What are the odds that the mistresses of two of America’s most disgraced civil servants live in the same state, in the same city, and even in the same neighborhood?
Well, it happened. The home of Paula Broadwell, alleged lover of ex-CIA Director David Petraeus, is just about 1.6 miles away from the home of Rielle Hunter, the all-too-public mistress of former senator and presidential candidate John Edwards. Both women reside in the tony Dilworth section of Charlotte, N.C.
Broadwell’s two-story brick home, on a big corner lot with an American flag proudly displayed over the front door, is located just north of East Boulevard, the main drag that cuts through this historic district of the state's largest city. Hunter’s redbrick colonial, which Senator Edwards reportedly bankrolled, is just south of East Boulevard
Could the women, who each have young children, have crossed paths? It’s possible—East Boulevard is a well-traveled strip with a multitude of establishments catering to on-the-go women. Maybe Paula and Rielle nodded to each other as they waited in line at the popular Starbucks in the 1400 block of East Boulevard. Maybe that’s where Broadwell sat as she wrote portions of her biography of Petraeus, All In. One wonders, even, if it was via Starbucks’s free wi-fi that Broadwell sent a series of allegedly harassing emails to a woman in Florida that she suspected of being Patraeus’s other “other woman”—messages that may have contained classified information.
Or perhaps the two spotted each other at the Dilworth Gardens Shopping Center just off Scott Avenue, another convenient place for young moms to stop. There’s also Brixx’s Wood Fired Pizza, a family-friendly restaurant. Not far away are Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar and the All About You salon and spa. These two notorious women might have shared manicure/pedicure space and started up a conversation—who knows? (Then again, Hunter, a horoscope and New Age enthusiast who often spoke about the karma she felt in a room, likely would have gravitated a bit further northwest and visited the Zen Massage Center.)
Since both women are known to be physically active—Broadwell conducted some of her book interviews with Petraeus while they ran long distance; Rielle has been photographed with her yoga mat—the Dowd YMCA is another place where the two might have met. The six-story facility offers a multitude of programs for children and is situated on East Morehead Avenue, almost directly halfway between the two homes.
As one Dilworth resident who spoke to The Daily Beast (but who did not want to be identified) said, “This Y is where all the socialites go.” After being apprised of the close proximity of the two homes and the fact that young children lived in both, he added, “It’s almost certain they would have bumped into each other at some time or another.”
Meanwhile, the expansive Freedom Park is a magnet for families with kids. It features the Charlotte Nature Museum, a well-kept baseball field, and a large body of water. The park is just three blocks from the home that Hunter, 48, moved into shortly after the birth of her daughter, Frances, in February 2008. (Just recently, however, the home appears to be unoccupied. Neighbors say a “For Rent” sign was planted under the big tree on the front lawn “about a month ago.”)
It’s probably unlikely that Broadwell invited Hunter to a special Labor Day barbecue for TV personality Jon Stewart of The Daily Show when he was in Charlotte back in September to film an episode of his show ahead of the Democratic National Convention. Broadwell, having been a guest on Stewart’s program during her book tour earlier this year, hosted a shindig for the crew in honor of wounded warriors and veterans. Not really Rielle’s kind of crowd. (Video of the event shows Broadwell in a most un-military looking outfit: a hot pink halter top and white short shorts.)
Even more unlikely is that Broadwell threw herself a birthday party earlier this month when she turned 40. Her birthday is Nov. 9, the same day the Petraeus resignation and scandal first exploded into international headlines.
Mark Pellin runs a conservative Charlotte-based news and opinion website called Pundithouse.com. When asked if he could shed light on the apparent coincidence of two of America’s most talked-about women living almost side-by-side, Pellin said it reminded him of the Sallie Saxon scandal from several years ago. Saxon, a Charlotte housewife, pleaded guilty to running HushHush.com, the nation’s largest Internet-based call-girl operation. “There’s something about this city,” he said. “Remember, you can’t spell Charlotte without H-a-r-l-o-t.”
A couple years ago the paparazzi spent considerable time sitting outside Hunter’s red-brick home in Charlotte, slouched down in their cars hoping to catch just a few frames of the infamous mistress. Now, the photographers have swarmed around the Broadwell home just 1.6 miles to the north. After all, whoever gets the first photographs of the woman who brought down the director of the CIA will reap a windfall.