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Video: Edwards: ‘Hard to imagine’ husband’s affair

  1. Transcript of: Edwards: ‘Hard to imagine’ husband’s affair

    MEREDITH VIEIRA, co-host: We are back at 8:08. It has been more than a year since Elizabeth Edwards released her memoir, "Resilience," where she opened up about here battle with breast cancer and her husband's affair. Now it is out in paperback and includes a powerful new chapter that delves into the end of her 32-year marriage, and that's where Matt began his exclusive conversation with her.

    MATT LAUER reporting: Elizabeth , it's nice to see you again .

    Ms. ELIZABETH EDWARDS: It's nice to see you, Matt.

    LAUER: There's a lot to digest in this new chapter , and I want to get to that in a second. But for some reason, whenever you're here, I always feel like I should start by saying how's your health? How are you feeling?

    Ms. EDWARDS: Actually, I'm feeling well, thanks for asking. I'm on a new chemotherapy, regime as I think I've explained in the past. Sometimes you'll do one -- take one medicine for a while and then you'll, as that quits being quite as effective, you'll switch and do something else. And my job is to let the medicine stay ahead of me.

    LAUER: You're in a peak at the moment, as opposed to a valley?

    Ms. EDWARDS: Absolutely.

    LAUER: Which is good. I'm happy to hear that. You've remained largely silent over the last year while literally and figuratively your marriage and, in some ways, your life has fallen apart.

    Ms. EDWARDS: Hm.

    LAUER: And when you set out to put out the paperback version of this book, you could have remained silent on the things you haven't spoken about; and yet, in this new chapter you tackle some of these things directly. And I 'm curious about your decision process in that.

    Ms. EDWARDS: Well, the hardback version ended with my -- an intact family. And I guess you could have put out a paperback and said, `And here, the intact family,' but it wouldn't have been honest. And in order to make it honest, it was important that it -- that the next chapter , at least, be present. And I tried, you know, to not to have it go through, you know, every ache and pain through the process, but to give the view I have now from a little bit of distance about how both I've weathered it and my family has weathered it.

    LAUER: I've asked you and you've been gracious to agree to read a couple of passages from the book. And the first one I'd like to get to is where you write about the decision to actually end your marriage.

    Ms. EDWARDS: Hm.

    LAUER: Would you read that for me?

    Ms. EDWARDS: Sure. "I knew I could no longer be John 's wife. It was a sad and terrifying decision. I'd been trying to reinvent the role of wife for the last two years, trying to find a place where I could be happy and still be John 's wife despite his infidelity. Each day it seemed another piece of my history chipped away. There was little comfort or satisfaction. There was no peace. And at the very end of 2009 , I finally gave up trying."

    LAUER: You talk about each day a little piece of your history chipping away. Was it the drip, drip, drip, or was there a straw that broke the camel's back?

    Ms. EDWARDS: I think it was the drip, drip, drip. I mean, you know, was there -- you know, there's always some event that is the last thing to happen, but I don't think it was that. I think it was just that finally I realized that we'd just come so far down this road that there was -- I'm not -- I wasn't going to ever find a place where -- and I hate to talk about myself in the third person, but where Elizabeth existed anymore. I was going to be entirely reactive, and I didn't -- I wanted to be present in the remainder of my life.

    LAUER: You write that this was an extremely scary decision to make, and yet there's been so much in your life healthwise that, I would imagine, that's been scary. What was it specifically about this that you found scary?

    Ms. EDWARDS: I've been married to John for nearly 33 years, been with him longer than that, and every time something monumental has happened in my life, and particularly the bad things, I've had him to lean on. And that was going to be the case. And so I was going to be on my own in a -- in a way that I maybe hadn't ever really been, and that was pretty terrifying particularly faced with a disease and young children and a fairly uncertain future.

    LAUER: You write in the book, and I -- by the way, the new chapter is beautifully written, I have to say.

    Ms. EDWARDS: Thank you.

    LAUER: And you write in the book about this new chapter . You're in this new chapter -- not of the book...

    Ms. EDWARDS: Right.

    LAUER: ...but of your life. And yet, as you write about that you say, "But what am I supposed to do with the last chapter ?" That you were forced to question everything about your past in making this move to the future.

    Ms. EDWARDS: It's -- I have to say, with each step in our lives, we integrate the last things we've learned and everything. And then -- and then I have this piece that doesn't fit.

    LAUER: What questions have you been forced to ask yourself about the last two, three, four, five, 10 years of your marriage?

    Ms. EDWARDS: You know, did I waste my time in these -- in these years? Have I thrown this part of my life away? And I decided that I didn't. That maybe I didn't get the same things out of it I expected to or that I thought I was at the time, but when I look back there's really lots of blessings that I had. I've had the opportunity, you know, to have these great children. I've had wonderful friends. I've had experiences that, you know, really couldn't be replaced and opportunities to talk about things that matter to me.

    LAUER: When the -- when the story of John 's affair first came to light, you were told by John , and correct me if I'm wrong, that this was basically a one-night stand.

    Ms. EDWARDS: It was. And I thought that throughout the campaign. I thought that for much longer than most people would have thought reasonable, but I -- that's -- I believed it.

    LAUER: How did you learn what we all know now, that this was much more of a relationship and, in fact, there was a child that resulted in this relationship?

    Ms. EDWARDS: Well, I learned that it was a longer relationship in 2006 , some time after the campaign, probably in the summer that -- after John dropped out in 2008 .

    LAUER: Did someone call you? Did he finally come to you?

    Ms. EDWARDS: Oh no, you know, gradually things -- this thing doesn't make sense and this thing doesn't make sense. And he was, you know, slightly more honest. Of course, he also, you know, spoke publicly about it and admitted to more than he had previously told me. He told me slightly -- hours before he said that. But...

    LAUER: Did you hit the roof? I mean, on that revelation? Because here you're let in on part of the truth.

    Ms. EDWARDS: Right.

    LAUER: And then you find out there's much more to the truth.

    Ms. EDWARDS: Well, I mean, the fact that I had a lot of -- that I was starting to have more and more doubts meant that it didn't come as an avalanche the way the first -- the way the first revelation came to me. So -- but, you know, in all of this, in each of these things that happened, you know, what you -- what I tried to do and now tried to do again is sort of study myself, find myself.

    LAUER: When I watched Rielle Hunter on Oprah Winfrey , you know what I kept thinking?

    Ms. EDWARDS: What's that?

    LAUER: `I wonder if Elizabeth is watching this.'

    Ms. EDWARDS: I actually watched it later. I didn't watch it then, and I -- and I didn't watch the whole thing, but I did watch some of it. I mean, it's impossible not to -- I'm -- first of all...

    LAUER: Curiosity alone.

    Ms. EDWARDS: Curiosity, and also, you know, I know I'm going to get asked questions about it. And at first I didn't watch it, and I thought , `Well, that's silly.'

    LAUER: What'd you think?

    Ms. EDWARDS: I still think this person is so completely unlike me that it's hard to imagine the same person could marry me and be attracted to that -- to that woman as well.

    LAUER: In the last year, a couple of books have been written, Elizabeth , that were not kind to you at all. Andrew Young wrote a book, John 's longtime aide. There's another book called, " Game Change ."

    Ms. EDWARDS: Yeah.

    LAUER: And in it, although they talk about a lot of things, they describe you in some ways as intrusive and manipulative, and I'm curious at your reaction when you first heard those descriptions.

    Ms. EDWARDS: Well, I mean, it was -- it was -- it's hard , of course, to hear any kind of criticism. I wasn't particularly worried about anything Andrew Young said. His -- I don't mind saying that his book is just -- it's not that he didn't have a good story to tell, he did. But it's so filled with lies that it's -- that it's -- that I don't consider it having any bearing whatsoever on the truth, particularly with respect to me. "Game Change" was harder because there were sources, although I think I know who most of the people are who just because I experienced some of same events, and it was actually useful to have somebody say, `You were perceived as much harsher than you thought you were.' That's a useful piece of information.

    LAUER: Why? Because now you can change the way you behave around people?

    Ms. EDWARDS: No. No. Now I can -- I can -- it was -- I thought of the people who worked on the campaign not as people who worked for John or worked for me, I thought of people with whom I worked, I thought of us as equals. So if I would argue about a policy or about a decision I thought was wrong, then I thought I was arguing as an equal. Clearly, they didn't have that perception. They thought I was the boss' wife or whatever. I didn't take that into consideration, and I really needed to.

    LAUER: You write in the book about it. You say, quote, "I never was St. Elizabeth , I never pretended to be. I was never a monster, I certainly don't want to be. I was simply a person increasingly fragile who became more and more afraid of what tomorrow would tell me about my health, about my family, about my life. I was never as good or bad as the shifting image portrayed."

    Ms. EDWARDS: Hm.

    LAUER: And yet you also write you care deeply about what people think.

    Ms. EDWARDS: I do care deeply. I mean, I wish -- I wish I could say it didn't matter to me but it does matter to me what people think -- think of me . So, you know, one of the things that -- one of the reasons also to write the additional chapter was to say, you know, `I didn't pretend -- I never pretended to be perfect.' I laughed about that image. I couldn't do anything about it, but I laughed about it with people in the campaign, but I sure didn't -- I hope didn't to be a monster in any way.

    LAUER: It struck me in the book when you wrote, "Is it too much to want your obituary when written to be about your own life not the lives of the worst people who came into your life?"

    Ms. EDWARDS: Right.

    LAUER: "About the lies they told for their own purposes." When you consider that John -- they didn't just come into your life, John , in many cases, let them into your life.

    Ms. EDWARDS: Yeah.

    LAUER: How do you -- how do you not sit here incredibly bitter about that?

    Ms. EDWARDS: Well, any person who has been through -- any family who's been through a separation or a divorce knows that there's lots and lots of dynamics that you have to take care of. And I have three living children, for whom this is the father that I want them to -- whom I want them to love and on whom they're going to have to rely, perhaps, you know, if my disease takes a bad turn. It's really important to me that they see him in a positive light.

    LAUER: Yeah, I remember the last time you and I sat down, you said to me something that caught my attention. You said, "Despite this big, horrible thing that happened, I still look back and think I married a marvelous man."

    Ms. EDWARDS: Right.

    LAUER: And that was before you knew the whole truth. Do you still feel that way?

    Ms. EDWARDS: Well, I think -- I think I did marry a marvelous man. I think that he changed over time , and it could not be more clear to me then. You know, I think I -- it was hard for me to see it or admit it for a very long time. But he changed. Maybe we all change over time . And he's no longer the person that I -- whom -- who I married. I still admire an enormous number of things about him. The things he cares about are the things I think are important.

    LAUER: Is he good at co-parenting now? Are you handling that well?

    Ms. EDWARDS: I think it's going pretty well. You know, we're -- he was an assistant coach of an all-star softball team, and I'd go to the games and cheer. And then he comes and asks me some question about substituting, you know, so we're still working, you know, pretty evenly with respect to the children.

    LAUER: You write in the book that you would love eight more years.

    Ms. EDWARDS: I would.

    LAUER: That you would like to be there for Emma Claire and Jack in the same way you were there for Wade when he was alive and Cate when she was at that age.

    Ms. EDWARDS: Yes.

    LAUER: What are your biggest fears about the potential of not being there?

    Ms. EDWARDS: I just -- I don't let my head go to that place. I think that you really have to -- you know, you just -- you have to keep what you want in view always and `what I want is this.' And if I start thinking about, `Well, what if it's not,' then I maybe make the wrong -- I hope I would make the right decision, but I'm not positive I would. I think I -- there might be a panic as you think you're getting close to the end. I want to live with -- in a normal cadence with my children.

    LAUER: And you end the book this way. Quote, "In the end there is peace. If we are strong, if we are resilient, if we are stubborn and filled with hope, if we know how to love, there is peace before that, too, and honestly, that is enough." So at this moment, have you found some portion of peace in your life?

    Ms. EDWARDS: I have. I mean, I really feel that I have. I do still need -- feel like I need to break free of the media-imposed image. I'm not just a cuckolded wife. You know, I think about, because it's been in -- so many stories have been in the news recently, the -- but I think about Sandra Bullock , who I don't know at all. I mean, what an incredible year she's had. She won the Academy Award for an incredible performance. And more than that, she took that story and integrated it her -- into her own life in this healthy, happy way. And yet, the stories you hear are not about all of those great successes, but about this -- the failure of her marriage. And I thought , that's not who she is. And in a sense, I know she -- I don't know her, but I assume she wants to reclaim who she is in the same way I want to reclaim who I am. I hope the next time I'm on television it's to talk about some policy I really care about.

    LAUER: Health care or something like that.

    Ms. EDWARDS: That's right . Something I truly care about and not about this part of my life, which -- on which I'm hoping maybe partly with this chapter to close the door.

    LAUER: As I said, the chapter is poignant, but it's beautifully written.

    Ms. EDWARDS: Thank you, Matt.

    LAUER: It really is. Elizabeth , it's always nice to see you.

    Ms. EDWARDS: Thanks.

    VIEIRA: I so respect her candor given what she's gone through and the difficult road that lies ahead for her.

    NATALIE MORALES, anchor: Oh, my gosh.

    AL ROKER reporting: And everything you hear, it's almost reflected through this prism of her mortality.

    VIEIRA: Right.

    MORALES: Mm-hmm.

    ROKER: And that's makes it even more poignant.

    MORALES: It's important, though, she's redefining her life again on her own terms.

    VIEIRA: Exactly.

    MORALES: And you can tell that she's emerged so much stronger from all this.

    VIEIRA: Yeah.

    WILLIE GEIST, co-host: Matt touched on it. There were implications, even suggestions that she was so overbearing that somehow she drove John Edwards to do this. Interesting to hear her touch on that.

    VIEIRA: Yeah.

    MORALES: Mm-hmm.

    VIEIRA: She's found -- she's obviously finding her voice again.

By
TODAY contributor
updated 6/30/2010 8:48:14 AM ET 2010-06-30T12:48:14

Despite her estranged husband’s betrayal, Elizabeth Edwards wants her children to look on former presidential candidate John Edwards not as a cheating spouse, but a loving father.

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“I have three living children for whom this is a father whom I want them to love, on whom they’re going to have to rely, perhaps, if my disease takes a bad turn. It’s really important to me that they see him in a positive light,” Elizabeth Edwards told TODAY’s Matt Lauer in an emotional interview Wednesday on TODAY.

Edwards, who is being treated for breast cancer, was being interviewed on television for the first time since John Edwards admitted the full extent of his infidelity in January.

Thinking of Sandra Bullock and the highly public disintegration of her marriage has helped Edwards come to peace with John Edwards’ infidelities, she said.

Reclaiming herself
“I’m not just a cuckolded wife,” Edwards told Lauer. “I think about Sandra Bullock — who I don't know at all — what an incredible year she’s had. And yet, the stories you hear are not about all those great successes, but about the failure of her marriage. I thought, that’s not who she is. I don’t know her, but I assume she wants to reclaim who she is in the same way I want to reclaim who I am.”

Edwards, 60, is in the process of getting a divorce from her husband of nearly 33 years after he acknowledged in January that he had an affair with Rielle Hunter, with whom he fathered a daughter, Frances, who was born in February 2008. Elizabeth Edwards was battling breast cancer while her husband was having the affair.

Elizabeth Edwards continues to live in North Carolina, the state her husband represented in the Senate. She is caring for her son, Jack, born in 2000, and daughter, Emma Claire, born in 1998. Another daughter, Cate, is 28. Edwards told Lauer she refuses to allow herself to think about the possibility of not surviving long enough to see them grow up.

“I don't let my head go to that place,” she said. “You just have to keep what you want in view always. If I start thinking about, ‘Well, what if it’s not?’ I think there might be a panic, because you think you’re getting close to the end. I want to live at a normal cadence with my children.”

It was hard at first, she admitted, to be without the partner she’d leaned on for more than three decades.

“I’ve been married to John for nearly 33 years, been with him longer than that, and every time something monumental has happened in my life, particularly the bad things, I’ve had him to lean on, and that was no longer going to be the case,”  Edwards said. “I can’t go back to leaning on my parents. My father has died, my mother is not in a position to be leaned upon, and so I was going to be on my own in a way that I maybe haven’t ever really been. And that was pretty terrifying, particularly faced with a disease and young children and a fairly uncertain future.”

‘A marvelous man’
Last year, Elizabeth Edwards told Lauer on TODAY: “Despite this big, horrible thing that happened, I still look back and think I married a marvelous man.”

In Wednesday’s interview, Lauer asked Edwards whether she still feels that way.

“I think I did marry a marvelous man,” she replied. “I think he changed over time. I think it was sort of hard for me to see it or admit it for a very long time. But he changed. Maybe we all change over time. And he’s no longer the person who I married. I still admire an enormous number of things about him. The things he cares about are things I think are important.”

Lauer asked what questions she’s asked herself about the last years of her marriage, when she thought everything was fine and her husband was cheating on her.

“Did I waste my time in these years? Have I thrown this part of my life away, in a sense?” Elizabeth Edwards asked rhetorically. “And I decided that I didn’t, that maybe I didn’t get the same things out of it I expected to, or that I thought I was at the time. But when I look back, there’s really lots of blessings that I’ve had. I’ve had the opportunity to have these great children. I’ve had wonderful friends. I’ve had experiences that really couldn’t be replaced, and opportunities to talk about things that mattered to me.”

She said she and John are coping with co-parenting.

“I think it’s going pretty well. He was the assistant coach of an all-star softball team and I’d go to the games and cheer and then he comes and asks me some question about substituting, so we’re still working pretty evenly with respect to the children,” Edwards said.

When lives are ‘savaged’
In addition to Jack, Emma Claire and Cate, John and Elizabeth Edwards also had a son, Wade, who was killed as a teenager in a car accident in 1996.

Cate opens up about the demise of her parents’ marriage in this week’s edition of People magazine. “There are the things she taught without words,” Cate writes about her mother in an essay. Such as, “how to continue to live your life on your own terms when it somehow becomes savaged by people you never invited into it.”

Cate also acknowledges to People how concerned she is about her mother’s cancer, which has gotten worse. Tumors have spread to her legs, spine and skull. “She likes to downplay everything, but of course, I worry about her,” Cate says.

“It’s less frightening than you think,” Elizabeth Edwards tells People. “It can’t migrate to your brain.”

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When John Edwards’ affair became public, Hunter did a media tour, including a stop on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and a come-hither photo spread in GQ.

Lauer asked Edwards whether she watched Hunter’s Oprah appearance.

“At first, I didn’t watch it. And then I thought, ‘Well, that’s silly,’ ” she told Lauer. “I didn’t watch the whole thing. But I did watch some of it. I still think this person is so completely unlike me that it’s hard to imagine the same person could marry me and be attracted to that woman as well.”

Edwards ended her TODAY interview with one wish for the future.

“I hope the next time I am on television, it’s to talk about some policy I really care about,” she said.

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Photos: John Edwards' public life

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  1. Early family portrait

    In an undated photograph, future Sen. John Edwards, bottom right, sits with his sister, Kathy Edwards, left, and parents Bobbie and Wallace. He was born on June 10, 1953, in Seneca, S.C. (Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Gridiron pose

    In 1970, Edwards was a member of the North Moore High School Mustangs varsity football team during his senior year. (Edwards Family via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. I thee wed

    Elizabeth and John Edwards on their wedding day July 30, 1977. (Edwards Family / Zuma via Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. A son's legacy

    Edwards stands with his late son, Wade, on Mount Kilimanjaro in 1995. Less than a year after the Kilimanjaro trek, Wade was swept away with the high winds that pushed his Jeep off a highway in April 1996. (Edwards Family via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Visiting the White House

    Left to right, John Edwards, Cate Edwards, Hillary Clinton, Wade Edwards and Elizabeth Edwards in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, D.C., on March 13, 1996. Wade Edwards was invited to a reception honoring the American National Endowment for the Humanities National Essay Winners. (Courtesy, Williiam J. Clinton Pr) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Order in the court

    A successful trial attorney, on Sept. 5, 1997, Edwards, right, sits with clients Sandy and David Lakey as they await what turned out to be the largest personal injury verdict in North Carolina history, $25 million in compensatory damages for injuries suffered by their daughter in a swimming pool. (The News Observer / ZUMA Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Political victory

    Edwards, the Democratic Senate candidate, celebrates his victory with his six-month-old daughter, Emma Claire, on Nov. 3, 1998, at the North Raleigh Hilton in Raleigh, N.C. Edwards defeated GOP incumbent Lauch Faircloth, 51 percent to 47 percent. (Patrick Schneider / THE Charlotte Observer via KRT ) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Presidential impeachment

    On Feb. 3, 1999, Edwards is surrounded, from the left, by fellow senators, Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, Arlen Specter, R-Pa., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., as they meet reporters to discuss the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton. (Tim Sloan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Hat in the ring

    On Sept. 16, 2003, Edwards, along with his family, from left, daughter Catherine, son Jack, daughter Emma Claire and his wife Elizabeth, wave to supporters at the old Milliken Mill in Robbins, N.C., where he officially announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the presidency of the United States. (Ellen Ozier / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Book barnstorming

    Now a presidential candidate, Edwards smiles while signing copies of his book, "Four Trials," at a bookstore in Concord, N.H., on Dec. 22, 2003. (Brian Snyder / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Opening day

    A day before Iowa's electoral caucus on Jan. 19, 2004, Edwards pauses during a campaign stop in Davenport. Sen. John Kerry won in Iowa, with Edwards finishing second. (John Gress / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. On the road again

    Edwards and his children, Jack, 3, Emma Claire, 5, lean out of a window on the campaign bus outside a polling place in Columbia, S.C., on Feb. 3, 2004. (Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Facing facts

    Edwards pauses during a speech at Broughton High School, in his hometown of Raleigh, N.C., on March 3, 2004, before formally announcing the end of his underdog campaign and praising John Kerry as the right man to challenge President Bush for the presidency. (Ellen Ozier / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Kerry/Edwards 2004

    Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry display their support at an event in Market Square in Pittsburgh on July 6, 2004, where Kerry formally announced that his former rival, Edwards, would be his vice presidential running mate. (Hector Mata / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Vice presidential debaters

    Vice President Dick Cheney, left, listens to Edwards answer a question during their campaign debate on Oct. 5, 2004, at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. (Tony Dejak / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Conceding defeat

    Edwards and Kerry stand together at Faneuil Hall in Boston on Nov. 3, 2004, as the pair conceded defeat to President Bush in the presidential election. (Jeff Haynes / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Breast cancer diagnosis

    Edwards, with his wife, Elizabeth, right, and their daughter Cate, look to supporters following Sen. John Kerry's concession speech in Boston on Nov. 3, 2004. That same day it was reported that Elizabeth Edwards was diagnosed with breast cancer. (Amy Sancetta / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Katrina comments

    At the formal opening of his new poverty center in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Sept. 7, 2005, Edwards joins critics who panned the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina, saying the president was slow and indecisive in making decisions about the disaster. (Jeffrey A. Camarati / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Lending support

    On Aug. 17, 2006, Edwards waits to speak at a rally for Senate nominee Ned Lamont, D-Conn., at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. Lamont went on to beat Sen. Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary, but lost to Lieberman, who ran as an independent, in the general election. (Darren Mccollester / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Back in the race

    Edwards walks past a cordon of student volunteers as he arrives to announce his candidacy for president, Dec. 28, 2006, at a house affected by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. (Charles Dharapak / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Family ties

    Edwards is introduced by daughter Emma Claire during a March 13, 2007, rally at Bennett College in Greensboro, N.C. (Gerry Broome / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. A new challenge

    Edwards and his wife discuss her cancer reoccurrence at a March 22, 2007 news conference in Chapel Hill, N.C. (Ellen Ozier / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Leaving the race

    John Edwards speaks on January 30, 2008. He is watched by his wife and children on Bartholomew Street in the Upper Ninth Ward in New Orleans, where the Habitat for Humanity project Musician’s Village is being built. Edwards pulled out of the White House race, leaving the fight for the Democratic nomination to bitter rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. (Matthew Hinton / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Obama endorsement

    Sen. Barack Obama and Edwards wave during a rally at Van Andel Arena on May 14, 2008 in Grand Rapids, Mich., following Edwards' endorsement of Obama after Sen. Hillary Clinton won the West Virginia primary. (Mark Wilson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. The other woman

    In this Aug. 6, 2009 file photo, Rielle Hunter leaves the Terry Sanford Federal Building and Courthouse in Raleigh, N.C., with her daughter, Frances Quinn Hunter. On Jan. 21, 2010, publicly admitted that he fathered the child with Hunter, a campaign videographer. (Jim R. Bounds / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Admitting an affair

    Bob Woodruff interviews John Edwards on ABC News Friday, Aug. 8, 2008 in Chapel Hill, N.C. The former North Carolina senator, who was the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2004, confessed to ABC News that he had lied repeatedly about the affair with 42-year-old Rielle Hunter. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Funeral for Elizabeth

    John Edwards and his children, Emma Claire, left, Jack and Cate, far right, leave the funeral service for Elizabeth Edwards at Edenton Street United Methodist Church in Raleigh, N.C., on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010. Elizabeth died Tuesday, Dec. 7 of cancer at the age of 61. (Jim R. Bounds / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Facing indictment

    John Edwards is accompanied by his daughter, Cate Edwards, left wearing red, as he departs the U.S. District Court after pleading not guilty to six federal charges in Winston-Salem, N.C., June 3, 2011. Edwards was indicted for using nearly $1 million in illegal campaign funds to help cover up an extramarital affair during his White House bid. (Davis Turner / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Difficult testimony

    Cate Upham glances at her father, former Sen. John Edwards as they leave the Federal Courthouse in Greensboro, N.C., May 2, 2012. Upham left the courtroom crying during testimony about a confrontation between her father and deceased mother. Edwards is charged with six criminal counts related to payments from wealthy donors that were used to conceal his mistress and the child they had. (Chuck Liddy / The News & Observer via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. Not guilty

    John Edwards speaks outside a federal courthouse as his daughter Cate Upham, left, and his parents Wallace Edwards, second from right, and Bobbie Edwards, right, stand by his side after the jury's verdict in his trial on charges of campaign corruption in Greensboro, N.C., Thursday, May 31, 2012. The jury found Edwards 'not guilty' on one count of accepting illegal campaign contributions and a mistrial was declared on the remaining five charges because the jurors were deadlocked. Edwards said in a statement following the verdict, "While I don't believe I did anything illegal, I did an awful, awful lot that was wrong and there is no one else responsible for my sins." (Chuck Burton / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. John Edwards Named Kerry's Running Mate
    Corbis
    Above: Slideshow (30) Edwards' public life
  2. David Wu
    Don Ryan / AP
    Slideshow (21) Sex scandals and elected officials

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