His life was an American dream that, today, seems be crashing down: John Edwards, the millworker's son who became a U.S. senator and a presidential candidate, has been indicted by a federal grand jury today on criminal charges following an investigation seeking to connect Edwards to an allegedly illegal scheme to cover up his extra-marital affair.
Edwards admitted the affair, with film producer Rielle Hunter, in an exclusive interview with ABC News in August 2008.
"I made a very serious mistake. A mistake that I am responsible for and no one else," he said.
Still, Edwards at the time vigorously denied allegations of a cover-up.
"I have never paid a dime of money to any of the people that are involved," he said. "Nothing has been done at my request. So if the allegation is that somehow I participated in the payment of money, that is a lie. An absolute lie."
But former Edwards campaign aide Andrew Young says Edwards was involved in a very big way.
Young told "20/20" in an exclusive interview last year that he knew of at least $1 million that Edwards himself had devoted to the cover-up.
See exclusive pictures of the John Edwards scandal here. In his 2010 book, "The Politician," the once fiercely loyal aide exposed the secrets he helped conceal about the senator's affair with Hunter.
Young says Hunter and Edwards first met in a chance encounter at New York City's Regency Hotel in February 2006.
"She came up to him at the bar and said, 'In person, you come across as very hot with a lot of energy,' but on TV, you don't -- you come across as very distant. I'm in TV. I can help you with that.' That night they were in the same hotel room together and slept together the first night," Young said.
A few months after the affair allegedly began, the senator helped Hunter land a six-figure deal to produce web videos that aimed to reveal the real John Edwards.
As campaign videographer, Rielle Hunter traveled on the first leg of Edwards' official presidential campaign, from New Hampshire to Nevada. When the campaign returned to Edwards' home base in North Carolina on Dec. 30, 2006, Young said Edwards asked him to make sure his wife, Elizabeth Edwards, and his mistress didn't meet -- but the two women came face to face nonetheless.
That night, Young said, Edwards admitted to his wife that he had had an affair. Elizabeth Edwards, who died of cancer four years later, reacted "violently" to the news, he said.
"Anytime that he would almost be asleep, she would get like an inch from his face and start screaming at him," he said.
Hunter was fired the next day, and Young said he found himself largely shut out of the campaign but assuming a different role in Edwards' life: his sole confidant.
"He and Rielle told me way more than I wanted to know about anything and everything," he said.
Watch '20/20' Tonight to Hear Angry Voicemail Messages Andrew Young Received From Rielle Hunter and Elizabeth Edwards
In May 2007, Young got a frantic call from Hunter. She was pregnant, she told him, and Edwards was the father.
"She says, 'I need to talk to him right now,' and started cursing, and she threatened to go public if I didn't put them together. I said, 'Well, either somebody's died, or somebody's pregnant.' And she said, 'Well, nobody's died,'" Young recalled.