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. beckyb1012

    I agree she should leave especially now a second time but for some reason she feels good about following in Hilary's footsteps. CRAZY!!

    July 25, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  2. Just me

    It's easy to say what we would do until we've been in her position. Do I agree with her? No. I don't think you should stay in a relationship just for the children. Personally, I think it's better for the children to leave and get a divorce. And Byrd29 said it wasn't physical cheating. Correct. But there are different forms of cheating. Just because there was no contact doesn't make it any better.

    July 25, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  3. nuclear mike

    And these are the types of people that our Federal governement has in charge? The wife is not a victim as she has made her choices and this woman makes international deals with others governments with her very poor decision making skills?

    July 25, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  4. Michele

    Sweetie, you need to re-think your decision to stay. You deserve better.

    July 25, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  5. travismatthew

    oscar meyer!!!!

    July 25, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  6. travis

    Bad Weiner!

    July 25, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  7. Derpa Derp!

    Once a weiner, always a weiner.

    July 25, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  8. CW

    She wants that D, gotta have that D

    July 25, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  9. carlos portini

    A lot of "no's" for this guy. A big one is that he's almost broke (unless he has $ stashed) and his personal life is in the toilet, not to mention that his wife is dragged down to misery. He's finished.

    July 25, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  10. Keys1

    Put a fork in weiner, he is done.

    July 25, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  11. Dan

    Abedin knew about his last transgressions when they happened. It's only new to the public.

    July 25, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  12. She's staying???

    This should put the last nail in the women's libber effort. All these "powerful" women ALLOW themselves to be walked on then complain about their struggles. Give it a rest.

    July 25, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  13. telllingitlikeitis

    Is SHE that stupid, or is SHE following her culture of women being relegated as 2nd class citizens? This is America, do the RIGHT thing and LEAVE the " A55whole" he'll never change; all the therapies in the world will never change him. She needs to do the American way, and KICK HIM to the curve.

    July 25, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  14. EPUnum

    Maybe she should leave Carlos in the dirt and run for office herself. She has a lot of experience working for Hillary.

    July 25, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |

    Her decision to stay with a serial cheater citing "taking her son away from his father" is ridiculous. Ending a marriage does not end parenthood. Many divorced couples share in the raising of their children very successfully. Nothing is WORSE for a child than to be in a home where stress and infidelity is ever present. She should have spoken to Tiger Woods Ex-wife instead of Hilary Clinton who first of all did not have a YOUNG child to consider in her decision and whose husband was the POTUS. Being a first Lady carries a much heavier burden than just being a politicians wife.

    July 25, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  16. Sahari

    The only things for sure are:
    1. We can think all day long that we know what we would do in this or that situation, but time and again we find ourselves in situations and what we 'thought' about it beforehand has very little to do with the taste of a particular reality while standing in it's midst.
    2. We're a foolish, foolish mass of human beings.

    July 25, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  17. Kina

    How can you people blame the wife so fiercely? You can't take the very, VERY little that she has said on the matter and just assume you know everything that she went through to reach the decision that she has. I'm sure many people on here have been through tough relationships before- how often can you say you left at the first, second, even third sign of trouble? It's human nature, especially when she has a child. Instead of belittling her for having to endure this very personal thing in the very cruel public, maybe you should learn to be a little supportive (or maybe just stop judging people you know nothing about).

    July 25, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  18. Lily

    Of course she wanted things to remain the same, but they are not and can never be. That is the reality that her husband brought to his marriage. And, if her son does not have a decent relationship with his father, it will be his fault alone, not hers, because he ruptured his family permanently by engaging in such continued betrayal of his wife and son. Addiction and/or narcissism are difficult to treat and difficult to keep in check, and they are devastating to a relationship.

    July 25, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  19. ted

    Weiner is only sorry he got caught, not that he was sorry for doing these things AGAINST woman that loves him. She needs to have divorce papers served, get a real good lawyer and leave the idiot a pauper.

    July 25, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  20. Uphigh

    Isn't this what all the liberals want? Freedom to choose??? Choose to stay in a bad marriage-choose to stay with a cheater. You have a choice-this is what you've always wanted. As the word pities her.

    July 25, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  21. leah

    Mark my words, she'll be gone within 3 years.

    July 25, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  22. Huma is not being accurate..

    Huma is not being at all accurate when she says this issue is only between the two of them as a married couple, that is not true. Rules are changed when you are a high level politician. At that level, if there is shameful stuff that comes out about you, it has the potential to wreck not only your career, but those of your closest supporters, and it damages your stated agenda and those working on your side. Just think what would have happened if somehow John Edwards got the presidential nomination back in 2008, and then BOOM, the story of his mistress comes out. Hello, President McCain. So, no, Huma: it impacts all of us New Yorkers if your husband wants to be our mayor. Sorry but it does.

    July 25, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  23. leah

    Anthony Weiner is not serious about his marriage or his family. Or holding the office of the mayor of NYC.

    He's just not serious.

    July 25, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  24. Jim

    I don't second any spouse regarding divorce decisions when a child is involved. She needs to act on what is best for the child, and none of us are privy to the information needed to make that decision.

    July 25, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  25. Goodnessme!

    Huma: You have basically insulted the intelligence of every woman in this country. To me this is an attempt to do things the old way. You think americans are stupid and need to be told what to do. OMG wake up. It's a new time out there and people can see thru the crap. You have embarrassed yourself. Go away quietly with your husband and I strongly recommend continued therapy.

    July 25, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
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