John Edwards' mistress, commenting for the first time about being at the center of one of the most explosive scandals in American politics, said she believes her relationship with the former presidential candidate may be just beginning.
"We do love each other very much," Rielle Hunter told GQ magazine in a lengthy interview. "And that hasn't changed, and I believe that will be till death do us part. The love doesn't go away."
But former Edwards aide Andrew Young, who had at one time claimed paternity of the love child, told ABCNews.com today that the interview with GQ only served to show the world that she has tapped into a well-paid "army of lawyers."
"I think all of us, we're all trying to find a way of reaching peace with what we've done," he said, before calling some of Hunter's claims in the article "ridiculous."
The public has skewered the former senator for cheating on his dying wife and then denying his mistress' child, but Hunter insists he is the epitome of truthfulness and humility.
"Everyone talks about how Johnny has fallen from grace," Hunter, 45, told the magazine. "In reality, he's fallen to grace."
The interview with GQ, accompanied by photos of Hunter posing in bed wearing what appears to be a man's white button-down shirt, marks the first time she has spoken in public, a decision she said was always hers and never Edwards.'
Months into the ensuing passionate affair, Hunter said that when she told Edwards she was pregnant with his child, he seemed to want her to have an abortion.
"He ... always said that he would support whatever decision I made," Hunter told GQ. "But I believe on some level he was hoping that I would get an abortion. Because he didn't -- he wasn't happy about the timing. Which is understandable. He was married and running for president."
Representatives for both John and Elizabeth Edwards told ABC News that they would not be commenting on the GQ article.
The 10-page Q & A, done at the rental home where Hunter lives with her and Edwards' 2-year-old daughter Quinn, touches on her early days with Edwards, the frustration of watching him deny their child and what she says are gargantuan untruths told by former Edwards aide Andrew Young.
"To me it kind of confirms what a lot of people thought of Rielle," Young said of the GQ article. When pushed to clarify, he hedged. "That she's a little bit of a different type of person."
Young said it was Hunter who has taken liberties with the truth and that he has the voicemails and e-mails to corroborate his story. Among the claims Young took offense at -- Hunter's insistence that she had no idea that the amount of money being funneled to her through the Youngs by private benefactors topped $700,000.
"It's patently ridiculous for Rielle to say she that didn't know that money was coming in or this or that. We were living in a $20,000 a month house right down the road from Oprah Winfrey," Young said. "I mean, come 'on."
He also blasted her version of events that led to Young claiming paternity of Quinn. Young has maintained that the request came from John Edwards. But in the GQ article, Hunter claims it was Young's suggestion, made while Hunter was on the phone with Edwards, who was livid about his visibly pregnant mistress being photographed by the National Enquirer.
"Yeah! I want to be the baby daddy," Young said sarcastically. "No --that's ridiculous."
Young also questioned the photo spread that accompanied the GQ article, something Hunter herself was said to be very upset about.
ABC News' Barbara Walters said on "The View" today that she had spoken with Hunter in the morning and that Hunter said there was supposed to be just one sexy photo, not an entire collection.
Walters said Hunter was repulsed by the sight of the photos.
"She cried for two hours and realizes how terrible they are," Walters said.
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Hunter told GQ that she was not a mistress by nature -- only a woman in love.
"It's a role that I took on because I fell in love with him," she said. "And that was the role that was available to me."
And unlike Edwards' relationship with his now-estranged wife, Elizabeth, "he's not afraid of me," Hunter said, classifying their marriage toxic and "very abusive."
"It's interesting, though, that he allowed himself to be abused. You know, he's no victim," Hunter told GQ. "But I think it had to do with having the guilt of the double life -- it allowed him to accept the abuse."
Edwards' fear of his wife was "huge," Hunter said.
"He could not go to his wife and say, 'We have an issue.' Because he would be pummeled," she said.
"Most of his mistakes or errors in judgment were because of his fear of the wrath of Elizabeth," she said. "He's allowed himself to be pushed into a lot of things that he wouldn't normally do because of Elizabeth's story line. And the spin that she wants to put out there. He was emasculated. And you know, the wrath of Elizabeth is a mighty wrath."
When asked if she felt bad for Elizabeth Edwards, Hunter told GQ that she has "such compassion for her," but that Elizabeth has an "unwillingness to take responsibility for her part in the marriage"
Hunter confirmed to GQ that the first words she said to the former senator were "You're so hot" and said she slept with Edwards the first night they met.
She described their connection as "magnetic."
"And by the way, he is hot," she told the magazine. "He is not the two-dimensional geek that I thought he was, by any stretch of the imagination. He is hot."
Hunter did not comment on an alleged sex tape featuring Edwards and herself.
Elizabeth Edwards and Andrew Young, Edwards' former aide who initially claimed to be the father of Edwards' child with Hunter, have not commented on Hunter's interview, but in it, she said John Edwards was all for her speaking out.
"He's very supportive of me talking now," Hunter said. "He believes that it's something that will help me be at peace with it. And he knows how important truth is to me. Factual truth as well as spiritual truth."
Hunter blasted Young for what she called blatant lies about her affair with Edwards, saying his motivations and those of his wife, Cheri Young, are mixed and fueled by the sting of being scorned.
"I'll say this about Andrew's book: If his grand jury testimony matches his book, I would suspect that they will be looking at him for many, many counts of perjury," Hunter told GQ
"I think like I do with everything: the truth eventually reveals itself. And we're all here to grow and evolve. And I think Andrew will grow and evolve, even if it's behind bars," she continued.
But Young said he's confident in his version of events.
"There's a part of me that still loves the people I knew at first," Young said. "Then I'm very angry at the people who are using an army of lawyers to try and lie and discredit me."
Hunter told GQ that she could not afford the home John and Elizabeth Edwards initially picked out for her. Edwards, she told GQ, helps her out "a little bit" and pays child support for Quinn, but that she needs to work.
Asked if she believed Edwards would do the right thing when it comes to supporting their child, she replied, "He is doing the right thing. And he's a great father. Once Johnny and Elizabeth separated, we were able to move forward quite quickly. And it has to do with him not hiding in order to see his daughter. He very much wants to be in her life full-time, and he doesn't want to hide."
But she admitted it was painful and frustrating to watch Edwards publicly profess his love for his wife all the while denying her and their child.
Hunter told GQ that she spoke with Edwards shortly after the August 2008 "Nightline" interview with ABC News' Bob Woodruff in which he said Elizabeth Edwards was the only woman he ever loved.
"I said, 'Ouch, that hurt.' And he said, 'I'm sorry.' And 'It doesn't mean anything.' And it didn't," Hunter told GQ. "I know he loves me. I have never had any doubt at all about that."
She described their love to the magazine as unending.
"The love doesn't go away," she said. "It's unconditional. It's unconditional on my part, but our connection is profound."