow lend her additional character.

    May 13, 2009 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  23. Rita Rowe

    I admire Elizabeth. There is a lot of love there.
    She looks just beautiful and I pray for her.

    May 13, 2009 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  24. Susan

    I think it's time we quit "beating up" on John Edwards! As a cancer survivor myself, my true sympathies and best wishes go to Elizabeth Edwards, but I believe she's gone too far. None of us are perfect yet and though I don't approve of his behavior, I understand the situation and might suggest that only the two of them can work through it or not - the entire country doesn't need to know all about it - way too much information!

    May 13, 2009 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  25. bombshell

    This so does not belong in the public.

    May 13, 2009 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
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