July 25th, 2013
08:36 AM ET
5 years ago

Sources: Huma Abedin considered leaving Weiner last fall

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.

Filed under: Anthony Weiner • New York
soundoff (170 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Yeah, because delving into this woman's personal decisions in order to judge and scrutinize them isn't sexist in and of itself.

    July 25, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  2. Sniffit

    "This story is awful, it makes my stomach turn,"

    Well, there's a solution for that: mind your own business.

    July 25, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  3. carlos what's his face

    So what? – Is this suppose to restore some credibility to this lady? What I saw yesterday was senseless and reprehensible behavior from Huma, political pandering and naivety. Anthony Weiner is deplorable, and condoning this behavior is wrong. To me, it just showed how sick politicians have become in America, and to what extent they will go to succeed. it is a huge festering sore – and sadly, it does not end with Anthony Weiner or his "wife".

    July 25, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  4. Sniffit

    The entire effort to delve into, scrutinize and judge her personal decision making as an individual is sexist in and of itself. It's none of your business. It's not your concern. It doesn't affect you no matter how many tawdry, trite and self-centered rationalizations you can come up with to claim that her life and relationship with Weiner and how she chooses to live them somehow reflect upon and involve you in some attenuated personal way. The only non-sexist response is "well, to each her own...now excuse me while I go on minding my own business."

    July 25, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  5. TruthSeeker

    Weiner and Huma looks like Brother and Sister.

    July 25, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  6. steve

    All she has to do is text her a pic of her t*ts eevry now and again and they will be fine. Its obvious he likes the thrill of it... She is his wife so needs to learn some new tricks lol. Clever woman though i wonder if she will run?

    July 25, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  7. Derrick

    Huma knew Weiner was continuing his deviant behavior after his resignation but was willing to lie and cover for him in recent glowing People magazine and NYT Magazine articles. Their press conference was completely devoid of any emotion between them as she read from the script like a Stepford wife. This is one creepy, power-hungry couple.

    July 25, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  8. Alger Dave

    When are we going to get past the silly nonsense that issues like this, particularly when the person consistently lies to the public about it, are not a big deal and have nothing to do with anything outside of his marriage. That's the biggest cock and bull story that's consistently trotted out by folks like this. The guy is a liar, and has a serious truth telling problem. Probably not a great character trait for the Mayor of NY. Anyone who believes this is 'in his past' is seriously delusional. Hopefully the populace of NY understands that telling the truth to your wife is as important as telling it to the public. But they're both important. Personal moral failings too often turn into political moral failings, and it's never surprising.

    July 25, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  9. betterdays

    He'll make a fine mayor, assuming he doesn't find any of the four million females in NYC attractive.

    Just be thankful he is not bi.

    July 25, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  10. LibLogic

    A male associate at my law firm has been sending lewd texts to women in the firm, most of whom he doesn't know, which include photos of his genitals. I guess this is just a private matter between the associate and his wife. Why don't all the recipients of his unwanted texts just leave him alone???!!!???

    July 25, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  11. Don Diego

    What is the most pathetic part of this whole disgusting story is the fact she is so obviously sticking by this slime ball for her own benefit. Please don't tell me she is a strong woman trying to hold the marriage together. She may be educated and have a sucessful career, but that does not mean a person still can't be as dumb as a stump or full of crap. She is clearly staying because she likes the power and money that has come from his connections and the ones she has that were made when they were the rising star couple. She is as big a loser as he is, probably more so because he is at least an obvious dirt bag, she is playing the martyr for simpathy. If this is so tough, simply leave. Don't try to bull people into believing you forgive him. I'm sorry but no respectable women I have ever known, mother, wife (48yrs next week), aunts and 6 sisters,would have put up with what he has done. And i hope the women reading this would have enough self-respect to kick this slime to the curb. Just to say this was not a dig at women who make this kind of decision, it is only directed at this obvious power loving full of it women who thinks more than a few are dumb enough to believe her. God Bless. thx

    July 25, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  12. Detroit on the Hudson

    When Weiner wins the mayoral race, I want him to come out on stage with leather pants, no shirt, and The Joker makeup. Then I want him to whip It out, stick his tongue out, and shout "Welcome to the Age of Weiner!" THAT, my friends, is today's Democrat Party.

    July 25, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  13. Anonymous

    I admire this woman's determination, and willingnes to think of what is best for their son,BUT.....
    AT what point is it MORE DETRIMENTAL to the child, and her, to stay in this relationship?? Especially given Weiner's past history and CURRENT... demonstrating his inability or coreect BAD behaviors.

    July 25, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  14. george

    well, this has a wide reaching field: first I about new Yorkers......do they elect this man to be their leader????? and is about Huma..... does she really believe that the American people is so naïve to accept this as "standing for her man".. she is standing for some hide purposes... and finally is about Weiner....? does he has any respect for the wisdom or the masses?????? or is the fact that is so WORTHLESS that any private company will not hire him.......so he rather live like a parasite....sucking the blood of others

    July 25, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  15. Clint D

    What Bill did to Hillary was far worse than what Anthony did to Huma. These are both either very weak or very phony women to allow themselves to be treated like that by their husbands. What a shame and how awful for young women who look up to these two girls.

    July 25, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  16. leicar

    He didn't have her with him when he was sexting, why does he need her standing by him when he is confessing. She says she wants to stay for her son and their family – what will his son think, in a few years, when he hears of Carlos Danger? She must really want to be first lady – she may as well keep standing there and rehearsing her speech for the next time Carlos gets involved.

    July 25, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  17. Don Diego

    Clint D. Well said. That was exactly my point in my long winded paragragh.

    July 25, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  18. John

    I can respect Huma's decision to stay married to the Wiener. That's her choice. However, the highest NYC Elected Official - Mayor of NYC - is a role model for our youngsters and even for us adults. Conduct has to have consequences. Anthony Wiener is NOT a fit role model for New Yorkers and our children. To elect him tells our children that it's ok to cynically lie and you'll get whatever you want anyway and do whatever you want and when you get caught, you'll get away with it. Where there are no consequences to Wiener's disgusting serial behavior, how do we credibly communicate to our kids that sxting is wrong and that they shouldn't engage in it. It would be a sad travesty if he's elected!

    July 25, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  19. Woman In California

    Marriage is between two people. Not the media, not the in-laws and certainly not the CNN bloggers. Respect her decision.

    July 25, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  20. Bennie

    "Another friend said she was "this close to walking out the door." "'
    – I totally understand that... I was "this close" to winning the lottery too... if I had only chosen 5 more correct numbers.

    This woman may love her husband, but she needs to learn to love and respect herself a bit more and believe she is worth more than this.

    July 25, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  21. NormanDee

    It's about power and money...nothing more. He is a creep but she wants to be on the power trip so she is giving us this pathetic show. Sad...and this is what our children are seeing as role models? Have no respect for either one of them. She should take her child and leave but the seduction of power is greater than a moral compass for her.

    July 25, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  22. Ejan Asuk

    Is/was there a lesbian relationship between Mrs. Weiner and Mrs. Clinton. No, I'm not being nasty, I'm just asking. There is something a little off about Mrs. Weiner.

    July 25, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  23. Woman In California

    However, the highest NYC Elected Official – Mayor of NYC – is a role model for our youngsters and even for us adults. Conduct has to have consequences.

    Two words for you : Rudy [Guiliani].

    July 25, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  24. sly

    Price of being a celebrity is that every Tom Dick and Harry on the internet will comment on your personal business.

    What folks do on their own time on the internet is nothing I'm interested in.

    July 25, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  25. Sue

    Isn't odd that the wife gets "guilted" into staying because of her son. Yet the person committing the damaging behavior to the entire family cannot be "guilted" into stopping for the sake of his son. It's not good for a kid to grow up in a loveless household. She should be leaving for the mental health and stability of her son. Perhaps that consequence would then finally force Weiner to change his behavior. All she is doing now is enabling him to continue.

    July 25, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
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