Elizabeth Edwards Calls Husband's Mistress 'Pathetic'

The book's release has been moved up to next week because of leaks.

May 1, 2009 — -- In a new memoir, Elizabeth Edwards lashes out at Rielle Hunter, the woman with whom her husband had an affair. She calls Hunter's life "pathetic," and she also says her husband, former South Carolina Sen. John Edwards, should not have entered the 2008 presidential race.

Elizabeth Edwards has barely been seen publicly since last summer, when news of the affair broke, but that will soon change.

Her book, titled "Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts Facing Life's Adversities," was originally due to hit shelves May 12. But the publisher, Broadway Books, has moved up the release date to next week, because excerpts have been leaked to the press.

Edwards is scheduled to appear on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" Thursday to talk about the book and how she is doing physically after her bout with breast cancer.

In the book, Edwards reveals that she vomited when her husband first told her about the affair in December 2006, days after he announced his presidential candidacy.

"I cried and screamed, I went to the bathroom and threw up," Edwards writes, according to the New York Daily News, which obtained an advance copy of the book.

According to the Daily News, Edwards suggested that Hunter, a video producer who worked for her husband's campaign, seduced John Edwards with the pickup line, "You're so hot."

Edwards apparently does not address the issue of whofathered Hunter's now 1-year-old daughter. John Edwards has said both he and Elizabeth know that he is not the father. Hunter, now 45, was paid $114,000 for producing a batch of short films for the campaign.

John Edwards first publicly admitted the affair in an August 2008 interview with ABC News' Bob Woodruff.

"It was a huge judgment, mistake in judgment. But yeah, I didn't think anyone would ever know about it. I didn't," Edwards said in the interview.

He also described coming clean to his wife. "She had to know it, and it was painful for her. Hard and painful for her, but she responded exactly like the kind of woman she is. And then she forgave me and we went to work on it."

Elizabeth Edwards' account, however, is a little messier. She says in the book that when her husband first admitted the adultery he "left most of the truth out," and said it was a one-time fling.

'He Should Not Have Run'

Even when she knew the full truth, Edwards threw herself behind her husband's campaign. When her breast cancer returned in March 2007, she urged him to continue his run.

"One of the reasons that it's important, from my perspective, to move forward with this is that I'm immensely proud of John's campaign," she said at the time.

Lagging behind Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, John Edwards dropped out of the Democratic race in January 2008.

Edwards writes in the book that she had initially wanted her husband to quit the race, because she was afraid the affair would raise destructive questions for her family, according to the Daily News.

"He should not have run," she writes.

Had John Edwards not run, some political strategists say that could have changed the outcome of the primary.

"If he had come out and dropped out of the race particularly early, I think a lot of voters would have taken a good fresh look at Hillary Clinton. Remember, they supported Edwards because they thought he was honest and trustworthy," said Mark Penn, a Democratic strategist who worked on Clinton's campaign.

The couple were always thought to have a very strong marriage. In a rare interview with the Detroit Free Press last fall, Elizabeth Edwards said the idea that they were a perfect couple was a myth.

"There is no perfection out there," she told the newspaper.

But the couple has weathered her two bouts with cancer and the 1996 death of their son, Wade, and also, it seems, the affair.

"I lie in bed, circles under my eyes, my sparse hair sticking in too many directions," Edwards writes in the book. "And he looks at me as if I am the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. It matters."