Paternity questions arise as Elizabeth Edwards gives interview


by Associated Press

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:51 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 16 at 4:21 PM

Associated Press
Oprah Winfrey at the Edwards' home in Chapel Hill, N.C.

CHICAGO - Elizabeth Edwards said rebuilding trust with her husband after his admitted affair was "a slow process" during an interview aired Thursday on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

The program is broadcast at 4 p.m. on WFAA-TV Channel 8.

The wife of former U.S. Sen. John Edwards discussed his infidelity, her struggle with terminal cancer and her new memoir detailing how she has coped with both. She told Winfrey she decided to move on despite the feelings of anger and self-doubt she has had since learning of the former Democratic presidential candidate's affair with videographer Rielle Hunter.

"It's a slow process and it means sometimes he has to have conversations he doesn't want to have," she told the Chicago talk show host. "This is a really good man who did a very bad thing. If you take that piece out, I do have a perfect marriage."

John Edwards said he hadn't been sure whether his wife was going to leave him after he told her about the affair in 2006, soon after he started his second presidential campaign.

"I didn't know," John Edwards said. "The honest truth was I didn't know what she would do. I don't think anybody does."

Winfrey asked him, "Have you gotten to a good place?"

He replied, "I feel like we're getting to a good place, it's not over."

John Edwards went public with the affair last year after the National Enquirer reported he was the father of Hunter's daughter. He has denied paternity.

During the interview, Winfrey read excerpts from Elizabeth Edwards' second memoir called "Resilience." It hits stands Friday.

Edwards wrote that her husband admitted at the end of 2006 that he had made a mistake with Hunter on a single occasion. Elizabeth Edwards said it was more than a year later before she learned there was more to the story.

She said the initial news in 2006 made her sick to her stomach. But she slowly came to accept it. After she found out the whole story, the news "leveled" her.

"That was like starting over from a worse position," she said. "It just pushed us way back in the process ... That's the part we're still working on, trust."

Elizabeth Edwards said she blames both her husband and Hunter, but wants to move on and focus on the couple's 30-plus years of marriage. Hunter was not mentioned by name during the interview, a condition Elizabeth Edwards requested.

Elizabeth Edwards told Winfrey she doesn't believe Hunter's child is her husband's but doesn't want to know either way.

"I've seen a picture of the baby, it doesn't look like my children," she said. "This is the part where you have to concentrate on your life. Whatever the facts are doesn't change my life."

She said her battle with terminal cancer has made her set her priorities, including realizing how supportive her husband has been through the illness.

Elizabeth Edwards said she doesn't know how long she has to live, which is difficult.

"When I'm in pain, I think, 'Is this it?' Sometimes I get really really down. That's the cry cry cry," she said. "You're just overwhelmed about what it is that you've left undone and who you're going to leave behind."

She said her fear of death is partially eased because she has buried a child. In 1996, the Edwardses' son Wade died in a car accident at age 16.

"It's not as frightening," she said of dying. "It is a relief, (but) I don't think it takes all the fear away."

The interview was taped at the Chapel Hill, N.C., home where the Edwardses live with their children, Cate, Jack and Emma Claire. Besides the TV interview, there will be a companion piece in the June issue of "O" magazine.