John Edwards and the Mistress: A Breakdown of One of America's Most Sensational Scandals


Jonathan Prince, then Edwards' deputy campaign manager, told ABC News in a recent interview, that, "they stood there in the courtyard, it was remarkably impressive, but there was more going on there than we all knew."

On the stump in 2007, Edwards continued to use his wife to boost his campaign, saying "there is no one I admire more than my wife" and calling her "my hero." But behind the scenes, things weren't so smooth on the campaign trail. Andrew Young, a former Edwards aide, revealed in a 2010 interview with ABC News that Hunter would get upset any time Edwards publicly talked about Elizabeth.

"Every time the senator would go on TV and talk about his cancer-stricken wife, Rielle would go crazy," Young said at the time.

VIDEO: John Edwards former aide Andrew Young discusses the scandal.

Caught between a dying wife and a demanding mistress, all while running for president, Edwards didn't need additional drama. But in May 2007, Hunter revealed she was pregnant with his child.

"He was cussing her out, calling her crazy and saying that she had sworn to him that she was physically unable to get pregnant and that he just felt like he had been set up," Young told ABC News. "He tried to convince me to convince Rielle to have an abortion."

Then in October 2007, the phone rang at the office of a tabloid newspaper, The National Enquirer. Barry Levine, the editor of the Enquirer, told ABC News that one of their reporters took a call from a friend of Hunter's, who had been "telling her friend that she had met a man who was married that she had fallen in love with."

Suddenly, the Enquirer had a story that Edwards, the family man running for president as his wife was dying of cancer, had a mistress on the campaign trail.

"We obviously worked with the Enquirer, trying to convince them not to run it," Prince said.

But the Enquirer ran its story, although it didn't mention Hunter by name or its source for the information. Edwards continued to campaign -- and sleeping with Hunter. Then, on Dec. 19, 2007, with the crucial 2008 Iowa Caucuses drawing near, the Enquirer published a follow-up -- a photo showing a pregnant Hunter.

According to Young, Edwards devised a plan to have Young claim to be the father of Hunter's baby.

"He wanted me to issue a statement claiming paternity for Rielle's child," Young said.

The issue was, not only was it not true, but Young is married.

"When he asked me, I, I really about fell over. 'How could John Edwards ask you to do that?'" Young's wife, Cheri Young, told ABC News in a 2010 interview.

Andrew and Cheri Young: John Edwards Came First in Our Marriage

Even Hunter said she thought the idea that Young say he's the father of her child was ludicrous.

"'Insane,' that was my reaction," she told ABC News last year. "'That's the stupidest idea I've ever heard. Nobody will buy that.'"

Nevertheless, they went along with Edwards' plan, and people did buy it, largely because no one wanted to believe Edwards could possibly be cheating on his wife. Meanwhile, Young said he was receiving money from wealthy donors to keep Hunter and her baby out of the public eye.

"Money was no object. You know, we were living in mansions, flying around in jets," Young said.

On Jan. 30, 2008, Edwards announced he was suspending his campaign for president, but it wasn't until after Hunter gave birth to a baby girl that the last of Edwards' lies about the affair were exposed.

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