The Many Lives of Rielle Hunter

PHOTO: Rielle Hunter holding her baby

A prize-winning equestrian whose father was implicated in an ugly plot to electrocute horses for insurance money.

A party girl named Lisa Druck whose exploits in New York's cocaine-fueled nightlife during the 1980s inspired "Bright Lights, Big City" author Jay McInerny to model a character after her in his fiction.

An aspiring actress and screenwriter living in Beverly Hills who says she got off drugs with the help of a New Age healer and started a foundation to promote higher consciousness.

They may seem like wildly different people, but they represent the multiple lives of Rielle Hunter, the woman at the center of the John Edwards adultery scandal, which the former presidential candidate acknowledged last week to ABC News' Bob Woodruff.

"I couldn't believe it when I heard the story," Chip Hudson, a veteran horse trainer in Ocala, Fla., who worked with Hunter when she went by her birth name Lisa Druck, told ABCNews.com. "She was a regular kid with a family with a lot of money. Her father commuted back and forth in his own airplane and bought her some very nice horses. She won some prizes for her riding."

But there was another side to the life of luxury lived out by Druck and her two sisters, Roxanne and Melissa.

"She and Roxanne were a handful, always getting into trouble around the farm," said a former groomer at Eagle's Nest, the horse farm in Ocala. "Lisa was drop-dead gorgeous -- the pictures now don't do her justice. Very pretty, with blue eyes and blonde hair. And she knew how to drive the men crazy. But she seemed sad and troubled, desperately looking for something."

Her father, the late James Druck, once paid a hit man to kill her prize horse, Henry the Hawk, by rigging wires to electrocute the animal by attaching electrical wires to its ear and rectum, according to an account told to Sports Illustrated in 1992 by horse killer Tommy Burns.

Druck had taken out a $150,000 insurance policy on the animal and was hoping to reap the benefits, Burns told the magazine.

"James Druck was in the business of setting fires and collecting insurance and then he got the idea to kill the horses," says Lester Munson, who co-wrote the piece with William Nack for SI. "He invented the extension cord as a killer of horses. He taught Tommy how to do it and the first victim was Henry the Hawk."

Burns, who served jail terms for insurance fraud and animal torture, could not be located for comment. James Druck, who was never charged, died before federal prosecutors indicted 23 people in the scandal in 1994.

Chicago FBI spokesman Ron Rice explained that the reason Druck was never charged for his role in arranging the electrocution of his daughter's prize horse was "because he was dead and because the statute of limitations had expired on that charge."

Druck's mother, Gwendolyn Ferrazzano, who divorced James Druck in 1982, declined comment.

By the late 1980s, Druck had moved to New York, where she hung out with a fast crowd, partying at the city's nightclubs.

"Things were crazy back then," friend Pigeon O'Brien told ABC News' Brian Ross. "There were crazy events that happened; there was drug taking, there was dancing, there were affairs, so it was a very crazy and some people lived, very, very much in the fast lane at that time."

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