Rielle Hunter claims there were problems between the politician and his wife, Elizabeth, for years

By Hilary Shenfeld
Updated April 29, 2010 02:00 PM
Credit: Evan Agostini/Getty; Billy Farrell/PMc/Sipa

John Edwards s former mistress Rielle Hunter contends that she is not to blame for the demise of the politician’s marriage to Elizabeth Edwards and that the couple had problems for “many years” before she entered the picture.

“I do not believe I wrecked his home,” Hunter, who has a child with Edwards, says on The Oprah Winfrey Show Thursday.

She says people who call her a fame-seeker or home-wrecker “bought into the myth of the [Edwards] marriage, [that] it was so perfect and it was so wonderful and I destroyed it,” she says.

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Hunter knew Edwards was a married father before the affair started, but says she couldn t stop herself. “The power of the love does override all the issues that come up,” she says. “He wanted to be with me and their marriage had problems for many years.” Hunter also claims John Edwards knew she wasn t using birth control during their affair and never asked her to terminate the pregnancy.

But she refuses to reveal the current status of her relationship with the one-time presidential candidate, telling Oprah Winfrey that the information is private.

Falling in Love

Hunter, 46, describes her initial attraction to Edwards after meeting him at a campaign event at a New York City hotel in February 2006, saying, “There was just a connection. ”

Later, she ran into Edwards, 56, and “He lit up when he saw me,” she says. She admits she told him, “You re so hot,” though she says it wasn t just a come-on. “There s an energy He had it going it on,” she says. “There was something alive and authentic about him. ”

“He practically jumped in my arms, says Hunter. They soon then began their affair. Hunter became pregnant in May 2007, which she does not regret. Her “biggest regret,” she says, was agreeing to let Edwards s friend and advisor, Andrew Young, claim paternity of the child. Their daughter Frances Quinn was born in February 2008 and John Edwards met the baby three weeks later during a meeting “filled with love,” she says.

These days, Edwards and his wife are separated. He sees Quinn on a regular basis, and provides support both for his child and Hunter, who says she still loves the former senator.

Asked if she believes she has hurt Elizabeth Edwards, Hunter says, “You would have to ask Elizabeth that.”

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