Rielle Hunter Opens Up About Affair to Oprah Winfrey

John Edwards' mistress says she did not break up his marriage.

April 28, 2010 — -- Rielle Hunter spoke publicly about her affair with former presidential candidate John Edwards, telling Oprah Winfrey that his wife wanted Edwards to sit down for an interview with ABC News' Bob Woodruff, where he admitted the affair, when everyone else advised against it.

"Everyone who was close to, well, who knew all the facts and knew the truth said, 'Please, don't do that interview. Please don't do that interview,'" Hunter told Winfrey in an interview scheduled to air Thursday.

"[Elizabeth Edwards] really wanted him to do that interview," said Hunter, a one-time videographer for Edwards' presidential campaign. "She wanted him to say, 'You know, you've got to get out in front of it. You've got to, you know, say the truth and speak the truth,'" Hunter said.

But Elizabeth Edwards did not know the entire story, Hunter said.

"And she didn't know the truth. So it's like you can't do the interview and not speak the whole truth," Hunter told Winfrey.

"She didn't know until after the interview. He came clean with her after that interview."

Edwards admitted his affair during the August 2008 "Nightline" interview, calling it a "very serious mistake." But he denied having a child with Hunter, saying it was impossible "because of the timing of events."

A representative for John Edwards declined to comment for this story.

Why Is Hunter Speaking Out Now?

When asked why Hunter is speaking out now, Winfrey said that despite being told by many people to avoid the interview, Hunter believed she has been portrayed poorly and wanted to tell her side of the story.

Hunter Poses for GQ

Hunter posed for the pictures in GQ magazine last month wearing only a man's button-down, white shirt, a string of pearls and panties. She posed on a bed with stuffed animals piled around her in some of the photos. Her panties are exposed in one frame.

But Edwards' mistress said that she thought the photo spread in GQ would include headshots as well and not just sexy, body-baring photos.

"Rielle is a smart woman," GQ reporter Lisa DePaulo said. "She knows what she wore and what she was doing in the photo shoot."

A teary-eyed Hunter told ABC News' Barbara Walters last month that she was repulsed by the sight of the sexy photos and thought all but one would be headshots, Walters said.

But GQ released a video of the shoot to "GMA" and at one point the videographer asked Hunter, "You want to take a look at this?"

Click here to read the full GQ interview.

Hunter Poses for GQ

In the GQ interview, Hunter's first since her scandalous affair with Edwards exploded on headlines around the world in 2008, she said she believes her relationship with the former presidential candidate may be just beginning.

"We do love each other very much," Hunter told GQ magazine. "And that hasn't changed, and I believe that will be till death do us part. The love doesn't go away."

But former Edwards aide Andrew Young, who had at one time claimed paternity of the couple's child, told ABCNews.com last month that the interview with GQ only served to show the world that she has tapped into a well-paid "army of lawyers."

"I think all of us, we're all trying to find a way of reaching peace with what we've done," he said, before calling some of Hunter's claims in the article "ridiculous."

The public has skewered the former senator for cheating on his cancer-stricken wife and then denying his mistress' child, but Hunter insisted he is the epitome of truthfulness and humility.

"Everyone talks about how Johnny has fallen from grace," Hunter, 45, told the magazine. "In reality, he's fallen to grace."

Rielle Hunter: John Edwards Seemed to Hope for Abortion

Months into the couple's passionate affair, Hunter said that when she told Edwards she was pregnant with his child, he seemed to want her to have an abortion.

"He ... always said that he would support whatever decision I made," Hunter told GQ. "But I believe on some level he was hoping that I would get an abortion. Because he didn't -- he wasn't happy about the timing. Which is understandable. He was married and running for president."

Representatives for both John and Elizabeth Edwards told ABC News that they declined to comment on the GQ article.

The 10-page article, done at the rental home where Hunter lives with her and Edwards' 2-year-old daughter, Quinn, touches on her early days with Edwards, the frustration of watching him deny their child and what she says are gargantuan untruths told by Young.

"To me, it kind of confirms what a lot of people thought of Rielle," Young said of the GQ article. When pushed to clarify, he hedged. "That she's a little bit of a different type of person."

Young said it Hunter has taken liberties with the truth and that he has the voicemails and e-mails to corroborate his story. Among the claims at which Young took offense: Hunter's insistence that she had no idea that the amount of money being funneled to her through the Youngs by private benefactors topped $700,000.

"It's patently ridiculous for Rielle to say that she didn't know that money was coming in or this or that. We were living in a $20,000 a month house right down the road from Oprah Winfrey," Young said. "I mean, come 'on."

Rielle Hunter: Connection Was 'Magnetic'

He also blasted her version of events that led to Young's claiming paternity of Quinn. Young has maintained that the request came from John Edwards. But in the GQ article, Hunter claimed it was Young's suggestion, made while Hunter was on the phone with Edwards, who was livid about his visibly pregnant mistress being photographed by the National Enquirer.

"Yeah, I want to be the baby daddy," Young said sarcastically. "No, that's ridiculous."

Young also questioned the photo spread that accompanied the GQ article, something Hunter herself was said to be upset about.

Click here for complete coverage of the John Edwards scandal.

Hunter told GQ that she was not a mistress by nature, only a woman in love.

"It's a role that I took on because I fell in love with him," she said. "And that was the role that was available to me."

And unlike Edwards' relationship with his now-estranged wife, Elizabeth, "he's not afraid of me," Hunter said, classifying their marriage as toxic and "very abusive."

"It's interesting, though, that he allowed himself to be abused. You know, he's no victim," Hunter told GQ. "But I think it had to do with having the guilt of the double life, it allowed him to accept the abuse."

Edwards' fear of his wife was "huge," Hunter said.

"He could not go to his wife and say, 'We have an issue.' Because he would be pummeled," she said.

"Most of his mistakes or errors in judgment were because of his fear of the wrath of Elizabeth," she said. "He's allowed himself to be pushed into a lot of things that he wouldn't normally do because of Elizabeth's story line. And the spin that she wants to put out there. He was emasculated. And you know, the wrath of Elizabeth is a mighty wrath."

When asked if she felt bad for Elizabeth Edwards, Hunter told GQ that she has "such compassion for her," but that Elizabeth has an "unwillingness to take responsibility for her part in the marriage"

Hunter confirmed to GQ that the first words she said to the former senator were, "You're so hot" and said she slept with Edwards the first night they met.

She described their connection as "magnetic."

"And by the way, he is hot," she told the magazine. "He is not the two-dimensional geek that I thought he was, by any stretch of the imagination. He is hot."

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