March 15th, 2010
04:23 PM ET

Rielle Hunter speaks about her affair with John Edwards

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/08/06/edwards.mistress/art.reille.hunter.jpg caption="Rielle Hunter is seen arriving at a federal courthouse in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2009."]

Program note: Tonight, Anderson speaks with former aide to John Edwards, Andrew Young. Young had initially lied about being the father of Rielle Hunter's baby at the request of Edwards. Hunter lived with Young and his family a few years ago, and allegedly left a sex tape of her and Edwards in the Young house. Tune in tonight at 10pm ET to hear Young's reaction to Hunter's interview and photo session.

Lisa DePaulo

I met rielle hunter for the first time the day of our first interview, at her home in Charlotte, North Carolina, though we'd already spoken for some months on the phone. And would continue to, as more developments were reported. (Are she and John Edwards engaged? "I am not engaged.") There were no conditions, no ground rules, no topics or questions that were off-limits. Just a request that her words be her words, unfiltered and unspun. While everyone else in the Edwards drama has said their piece, in books and/or television interviews, the mistress and campaign videographer and mother of his child has, in her own words, "kept my mouth shut." Until now (as they say in the tabloids).

My first impression of Hunter, when she opened the back door of the screened porch filled with toys and strollers in the three-bedroom house she is renting (for $1,500 a month), her hair pulled up in a scrunchy, was that she was much prettier, and a whole lot softer, than all those National Enquirer spy photos suggest. She was wearing size 2 jeans, a Ralph Lauren turtleneck, and Uggs. No makeup. And she was laughing. Because Quinn, her 2-year-old daughter, had just done something particularly adorable. The child is gorgeous and, yes, looks exactly like John Edwards, but she also has her mother's spirit. Which is to say, a combination of serenity and spunk.

Hunter had fluffed up the tiny guest room upstairs—carefully placing a Zen-sayings paperback beside the twin bed—and invited me to stay overnight, with a warning that the three of us (she, Quinn, and I) would have to share the one bathroom, where the tub is filled with her daughter's rubber duckies. I accepted.

During the day and night and into the next morning, our talks were sometimes interrupted by the presence of a creepy guy exiting a dark blue van and setting up a tripod and camera on the sidewalk by her house, the lens focused into her living room or bedroom. She would handle this with practiced ease, closing any shutters that weren't already closed ("I love sunlight, but this is the reality"), at night dimming the lights and, with Quinn on her hip, dialing up her pals in the local police department, who are used to this (and are fiercely protective of her and Quinn). The cops would do their thing, the paparazzi would scatter—then return an hour or so later and the whole exercise would start again.

Throughout the day, news flashes and fresh rumors about her and Edwards popped up on my BlackBerry and her laptop. (The TV was on constantly, but it was tuned to Nick Jr., Quinn's favorite channel, not CNN.) At one point, while Hunter was feeding her daughter sushi-style avocado rolls in her high chair, the news broke that John and Elizabeth Edwards were officially separated. "Shocking," she said.

You haven't uttered a word so far. Why now?
I feel comfortable talking now, because Johnny went public and made a statement admitting paternity. I didn't feel like I could ever speak until he did that. Because had I spoken, I would have emasculated him. And I could not emasculate him. Also, it is not my desire to teach my daughter that when Mommy's upset with Daddy, you take matters into your own hands and fix Daddy's mistakes. Which I view as one of the biggest problems in all female-and-male relationships.

We'll get to that. But first, we should make it clear: You're not making a penny from this interview.
[laughs] I am not making a penny from this interview!


soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Jenna

    Rielle Hunter clearly does not understand Southern culture. In the South, men service prostitutes but they never marry them.

    March 15, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
  2. ann

    Rielle Hunter acts disgusting, looks disgusting and is disgusting. There is a special place for people like her.

    March 15, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
  3. Lori

    I think this is terrible.

    March 15, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
  4. alice

    Her words should not be believed, because she has to try to make herself out to be inncocent and now she wants to turn on Elizabeth, how about talking about the man who got u pregnant and decided to say someone else did u? Or talk about the Johnny who swears that the kid isnot his... which means he is insinuating that u sleep around alot. By the way why did TWO adults this day and age feel it was ok to have unprotected SEX.... This woman is a loser, I hope she ends up with him and he does to her what he did to elizabeth.

    March 15, 2010 at 8:04 pm |
  5. Annie Kate

    I had been wondering how long it would take for the girlfriend to give an interview and put "her" side of this mess out there. She should have known from her parents who were both unfaithful what it did to people and learned from that not to do the same. Her interview was just as self-serving as all the other interviews from Jon and Elizabeth have been. I wish the child well and hope she comes out of this unscathed.

    March 15, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
  6. Carol B.

    There's nothing "Reille" about this vulture or long-suffering, John. Also, WHY did the interviewer stay at her house? Did she get seduced, too? Pathetic. It's like a very bad country song.

    March 15, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
  7. rachael weiss

    Without makeup? She really is an ugly broad..The whole situation is disgusting really....No one looks good...I felt badly for John's wife but frankly? If she knew it and covered it up? He was running for President.........How sick does it get.....Really.......Where is the moral line ........At the end of the day I could care less about Rielle Hunter , John Edwards and the whole gang.....The children are really in a tragic situation...........It's just so ugly isn't it?

    March 15, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  8. Mike, formerly from Syracuse

    I'm guessing posing for Playboy will be next.

    March 15, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  9. JANE

    What is with that picture?

    March 15, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  10. Tim Gibson

    Who cares what this woman has to say.

    March 15, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  11. njwoman0709

    She's posing on a bed with no pants on? For GQ, no less.
    What type of image is she trying to portray? This is disgusting and another example of trashy paparazzi journalism. She should be ashamed of herself for a number of reasons.

    March 15, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  12. Catherine

    I hope to watch it. It's always nice to hear a perspective aside from what the paparazzi has to say. Besides, it's always best to hear the news straight from the direct source so they can clear up rumors or false accusations.

    March 15, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  13. Stephen Jackson

    To sum it all up in one word, TACKY! She knew she was having an affair with a married man and Sen Edwards broke his vows to his ailing wife. Just looks like another poor judgement and now doing something just for a check. Again, Tacky!

    March 15, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
  14. silk

    Lisa DePaulo, Shame on you for giving this woman the attention she has been seeking. There's no reason whatsoever for this interview. You are a woman yourself, how would you feel if your husband is cheating on you and have an affair, then a baby with another woman? Would you be so nice to that woman? Put yourself in Elizabeth Edwards' shoe and think of how would she feel when she read this interview. Shame on you and you should apologize to all women that has suffered from a homewrecker! Hunter said she wasn't paid for this interview, I don't believe it!

    March 15, 2010 at 4:50 pm |