July 25th, 2013
08:36 AM ET
9 months 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. The Realist

    What a sordid mess.

    July 25, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. Pat in IL

    It is unhealthy for her son to be around this perverted liar.

    July 25, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. rjc116

    People who want to excuse this depravity point to Bill Clinton's indiscretions. Somehow they forget the horrible turmoil he created for the country and the distraction his immorality caused when he should have been paying full attention to the nation's business and Al Qaeda. He could have gotten rid of Bin Laden and possibly avoided 9-11. And then there's the backlash he created against the Democratic party resulting in two terms of George Bush and the Iraq war. Unintended consequences indeed.

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

    Why we have to make Tony mayor to prevent his son being fatherless. Huma degraded herself.

    July 25, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. Danny O'Danny

    I would love to comfort her in her most troubling of times.

    July 25, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  6. kai chase

    After some reflection, friends said, Abedin felt that taking their toddler son from his father was not what was best for him

    Yes, better you keep him there so he can follow in his father's footsteps when his is older. Better he learns that humiliation, degradation, lies, deceit, cheating is all okay for a man to do to his wife.

    July 25, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  7. harnof48

    Do you want to shake hands with him?

    July 25, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  8. Brian Hartman

    If she forgave him, and he did it again, and she forgave him again, doesn't that kinf of make her, well... a moron?

    July 25, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  9. dan

    yeah, let's teach the little weiner to disrespect women and our vows and the people you work for by allowing this sick narcissist to raise him in his own image.

    July 25, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  10. Sofia

    I don't think this guy is going to change and will only keep hurting his wife, so It is up to her as to whether or not she wants to put up with it.

    July 25, 2013 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  11. mercy

    She is equally ill if she continues to be with this man.
    Otherwise, like her mentor Hilary, she is eyeing position/perks herself, via this guy.

    July 25, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  12. kondordisqus

    >>>mainesrd
    >>>
    >>>"...Amazing how liberals are willing to put on the blinders for the sake of politics."

    Yeah, Ollie North/Sarah Palin/Mitch McConnell are banner representatives of the conservative cause.

    Both parties wear blinders. Picking one over the other is just an exercise in partisanship.

    July 25, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  13. Robyn

    First thing she needs to teach that kid is to knock before entering a room.

    July 25, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  14. Texan Girly

    This dude is pathetic. This issue is not only about their marriage, but the fact that his word is worthless, that he is selfish and has serious problems of judgement. He is a horrible model for young boys. I don't really care if he would be a good mayor, he has no morals. Get out and let some other democrat run!

    July 25, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  15. marianne

    I hope she comes to her senses soon!

    July 25, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  16. sgtcedar

    The main question is why she did not leave. Anthony Weiner has probably ruined his political career. Huma Abedin is intelligent and has major connections. I believe he needs her much more than she needs him.

    July 25, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  17. jleoxii13

    He's an idiot, and if he's that much of an idiot, he would be a terrible mayor. His wife (and kids) is the only thing good about him. If he can't be faithful, he cant run the city.

    July 25, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  18. john

    Huma, dump that weiner. Plenty of great guys that would love to treat you right.

    July 25, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  19. alberta

    How can someone who displays such continuing poor judgement and a propensity to either lie about it, or dismiss it as unimportant or irrelevant, make a "good mayor"? He clearly has no moral compass and no doubt would be able to justify, at least to himself, other immoral or unethical behaviour. The NY Mayor's office would be the worst place for a morally corrupt individual to be. And his wife is certainly in the "Hillary" mode; power is the ultimate end-all. Stick with him, help him get elected and it will all go away. Yuck to both of them.

    July 25, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  20. James E. & Debra S. Whedbee

    Dear Huma, if you are ever in the Kansas City metro area, you are welcome in our home. Your commitment is admirable, and who are we to judge what you are going through...all I can say is you are far more patient than am I. Please keep well. You and your family have our prayers for happier memories in the near future.

    Kindest regards,

    James & Debbie Whedbee
    Gladstone, Missouri

    July 25, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  21. mkuske

    Note to Huma: One can't recover from being a sociopath. Imagine what wonderful habits your husband's continued emotional abuse of you is going to teach your son. I'm sure he will grow up to have an awesome respect for women...not.

    Seriously, Huma's cow-towing to the whims of her narcissistic "man-boy" is setting feminism back 100 years as she either A) is held captive by her uncontrollable emotion state or B) is a manipulative power-hungry gold-digger with a Machiavellian drive to ride her husband's coat-tails to the top. How about just being a powerful woman in your own right Huma?

    July 25, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  22. binag

    She won't abandon him because he wants to be the wife of a mayor. Simple as that. No dignity whatsoever just like he boss hillary.

    July 25, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  23. mkuske

    Note to Huma: One can't recover from being a sociopath. Imagine what wonderful habits your husband's continued emotional abuse of you is going to teach your son. I'm sure he will grow up to have an awesome respect for women...not.

    Seriously, Huma's cow-towing to the whims of her narcissistic "man-boy" is setting feminism back 100 years as she either A) is held captive by her uncontrollable emotion state or B) is a manipulative power-hungry gold-digger with a Machiavellian drive to ride her husband's coat-tails to the top. How about just being a powerful woman in your own right Huma?

    July 25, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  24. Trafduol

    Weiner, stand tall! Do NOT go limp on us and pull out! Most laughs we've had all summer! New York is populated by gross body parts; why not a hilarious Weiner for mayor? You make Kennedy, Clinton, and Spitzer look like Eagle Scout choir boys! Can't wait to have you share that "vision", dude (seen through the lens of your Smartphone, right?)!

    July 25, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  25. Vader

    Leave. Just leave.

    July 25, 2013 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
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