Rielle Hunter Tells Her Side Of The Story
It's the provocative photo spread of John Edwards's former mistress that's shocking the nation. Rielle Hunter poses in bed in nothing but a man's shirt and pearls, showing lots of skin.
In another photo, she cuddles with her and Edwards's two-year-old daughter. "I love Johnny and I love my daughter more than anything in the world," Hunter tells GQ magazine.
In another photo, she poses with little Francis Quinn's stuffed animals. A pose that's provoking a firestorm.
Hunter says Edwards is a loving father to the toddler, who calls him "Dada." "She was conceived in love. She is a love child," said Hunter.
After four years of silence, Hunter is coming forward for the first time, telling the magazine "I'm not a predator, I'm not a gold digger, I'm not the stalker." She claims that Edwards had cheated on his wife Elizabeth with other women before her and that the Edwards marriage had been "dysfunctional and toxic and awful for many, many years."
Hunter doesn't pull any punches talking about cancer-stricken Elizabeth, actually calling her "abusive," and saying, "Most of Johnny's mistakes or errors in judgment were because of his fear of the wrath of Elizabeth. The wrath of Elizabeth is a mighty wrath."
Hunter says that Elizabeth learned of the affair when she discovered a secret cell phone they used to communicate. "I answered the phone and said, 'Hey, baby,' and, click," it was Elizabeth on the other end.
Hunter says she first laid eyes on the former presidential candidate in the lounge of New York's Regency hotel. "It was a mutual, unusual staring going on. There was an instant and odd connection that we both felt."
Rielle Hunter says later that day they ran into each other on the corner of 61st Street and Park Avenue in midtown Manhattan.
"I just uttered to him, 'You're so hot.,' and he said, 'Why, thank you!' and he almost jumped into my arms. Literally," said Hunter.
They slept together in Edwards' room at the Regency that same night. Hunter says Edwards told her, "Falling in love with you could really (expletive deleted) up my plans for becoming president."
Two years later in an interview on ABC's Nightline, Edwards said, "I've been in love with one woman for thirty-one years. Elizabeth."
Right after Edwards went on Nightline and denied ever loving her, Hunter says he called her to say, "I'm sorry. It doesn't mean anything."
Now Hunter is lashing out at GQ for publishing the photos of her scantily clad. She was in tears when she spoke with Barbara Walters Monday morning.
"She wanted to stress again and again how upset she was about the photographs. She thought they were repulsive. She cried for two hours and realizes how terrible they are," said Walters.
Hunter spoke to GQ writer Lisa DePaulo, who appeared on the Today Show. Matt Lauer asked DePaulo, "What is the relationship right now?"
"Short answer is, they're together. I think it depends on how you define 'together'," said DePaulo.
Hunter says she doesn't know if she and Edwards will live happily ever after, but they're still madly in love. She adds, "We love each other very much. And that hasn't changed, and I believe that will be 'til death do us part."