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. barbara

    Someone responding to a similar article on him said that she could be staying because since she is the only breadwinner and he is basically a stay at home dad caring for their son, if tries to divorce him, he could end up with full custody and she might have to even pay him child support and alimony. From a financial standpoint, it would be wiser to wait till he has a job and then divorce. There's no comparison between between Huma and Hillary. Bill Clinton was President at the time. What is Weiner.... just a weiner.

    July 25, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  2. emt

    She's a woman who wants to be a mayor's wife....Just like Hillary who wanted to be the First lady......

    July 25, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  3. mainesrd

    The best indicator of future behavior is past behavior. If she thinks he will change long term – she is sorely mistaken. Anthony Wiener has serious psychological issues to deal with. He's a psychopath and he had a good shot at becoming the Mayor of one of the worlds great cities. Amazing how liberals are willing to put on the blinders for the sake of politics.

    July 25, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  4. mainesrd

    It's time for Wiener to pull out.

    July 25, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  5. pbernasc

    I wonder, did she work on her issues?

    July 25, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  6. John B

    He's a narcistic creep.

    July 25, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  7. Cap'n Rita

    What I find captivating are the number of young women who are participating in this pervert's game. Seriously, do they have nothing better in their lives than to exchange nasty with someone who really has nothing to offer them? He isn't going to elevate them in any way, shape or form and they become notorious for being this guy's toy. Get some self-esteem ladies and make your family proud instead of the folks of THAT girl.

    July 25, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  8. anna

    OH, excuse me. He gets to relapse when he's going though a "rough time" in his marriage (which he probably created!). Excuses are not good reasons and show you are not accepting responsibility for your actions. Definately not an acceptable leader for a family, city or country!

    July 25, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  9. Sam

    to mainesrd: Don't paint everyone with a broad brush; I am a democrat and I would not vote for Weiner.

    July 25, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  10. D jones

    Mainesrd said "liberals are willing to put on the blinders for the sake of politics". I agree, but I would also say conservatives has this same flaw. Its always about the politics from which power comes.

    July 25, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  11. Jack

    Indian women stick to their husband till death. In India,until recently when the government put a stop to it, the women will throw themselves into the same fire that cremates the husband.Cultural and genetic roots exist.

    July 25, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  12. Carlos Danger

    Emotional affair at minimum ...

    July 25, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  13. Carlos Danger

    Ultimate betrayal- cheating on wife. Will betray NY too.

    July 25, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  14. well

    power is very very addictive, and hubris tend to get to your head.

    July 25, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  15. LDUB

    Damn......this seems like familiar territory to me. Didn't we hear all of this a while back from this guy?

    July 25, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  16. Drew

    This woman has WAY too much on the ball to put up with a this kind of treatment.

    July 25, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  17. M

    I know exactly what I would not do given this situation. I would not vote for Weiner. I would not vote for Huma now or ever. There is something seriously wrong with both of them.

    July 25, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  18. Uncle Sam

    Hopefully she negotiated a nice settlement for staying, of course contingent on his election.

    July 25, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  19. Lori

    Ah, Ms. Abedin – no woman has to "take it". No woman has to stand with a man who is imploding. And not one bit capable of changing.

    Huma Abedin – get a spine. And get out.

    July 25, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  20. barbara

    just ridiculous.....with all his issues to even think about voting for him is nuts! go back to where you came from Weiner! and his wife is equally as pathetic....will say anything or do anything to move up the political ladder to Mayor "al la Hillary Clinton".... these people just need to GO AWAY!!!

    July 25, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  21. Jsaon

    Tony Hot Dog needs to get out of the race!!

    July 25, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  22. Larry in Houston

    any 1 want 2 bet that she will end up leaving him, after she finds out whether he wins or not ? She will stay, IF he wins. She will Leave him, If he Loses, in the near future. I will bet your nickel against my dollar, you win, you get a dollar, you lose, I get your nickel.

    July 25, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  23. HeyNYC

    This is a natural result of NYC gun control laws. The SOB obviously knows his wife isn't gonna shoot him.

    July 25, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  24. Cindy

    How does being raised by a man who lies and cheats and treats his mother like trash help her son?

    July 25, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  25. PIL

    Anyone noticed the coldness between these two? She was there to support him, told the world that she loves and forgives him and there was no hug, no affection, no thank you (besides the cold one in the written statement). Love is definitely not the reason she stays.
    I, for one, cannot get past his ugliness – damn, he is ugly and his facial – frowning – expressions were making it worse.

    July 25, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
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