The former senator and presidential hopeful had previously admitted to having an affair with Hunter, 42, who later give birth to his daughter Frances Quinn.
"I am Quinn's father," Edwards said in a bombshell statement. "I will do everything in my power to provide her with the love and support she deserves."
Below is a timeline of major events in the scandal:
Nov. 3, 2004: John Edwards' wife, Elizabeth Edwards, is diagnosed with breast cancer. Her cancer later goes into remission.
2006: John Edwards meets Rielle Hunter, a self-described filmmaker, at a bar in New York City.
Aug. 2, 2006: "Plane Truth," the first of a series of Web documentaries, or "webisodes," chronicling Edwards' course on the campaign trail -- produced by the newly hired Hunter and commissioned by Edwards' political action committee -- is taped.
Aug. 4, 2006: The second webisode, "Golden Rule," is taped.
Late September to early October 2006: "Plight of Uganda" episode taped in Kitgum, Uganda.
Nov. 14, 2006: The fourth webisode, "The Plug," is taped in New York City and airs on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show."
Dec. 28, 2006: Edwards announces that he will run for president in 2008.
Early 2007: The webisodes are removed from Edwards' Web site.
March 22, 2007: Elizabeth Edwards announces during a news conference in Chapel Hill, N.C., that her cancer has returned and, while it is treatable, it is incurable.
July 31, 2007: Elizabeth and John Edwards celebrate their 30th anniversary at their local Wendy's.
Oct. 10, 2007: The National Enquirer reports that Edwards had an affair with a former campaign staffer. The publication doesn't mention Hunter by name or its source for the information.
Oct. 11, 2007: Edwards denies having an affair to reporters in Summerton, S.C. "The story is false," Edwards says, according to The Associated Press. "It's completely untrue, ridiculous. ... I've been in love with the same woman for 30-plus years, and as anybody who's been around us knows, she's an extraordinary human being; warm, loving, beautiful, sexy and as good a person as I have ever known."
Dec. 19, 2007: The National Enquirer publishes a photograph of Hunter that shows her pregnant.
Feb. 27, 2008: Hunter's daughter, Frances Quinn Hunter, is born in Santa Barbara, Calif. The name of the child's father is left off the birth certificate.
July 21, 2008: The National Enquirer reports that Edwards visited Hunter at the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel.
Aug. 8, 2008: Edwards admits to ABC News' Bob Woodruff that he had an extramarital affair but says he is not the father of Hunter's baby. He adds that he told his family about his relationship with Hunter in 2006 and made a point of telling Woodruff that his wife's cancer was in remission when he began the affair with Hunter.
May 7, 2009: Elizabeth Edwards appears on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" to talk about her book, "Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts Facing Life's Adversities." In the interview, she addresses her husband's affair but doesn't use Rielle Hunter's name. Edwards says she doesn't know whether her husband is the father of Hunter's baby.
"I've seen a picture of the baby," Edwards says. "I have no idea. It doesn't look like my children, but I don't have any idea."
Aug. 6, 2009: Rielle Hunter testifies in a federal courthouse in Raleigh, N.C., before a grand jury investigating Edwards' campaign finances. Edwards' political action committee paid Hunter more than $100,000 to her filmmaking company, campaign finance records show.
Dec. 15, 2009: ABC News announces that Andrew Young, John Edwards' former longtime aide, will speak exclusively to ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff regarding his upcoming memoir, "The Politician," an insider account of Edwards' pursuit of the presidency and the scandal that brought him down.
Young writes in the book that Edwards is the father of Hunter's child. Woodruff's interview will air on "20/20" Friday, Jan. 29. George Stephanopoulos will interview Young in his first live appearance airing on "Good Morning America" Tuesday, Feb. 2.
Jan. 21, 2010: Edwards admits that he is the father of Hunter's daughter.
"It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter, and, hopefully, one day, when she understands, she will forgive me," his statement said.
Jun. 3, 2011: Edwards is indicted in connection with the massive amounts he spent trying to outrun the story, and keep his pregnant mistress in hiding. The case of USA v. Johnny Reid Edwards contains six counts, including conspiracy, four counts of illegal campaign contributions and one count of false statements.
The indictment is the culmination of a federal investigation that lasted more than two years and scoured through virtually every corner of Edwards' political career.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.