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


Hunter's daughter, Frances Quinn Hunter, was born in Santa Barbara, Calif., in February 2008. The name of the child's father was left off the birth certificate. But a few months later, in July 2008, a National Enquirer reporter named Allan Butterfield said he spotted Edwards visiting Hunter and their new baby at a Los Angeles hotel.

"We said to him, 'What are you doing in the hotel? Are you here to see your love child?'" Butterfield told ABC News. "He looked like his world had just passed him by, you know, like 'Oh, I'm done.'"

On July 22, 2008, the National Enquirer reported that Edwards had visited his mistress and child. Young told ABC News he got a phone call from Edwards the next morning.

"He was bawling," Young said. "He was crying, and he said, 'I've been caught. I've been caught.'"

In a sit-down interview with ABC's Bob Woodruff in August 2008, Edwards admitted that he repeatedly lied about his extramarital affair with Hunter, but strenuously denied paying her hush money or being the father of her newborn child.

"Not true," Edwards said when asked about the baby. "Not true. Published in a supermarket tabloid, but no, that's, that is absolutely not true."

Aug. 2008: John Edwards admits his affair with Rielle Hunter was a mistake.
John Edwards: Part 1

Finally, on Jan. 21, 2010, nearly two years to the day after suspending his presidential campaign, Edwards came clean and, in a statement, he admitted to being the father of Hunter's baby. Edwards' admission came a week before Young was scheduled to appear in an ABC News interview.

That same month, Edwards separated from his wife, Elizabeth. After learning the truth about the affair, Elizabeth Edwards began divorce proceedings but died on Dec. 7, 2010 before the papers came through.

In 2011, John Edwards was indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly using hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds to hide Hunter during the 2008 presidential race. The following year, he was acquitted on one count of violating campaign finance rules and a federal judge declared a mistrial on five other criminal counts after the jury came back deadlocked. The Justice Department decided to not retry the case.

With his political career over, Edwards is working to renew his license to practice law.

Hunter went on to write a tell-all memoir about her affair with Edwards entitled, "What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter, and Me," which was released on June 26, 2012. On the day her book was released, Hunter announced during a sit-down interview on "Good Morning America" that she and Edwards were no longer together.

Rielle Hunter, Tired of 'Hiding,' Split With John Edwards

Just last month, Hunter publicly apologized for the affair in a Huffington Post column ahead of the release of her newly updated memoir.

VIDEO: Former vice presidential candidates mistress regrets "wrong, selfish behavior" in 2006 affair.
Rielle Hunter Apologizes for John Edwards Affair

"I behaved badly. That may seem obvious to you but it's taken me a long time to admit that, even to myself," she wrote. "I hurt Elizabeth and her kids. I hurt her family. I hurt John's family."

Edwards and Hunter's daughter, Quinn, is now 5 years old.

ABC News' Nick Watt contributed to this report

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