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. Pam from Iowa

    She aint too bright if she is still with him!!!
    What woman in her right mind would stay with him??
    The first time maybe, but then he went and did it again! Forgive once, but that would have been the dealbreaker!!!
    But then again, she aint too bright is she???

    July 25, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  2. Duke LaCrosse

    All I can think of is Bart Simpson putting his hand on a hot burner, screaming "OW!" and putting his hand on a hot burner, screaming "OW!" and putting his hand on a hot burner,........

    July 25, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  3. Marie MD

    She's better than weiner. She shoud have left him. They might have made up but body language between the two of them is completely off.
    I couldn't stand looking at him much less be in the same room as him.

    July 25, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  4. byrd29

    I am just curious...even though what he did was disgusting..He didnt actualy have sex with her. He was texting. As bad as that is he actually didnt do anything physical with this woman. Now if he actually had sex with her that would be a different story. Actualy would think it was news if he ACTUALY CHEATED PHYSICALY

    July 25, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    –>The scandals have spanned the spectrum from a Democratic mayor in San Diego accused of being unable to keep his hands off his female aides to charges that the administration put the Internal Revenue Service on the trail of its political enemies.

    July 25, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. Bill Davis

    Leave this clown. He will or already has physically cheated on you as well. Why humiliate yourself with this loser?

    July 25, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  7. Jack

    "New Yorkers don't quit, and I'll never quit on you."
    Uh... Isn't this the guy that resigned from Congress awhile back?

    July 25, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  8. Diana

    I don't particularly care what they do with their marriage – that is entirely their business. But I do care that he still thinks he deserves a political position, which I, as taxpayer, am charged with. He clearly has a problem with impulse control, narcissism and judgment overall. This is not someone who should be trusted with decision making.

    July 25, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    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.
    While it is none of our business what she decides to do, I wholeheartedly agree with you.

    July 25, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  10. TC

    Regardless of what anyone thinks or believes to include Huma, Weiner is not fit for any leadership position right now becasue he has serious loyalty and integrity issues tha the continues to struggle with. Yes, people make mistakes, big ones and overcome them and can move on to great things but when one has yet to overcome their negative behavior they are not ready to be the "example and leader" to others. He needs to focus on his family and probs and not being a big political figure. If you vote for him – you have no clue what a real leader is.

    July 25, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  11. Thomas

    Dump the Chump , Carlos Danger

    July 25, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  12. Anon

    I think they guy replacing Piers Morgan last night had the right idea when he said that "she want to be married to the mayor of New York". She want to be married to an important man.
    My spouse found Abedin's behavior inexplicable, I suggested that she re-evaluate the situation with the assumption that they are both borderline sociopaths. I'm not saying that they are, but assuming that they are sure makes their behavoir easier to understand.

    There personal issues aside, I agree with Diana "He clearly has a problem with impulse control, narcissism and judgment overall. This is not someone who should be trusted with decision making."

    July 25, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  13. Adam

    Wiener/Holder 2016 or Bust!

    July 25, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  14. Boo

    Weiner is getting alot of pressure to drop out of the mayoral race. I predict he will drop out by the end of this month.

    July 25, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  15. J. Davis in Knoxville, TN

    None of my business but how can Mrs. Weiner ever really trust this man? As Dr. Drew said last night, he obviously has not had any psychological counseling. I would leave him now, regardless of the child involved. Until he gets help, he will probably just do this nasty business again and again. Even though I am a Yellow Dog Democrat, he should quit the race for Mayor of New York. Once is enough for this type of thing, and apparently he did it while his wife was expecting their child.

    July 25, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  16. georgie

    A year from now, when his next scandal is exposed, she'll leave him. Have no doubt. This marriage's expiration date is closing in quickly.

    July 25, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  17. Amy Madison

    She has zero – repeat – ZERO self-respect! And is as perhaps as power-mad as her boss, Hillary!

    July 25, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  18. Kica

    Soooo you didn't leave after the second sext revelation because you feel your son deserves to be with his dad? Yeah, because he's a real great example of one huh??? *heavy on the sarcasm*

    July 25, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  19. dave

    As soon as they face the fact that his political career is over, she'll leave him.

    July 25, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  20. Sandy

    I can't believe Hilary puts up with this sorry excuse for a woman. Grow some, loser!

    July 25, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  21. Broun

    She hasn't left him yet, because it's clear to me she's always wanted to be in the spotlight herself. Being NYC Mayor's wife would put her in the spotlight. She's always been in Hillary's shadow, she tried her hands (!!) with John Cusack and Lance Armstrong, and then married a prominent Representative, who was becoming a star before the scandal. He probably convinced her to stay by his side in exchange for him to launch into a new political adventure, and get back in front of the projectors again. Let's see how long she's gonna last with him when he falls into oblivion!

    July 25, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  22. Laurie

    Well, she certainly has more forbearance and forgiveness in her than I ever would. After the first time, I'd be outta there.

    July 25, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  23. Eioljg

    I can understand that people do inappropriate things and need help dealing with these things. I can understand wanting to stay with a man who has many other good traits, assuming that they get therapy. I can't understand putting themselves back into the spotlight and INVITING all this criticism and ridicule. Why not deal with it in private, and really deal with it?

    July 25, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  24. clear

    She's clearly loving every minute of the attention, basking in the media spot light- and who can blame her? The congressman on the other hand, is following the great example of his democratic liberals idols like Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy- no big deal here/

    July 25, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  25. Annie

    He has NO integrity, NO self respect, No humility, No apathy. Put simply, why are people waiting to see what he does, do it for him. Let this man know, no one want someone with such horrible morals to be a Mayor of a big city. His wife is after a political seat in the future. She is not going to stay with him if he loses.

    July 25, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
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