John Edwards Admits He Fathered Rielle Hunter's Child

Rielle Hunter and John Edwards

Former presidential candidate John Edwards abandoned his long denial that he had fathered a child during an affair with a campaign aide and admitted today that he is the father of the almost 2-year-old girl.

"I am Quinn's father," Edwards said in the bombshell statement this morning. "I will do everything in my power to provide her with the love and support she deserves."

The former senator and presidential hopeful had an affair with campaign cinematographer Rielle Hunter, 45, and she later give birth to Frances Quinn.

Edwards' admission comes a week before the man who had claimed he was the baby's father, former aide Andrew Young, was scheduled to appear in an exclusive interview on "20/20".

In an excerpt from his upcoming interview with ABC News's Bob Woodruff, Young alleges that Edwards asked him to arrange a fake a paternity test.

"Get a doctor to fake the DNA results," Young said Edwards told him. "And he asked me ... to steal a diaper from the baby so he could secretly do a DNA test to find out if this [was] indeed his child."

Young recently wrote a book about the affair called "The Politician" that has yet to be released.

Edwards was in Haiti today working on earthquake relief and said only, "I've said what I have to say for now and I'm here to help people."

Tune in to ABC News' "20/20" and "Nightline" Friday Jan. 29 to see Young's groundbreaking interview. Then tune in to "Good Morning America" on the following Monday, Feb. 1, when Young will appear for his first live interview.

In the statement today, Edwards said it was "wrong" that he denied he was the girl's father.

"I have been able to spend time with her during the past year and trust that future efforts to show her the love and affection she deserves can be done privately and in peace," Edwards' statement said, referring to the little girl. "It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter and hopefully one day, when she understands, she will forgive me."

"To all those I have disappointed and hurt, these words will never be enough, but I am truly sorry," he said.

Edwards' lawyer, Harrison Hickman, bluntly told NBC today, "He lied."

Hickman said that Edwards has been visiting Quinn and paying child support for about a year. Edwards' wife, Elizabeth, learned last summer that Quinn was her husband's child.

"He's not doing this as a way to try to bring attention to himself," Hickman said. "He's doing this as a way... to begin to put this behind, not just him, but everybody else who's been affected by this."

Elizabeth Edwards told the Associated Press that "the whole family is relieved."

August 2008: Edwards Categorically Denies Paternity

In August 2008 Edwards admitted to the affair with Hunter but denied fathering the child in an exclusive "Nightline" interview with Bob Woodruff (WATCH THE INTERVIEW). Edwards said he repeatedly lied about the extramarital affair with Hunter, a 42-year old campaign employee, but strenuously denied he was involved in paying the woman hush money or fathering her newborn child.

Edwards categorically declared it was "not possible" that the baby was his.

"I know that it's not possible that this child could be mine because of the timing of events, so I know it's not possible," Edwards said. "[I'm] happy to take a paternity test, and would love to see it happen.

Click here to see a timeline of major events in scandal involving John Edwards.

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