10:31 AM EDT, July 25, 2013
We're hearing for the first time from the young woman at the center of the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal.
Twenty-three-year-old Sydney Leathers spoke exclusively to INSIDE EDITION about the raunchy text messages and phone calls she exchanged with Weiner, who's now running for mayor of New York City.
"Anthony Weiner is responsible for his downfall," said Leathers."I feel sick about it. I'm disgusted by him. He is not who I thought he was."
Watch video of Part 1 of our interview here.
INSIDE EDITION's Jim Moret said to Leathers, "I read one quote that suggested you thought he was a dirty old man."
Leathers replied, "He actually said that about himself to me. The exact wording is that he an argumentative, perpetually horny middle-aged man."
Leathers says her bizarre relationship with Weiner began in June, 2011 after he resigned from Congress in disgrace for sending images to women he met online.
Leathers sent him a Facebook message, criticizing his behavior. Out of the blue, a year later in July, 2012, she says he replied with a Facebook poke, a simple way of saying 'hi.'
Moret asked, "When did things turn dark and dirty?"
"Very quickly," said Leathers.
"Who prompted that?" asked Moret.
"He did," she replied.
"So, Anthony Weiner moved your conversation from professional to dirty?"
"Yes," said Leathers.
They began to exchanged steamy text messages. In one of the tamer ones, Weiner writes: "What are you wearing? Much for me to take off? I'd hold u by the throat."
He used a pseudonym that's become infamous overnight: Carlos Danger.
"It sounds ridiculous," said Moret.
Leathers said, "It is ridiciulous. I never really said anything about it, but I thought it was very silly."
She says she was shocked when Weiner texted her a risque self-picture that we can't show.
"I was absolutely shocked that he was willing to do that. And the fact that it was his idea is even more shocking," said Leathers.
She says she and Weiner also had phone-sex at least twice a week.
"Did you get the sense that he was acting out on the phone calls?" asked Moret.
"Absolutely, yes," she answered.
"And were they real for you, as well?"
"I think it was a fantasy thing for the both of us," said Leathers.
The sexting was constant, with Weiner writing: "I've found the perfect woman. Gorgeous, sexy and like a bit of crazy."
She replied: "I basically worship the ground you walk on. You're incredible."
Moret asked, "Did you think at that time that you loved Anthony Weiner?"
"Maybe not loved, but I definitely cared about him," said Leathers.
Leathers is from Mount Carmel, Illinois and is a college sophomore majoring in political science.
"I'm a total political junky, nerd," she admits.
Leathers says their sexting relationship ended in November, 2012. She thought Weiner was jealous that other men were leaving messages on her Facebook page.
"What would upset him?" asked Moret.
She explained, "Me being hit on by other men really upset him. We were Facebook friends, so he could see if men were commenting on photos of me, or telling me that I was pretty. Really minor things like that really bothered him."
She told Moret she last communicated with Weiner on Facebook four months ago when he announced he was running for mayor of New York.
He texted her: "Do me a solid. Can you hard delete all our chats here."
Leathers said, "Obviously I knew that he wanted me to erase any evidence of our conversations, because that was around the time I knew that he was going to run for mayor."
She says her relationship with Weiner reminded him of the Netflix series House of Cards, where actor Kevin Spacey plays a seedy congressman who carries on an affair with a reporter.
Moret asked, "Did you think, 'Oh my gosh, that's my life right now.'"
"Yes. When I saw House of Cards, I think it gave me a little bit of a panic attack, honestly," said Leathers.
She wept when we showed her Weiner's news conference where he acknowledged their relationship. She wants to apologize to his wife, Huma Abedin.
"I just feel very, very sorry for my part and the pain that she obviously feels," said Leathers.