Details from their first steamy night together, harsh words about Elizabeth Edwards, and more heartfelt revelations from the mistress’s explosive new tell-all, What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter, and Me.
1. Hunter’s pickup line: “You are so hot!”
The first time Rielle Hunter saw John Edwards at the lobby bar of the New York Regency Hotel in February 2006, she didn’t believe it was him. “No, John Edwards is a geek. That guy’s got it going on,” she told the friend who had pointed him out. She locked eyes with the “alleged John Edwards,” which only made her more convinced that this smoldering rake wasn’t the man her friend thought he was. “John Edwards the politician is disconnected and as deep as a puddle. That man has depth and awareness,” she poetically asserted. Then, just as she was leaving, “Johnny Reid Edwards came waltzing around the corner and into my life.” Cue the fireworks: she batted her eyes, he lit up, “something electric exploded between us.” She couldn’t contain herself (and, by the way, this is so unlike her) from blurting out, “You are so hot!” Johnny ate it up.
2. Seducing Edwards turned into the “most extraordinary night of my life.”
Just what the world wanted to hear: Hunter likes to be dominated in the sack. Taking a few notes from E.L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey, Hunter details a special “moment” during her first night with Edwards when “something in my heart clicked and I surrendered.” Wait for it: “I took off my teacher hat, let go of all my resistance to him, and let him lead.” Thankfully she spares us a pornographic play-by-play, though she gushes that “he led me toward the most extraordinary night of my life,” one which included “a lot of talk, a lot of laughter, and zero sleep.”
3. She wasn’t his first mistress!
Shocker: Hunter says she wasn’t Edwards’s first mistress. “He told me that he had an entire hidden life that had gone on for decades and that he was currently involved with three different women,” she writes. “One lived in Los Angeles, one in Florida, and one in Chicago. Clearly this behavior of his was not going to change overnight.”
4. FYI: Hunter wasn’t pregnant when they made their “private” video.
To set the record straight, Hunter may have been “sleep-deprived” when she and Johnny made a “private’ video” during a philanthropic trip to Uganda, but she wasn’t knocked up, “nor did I look like it from any angle.”
5. Hunter’s early motherhood musings: “Breast-feeding is weird.”
Another profound observation we really didn’t want to hear from America’s most notorious baby mama: “Breast-feeding is weird.” She’d been to hell and back after the National Enquirer leaked pregnant photos of her, but none of that mattered once Frances Quinn Hunter was born. “What was so surprising to me … was that as much as I loved her father (more than I had ever loved any man), I hadn’t even begun to touch love until Quinn came,” she writes about the day her daughter came into the world. Things were tense with Johnny, who phoned her while she was in the recovery room. “We have a daughter,” she told him tersely, “and she is hungry.” Quinn took to the boob easily, and Rielle was both thrilled and overwhelmed by the experience. “Breast-feeding is weird,” she writes. “It is incredibly loving, fulfilling, and draining—all at the same time.” Who knew?
6. Hunter calls Elizabeth Edwards a “witch on wheels.”
Really? Hunter keeps smearing Elizabeth Edwards, the wife whose family she helped wreck? The mistress claims that Edwards was “bonkers” and all the while acting like a “saint” in public. She claims that Edwards’s “crazy barking” at her husband, even physically attacking him and firing his staffers, drove him to cheat. Yet she contradicts herself when she says Elizabeth “was bonkers because she had been in denial” about Edwards’s cheating. So was he a womanizer because of her craziness or was she crazy because of his womanizing?
7. Hunter calls John Edwards “insane.”
OK, this is less outrageous. Hunter the psychologist diagnoses her lover too, saying he was “temporarily insane” for denying the paternity of their daughter. “Think about it: Sane, healthy people do not deny their children, especially on national TV, simply because they are afraid of their abusive spouse’s reaction. Only a mentally off person would do that.” Oh, the lies! He told so many lies. He was definitely a pathological liar. “Johnny denied his love for me, denied his relationship with me (which was ongoing) … And worst of all, he continued on his path of lies concerning Elizabeth.”
8. “Fucking unbelievable.” Edwards was lying when he told her she wasn’t his first mistress!
Turns out Hunter was Edwards’s first paramour, or so he claimed after Quinn was born. This really threw her for a loop, so she started bombarding him with questions. “He immediately went into reaction mode, and I realized that I was interrogating him the way Elizabeth did for years.” Such are the astute and sensitive observations that fill Hunter’s tell-all tome. “Fucking unbelievable,” she writes. “I, too, had betrayed myself.”
9. Elizabeth’s screensaver was a “revelation.”
In a “revelation” that’s supposed to make the long-suffering wife seem creepy and obsessive, Hunter says Elizabeth kept a clip of her husband and Hunter as her computer screensaver. Hunter says Elizabeth requested all the tapes that Hunter had shot during the campaign, and she locked herself in a room to watch them. “On one tape she saw Johnny walking into a room and his reaction to seeing me. She apparently told him that he never once looked at her the way he looked at me. So she took that bit and put it on her computer as a screen saver in order to watch it over and over again.”
10. Despite all the lies and drama, “the love is here.”
Well, the jury’s out: “I really have absolutely no idea what will happen with us,” Hunter writes at the end of her memoir. The only thing she’s sure of is “that our combined love, the mysterious unpredictable force that exists between Johnny and me … it is not to be underestimated.” So there you have it—what really happened between John Edwards and Rielle Hunter, as told by Rielle Hunter. And lest you be tempted to make any further judgments, dear reader, “I can honestly say that the ending is of no concern to me anymore. The love is here. And as sappy as it may sound, I love living in love.”