Anthony Weiner Says Wife Huma Abedin Will Stay, But Will She?

A private Huma Abedin still at work at the State Department.

June 6, 2011, 2:53 PM

June 7, 2011— -- Confessions from New York Rep. Anthony Weiner that he lied about sexting photos to a Seattle woman and at least five others over the past three years have shaken his barely 11-month marriage to Huma Abedin.

Weiner's wife has kept quiet and out of the public eye, and put her head down at the State Department, where she is a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

In fact, Abedin will be on a plane bound for Africa with Clinton Wednesday evening, officials told ABC News' Claire Shipman. The officials said Abedin's been working non-stop since the scandal broke, and "hasn't missed a beat." They added that "she is committed to her marriage," and that "they love each other."

Abedin, 34, has endured humiliating headlines in The New York Post -- "ballooning scandal," "Hide the Weiner" and "What a Weenie" -- after word got out that 21-year-old Gennette Cordova received the now-infamous photo of a man's crotch from the congressman's Twitter account.

In a tear-stained, half-hour press conference Monday, the Democratic congressman said his wife would stand by him, despite the week-old scandal.

"We have no intention of splitting over this," said Weiner, 46, who added he will not resign from the House. "We will weather this. I love her. She loves me."

He said that he had told his wife about sexting with women before their marriage, but not about recent activities online, including one with single mom Meagan Broussard that began in April of this year.

Weiner said he has never met these women in person and has not had sex outside marriage.

The congressman said Abedin only learned the truth Monday when he told her about the sexting. She didn't show up for the press conference.

"Anybody who is so imprudent to do any of this, is mind-boggling to me," wrote Roxanne Roberts about the affair in the gossip column, "The Reliable Source," which she co-authors for the Washington Post. "From a purely practical standpoint -- what was he thinking?" made calls to both Weiner and Abedin that were not returned.

The couple -- with some irony noted by pundits -- was married last July by former President Bill Clinton, who was impeached by the House of Representatives in 1998 over an affair with Monica Lewinsky.

When he officiated at the Long Island ceremony, Bill Clinton reportedly toasted Abedin, saying she was like a daughter to him.

Hillary Clinton weathered the same public humiliation when her husband was unfaithful with a White House intern, yet chose to stand by her man.

"The thought did cross into my mind -- 'Who is the person most upset about these circumstances?' -- and I am guessing it's probably a tie," said Roberts. "I bet it's both these women."

"[Abedin] has been extremely private about her longtime relationship working for Hillary Clinton," she said. "She has established a reputation for someone completely loyal and utterly discreet."

Whether she takes the Clinton's path or ultimately leaves Weiner is anyone's guess.

"I would never even attempt to speculate," said Roberts. "Nobody knows much about her emotional life or how she will likely process this. It all goes back to the old dictum -- you can't know what a marriage is like by just looking in."

Abedin began her career in 1996 as a White House intern, then later served as Hillary Clinton's traveling chief of staff and "body woman" during her 2008 presidential campaign.

Born in Kalamazoo, Mich., she was the daughter of an Iranian scholar of Indian descent and Pakistani mother who is a sociology professor in Saudi Arabia, where she was raised. She came to the United States to attend George Washington University.

Huma Abedin Featured in Vogue

Strikingly beautiful, her only foray into the public eye was cooperating with a 2007 feature in Vogue magazine. During the interview she told the magazine that she "grew up in a very traditional family, but there was never anything I didn't think I could do."

"I remember going with my parents to weddings where the women would arrive covered in black veils, but underneath they'd be wearing the most exquisite brightly colored Dolce & Gabbana suits," said Abedin. "They were like peacocks showing off their tails."

Fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, who is a friend of both Hillary Clinton and Abedin, called both women "workaholics."

He described Abedin as "an unbelievably feminine and gentle person, but at the same time she can accomplish so much."

He also noted that as a practicing Muslim and Arabic speaker, "she's very conservative."

Actress Mary Steenburgen, a longtime friend of the secretary of state, said in the same article that the two women's relationship was "more like an older sister-younger sister."

Weiner was described in a 2007 New York Observer article as "a swingingly single Brooklyn Democrat." In that same article he described Abedin's ability to hold up under pressure, "preternaturally."

"This notion that Senator Clinton is a cool customer -- I mean, I don't dispute it, but the coolest customer in that whole operation is Huma," he said. "In fact, I think there's some dispute as to whether Huma's actually human or not."

Press reports have called Abedin, "unflappable," but that may not still be the case.

"He's in deep, deep trouble," said Judy Kuriansky, a psychologist who specializes in relationships and teaches at Teachers College, Columbia University.

"This is really horrendous -- this puts her in an extremely compromised position," said Kuriansky. "Whatever she decides to do, I believe she is consulting with Hillary."

"To my mind, psychologically, she has other people to please and this happens with other wives," she said. "You must take that into account."

Unlike the Clintons, who have a daughter Chelsea, the Weiners have no children, which may shape Abedin's ultimate decision, according to Kuriansky.

"Whether there are children involved and the length of the marriage, those are the really big ones," she said. "There is the real world and the economic bargain. But I don't think that's a problem here. She has her own life and has her own career and money."

Kuriansky, like Roberts, is shocked that Weiner and so many other notable male politicians have risked their political futures for sex -- virtual or otherwise.

"We could go on and on, we have seen this many times before," said Kuriansky. "It's the same thing for all of them. They are high-energy people. They direct it erroneously into the sexual area and should direct it somewhere else. You saw it in JFK and Jefferson -- they feel privileged or they get away with it and think they are above the law."

Eliot Spitzer, another New York Democrat, resigned as New York governor in 2008 after being caught cavorting with New Jersey prostitute Ashley Dupre. He is now a news commentator for CNN.

Monday night, just after the scandal broke open, Spitzer interviewed political pundits, openly disclosing to the TV audience his own sordid affair.

"Not only do they get away with it, they get higher in their careers," said Kuriansky. "People forgive and forget and go on. It's the same with rock stars and celebrities. They are allowed. As Americans we make a big to-do, then we give them a pass."

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