Updated 11:07 a.m. ET, 7/25
(CNN) - While Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin say they're trying to move their marriage past Weiner's repeated sexting scandals, friends of Abedin's told CNN that upon the former congressman's confession to his wife last fall that he had relapsed into exchanging lewd messages, Abedin was furious and seriously considered ending the marriage.
She was done and ready to leave him, the friend said. Another friend said she was "this close to walking out the door."
After some reflection, friends said, Abedin felt that taking their toddler son from his father was not what was best for him, and ultimately decided to continue with therapy in an effort to heal their relationship and help him with work through his issues.
On Tuesday, the Democratic New York City mayoral candidate admitted to engaging in lewd chats a year after the same dubious habits forced his resignation from Congress in 2011. In an extraordinary news conference, Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, pleaded for voters to forgive the embattled candidate.
Friend: Woman in sexting scandal loves politics, 'idealized' Weiner
Unlike his public resignation two years ago, Abedin spoke up for her husband Tuesday at the news conference, saying she's pushing beyond her husband's problem and urged others to do the same.
"What I want to say is, I love him, I have forgiven him, I believe in him, and as I have said from the beginning, we are moving forward," said Abedin, a longtime senior adviser to Hillary Clinton, adding that Weiner had made some "horrible mistakes, both before he resigned from Congress, and after."
"But I do very strongly believe that that is between us and our marriage," she continued. "It was not an easy choice in any way, but I made the decision that it was worth staying in this marriage. That was a decision I made for me, for our son and for our family."
Members of her inner circle said Abedin was out there Tuesday because she wanted to be. And when the scandal first broke in 2011, Abedin wanted Weiner to keep his congressional seat, not resign, according to a friend from Abedin's days in the Clinton White House.
Known as a deeply private person, Abedin's presence in the latest dustup-a noticeable difference from her decision to stay away from the media during Weiner's congressional resignation-has spurred questions of "why?"
Why help him out? Why stick with him? Why this time?
John Avlon, senior political columnist for The Daily Beast and CNN contributor, argued Abedin is simply following the model set by Hillary Clinton.
"Part of the Clinton playbook is success heals all wounds. Let's just win and all this tawdry mess will be in the rearview mirror," he said on CNN's "New Day."
Others believe it simply comes down to love. Noting that Abedin is someone with a highly successful career, friend and CNN contributorPaul Begala told CNN's Chris Cuomo that Abedin is clearly "not a woman trapped without options."
"I fall back to philosopher Blaise Pascal, who says, 'The heart has its reasons, of which reason knows nothing.' In other words, I don't think this is simply a strategic decision for her. I think Huma loves this guy. She's going to stick with him. She thinks he'd be a good mayor," Begala said.
Weiner's wife: Should Huma stand by her man?
A Democratic strategist who served as a senior adviser in Bill Clinton's administration, Begala said Abedin gave Weiner "the only chance he's got" to continue with his bid for mayor. She could have easily ended this, he argued, and "no one would have thought less of her for that."
"What you saw the other day at the press conference was the real Huma–very emotional but also very committed," Begala added. "That's why I don't think this is any kind of strategy. I think it's just her revealing her heart, which must be an incredible painful thing for an intensely private woman."
Calls from editorial boards and opponents for Anthony Weiner to withdraw from the New York City mayoral contest have been pouring in after his admission that he sent the lusty messages more than a year after resigning from Congress.
As Weiner resisted those calls to drop out, CNN was able to identify the 23-year-old recipient of those sexually charged messages.
Hillary Clinton adviser Huma Abedin, Anthony Weiner's wife, now in spotlight
The woman who participated in the lewd chats with Weiner was identified by an acquaintance as Sydney Elaine Leathers of Evansville, Indiana.
The acquaintance, Lou Colagiovanni, told CNN he met Leathers on a political Facebook page he moderated in 2010. After Leathers confided in Colagiovanni about the Weiner sexting messages, he says the two discussed making money off the revelation of Weiner's improprieties. When Leathers took the messages elsewhere, Colagiovanni said he decided to go public.
The messages were published on the Gossip website TheDirty.com almost a year after they were exchanged, just weeks before the Democratic mayoral primary in New York City.
Weiner resists calls to withdraw as woman who received messages is identified
In a lengthy e-mail to supporters earlier Wednesday, Weiner declared: "New Yorkers don't quit, and I'll never quit on you." He added that he "answered every question about these mistakes" before and after announcing his run for mayor but expressed regret that he did not specify "when these exchanges happened."
In his e-mail to supporters, Weiner said the exchange was "a terrible mistake that I unfortunately returned to during a rough time in our marriage."
– CNN's Jessica Yellin, Alina Cho, Ashley Killough, Kevin Liptak, and CNNMoney's Erica Fink, and Laurie Segall contributed to this report.
Those who are using the comments section to write nasty notes about Huma Abedin need to be reminded that their nastiness is not necessary. It is astounding how many people believe that they have the right to belittle others or to decide what others are thinking or why they make the decisions that they do. It must be wonderful to be so perfect all the time.
Lady needs to get out as fast as she can.
The Clinton model is that "success heals all wounds"?? Really. More like, "Of COURSE you can screw around, but we need to keep this sham marriage intact to get elected to our prospective future offices...." Please. But this Huma Abedin does not seem near as blood-thirsty and ruthless as the Clintons, or Anthony Weiner. See actually seems genuine. Though I doubt the Weiner marriage will last his next revelation. And it WILL come.
This entire thing is ridiculous. This family needs to move out of the spot light and get themselves healthy for the sake of their son.
Why in the world would you NOT want to take a child away from someone like Weiner? He's not a teen or a single person, he's an adult with a wife and child. If New Yorkers elect this man they are clueless beyond belief.
What they decide to do personally...is their business...How it affects his professional life...is ours..by votes..
Huma is an awesome woman! I have no doubt, she is making the best decisions for her family and herself, every day. Hang tough, Huma!
She is not a martyr or showing her love for this man. Instead she is foolish! Until he gets clinical help for his "addiction" problem, you can bet that this activity will continue. He CAN'T stop,....even after all the public humiliation. Anyone else think that this Weiner looks like a bird?
Huma leave Weiner? No, it would be nice to the mayor's wife. Maybe wait until after the election? Hillary would have left her hubby? No, she enjoyed being first lady.
She is this knock out, dynamic woman hanging around with this weirdo/loser Weiner ... why???
Huma learned from the master of "marriages with benefits".
I'm sure she completely weighed the pros and cons of staying married to the exposing Weiner.
Here's an idea, quit running for public office, you obviously have a deviant problem, much like Clarence Thomas.
Obviously the therapy didn't work.
Once a pervert always a pervert!!
Your son will not benefit from learning how to be a deceitful, womanizing pig. Leave now with some shred of dignity.
"I decided to Stay with my husband because my son need the father." If this decision came after the therapy you were having, you need to change the therapist.
There is absolutely no indignity or humiliation Huma Abelin won't endure as long as she believes that Anthony Weiner can bring her closer to money and power. She is probably even more disgusting than he is.
She is just as sick as he is.... sick on doing anything for power. They both have shown the people of New York and America it's all about themselves... he is a pervert, a sick man and she stands by him... sad.
Could it also be possible she doesn't really have a problem with him s.exting, so long as he isn't cheating?
is their money messed up somehow that she can't get out? or does she have to be married to a citizen or something?
Huma wants anthony to stay in politics and keep the gravy train going! easy job, big money, lots of "benefits" and free stuff. why give that up? let him text, let him roam–just bring home the money!!