She talks about coping with her husband John's extramarital affair – and focusing on their kids

By Rennie Dyball
Updated September 18, 2008 01:25 PM
Credit: Nancy Ostertag/Getty

Nearly six weeks after news broke of her husband John’s extramarital affair, Elizabeth Edwards opened up about her “ongoing process of finding your feet again.”

“There’s a lot of adjustment to make,” Edwards told the Detroit Free Press in her first interview since her husband, 55, a former presidential candidate, admitted in a TV interview that he had been unfaithful. “Trust … [is] probably the most difficult hurdle.”

Edwards, 59, says that as she continues to undergo treatment for her stage 4 breast cancer, she remains optimistic because “With the research, it looks like there may be a new drug for me down the line. My job is to stay alive until they find a cure. I don’t think there’s any way to live with this diagnosis than to have that kind of optimism.”

Whether she remains optimistic about the state of her marriage is less clear. Asked whether she has forgiven her husband, Edwards said, “I don’t want to feed the monster, if you don’t mind.” She added that if she had her leg amputated, as opposed to her husband having an affair, people would not ask: “Are you over that leg thing yet?”

She added, “People had this idea that we represented, as a couple, some sort of perfection … There is no perfection out there.”

Instead, it’s about finding the good in life, Edwards said. She plans to continue her advocacy work (she’ll testify before Congress on health care reform on Thursday) and spend time with her children, Cate, 26, Emma Claire, 10, and Jack, 8.

Edwards added that she hopes her children will have an image of their father as “an advocate for poverty, not for this current picture of him, to be the one they carry with them … I need to create the picture for them that I want them to have.”