Rielle Hunter on night with Edwards: ‘Intensity like a rock concert’
By Kevin Liptak, CNN
(CNN) – The woman at the center of one of the 21st century’s most salacious political sex scandals said in an interview airing Friday she has no regrets about falling in love with a married presidential candidate.
Rielle Hunter, who carried out an affair with former Democratic Sen. John Edwards while acting as a campaign videographer, made the comments in an interview with ABC News.
“I don’t regret falling in love, and I don’t regret loving him, nor do I regret our daughter,” Hunter said in the interview, portions of which aired on “Good Morning America” Friday.
In August 2008, Edwards admitted to an affair with Hunter, a onetime videographer for his presidential bid. At the time, the former North Carolina senator denied paternity of the daughter she had given birth to six months earlier.
The Justice Department had accused Edwards of using nearly $1 million in illegal campaign contributions to keep his pregnant mistress under wraps as he mounted a second presidential bid in 2008. But after more than 50 hours of deliberation, a North Carolina jury acquitted him in May on one of the six counts against him and deadlocked on the other five.
Edwards eventually acknowledged paternity of the daughter he fathered with Hunter, and after the May 31 mistrial, he talked about “my precious Quinn, who I love more than any of you can ever imagine.”
In the interview Friday, Hunter describes the first time she encountered Edwards.
“He rounded the street corner, and it came out of my mouth: ‘You’re so hot,’” Hunter said.
She said she accompanied Edwards to his hotel room because she thought, “I could help him.”
“What a joke, for the outside world looking in. ‘Boy did you sure help him,’” she said mockingly.
The pair’s first evening together, Hunter said, was unlike anything she had ever experienced.
“Something internally happened with me,” she said. “I responded. I have never seen that before. I had not experienced or felt what was happening before. Intensity like a rock concert.”
Edwards’ marriage with wife Elizabeth, who died of cancer in 2010, was in shambles before she entered the picture, Hunter alleged in the interview.
“Their marriage was ruined years before I got there,” she said, adding that before his relationship with her, he had carried out other extramarital affairs.
“I was not the first,” she said.
Elizabeth was not the saintly figure the media portrayed her to be, Hunter claimed, saying the former political wife had another side that was rarely revealed. Elizabeth and John Edwards separated in 2010.
“The full truth needs to be in the public domain,” Hunter said. “Their father’s not a demon and their mother’s not a saint, and I’m not a home-wrecker. We’re real human beings, and there is a real dynamic that was going on, good and bad, and we all made mistakes.”