John Edwards' Mistress Rielle Hunter and Her Colorful World

Rielle Hunter, the colorful mistress at the center of the John Edwards case.

May 16, 2012, 4:53 PM

May 16, 2012— -- She had him at "You are so hot."

Not exactly the standard greeting for a former senator seeking the highest office in the country, but with that three-word come on, Rielle Hunter, a sometime videographer with a passion for astrology, bewitched John Edwards. The rest: the affair, the baby, the cover-up, is history.

Both the government and Edwards' defense lawyers long ago put Hunter -- described in the press as "kooky" and "New Agey" -- on their witness lists. The prosecution did not call her as a witness before resting its case. But now Hunter, known in part for being unpredictable, is listed as a possible witness today.

Despite that listing, it's not certain that Ewards' lawyer are any more willing than the prosecutors to put her on the stand.

So why is Hunter so often described as off-beat?

Before Hunter even got the chance to tell Edwards how "hot" he was, she spotted him across a crowded bar at the Regency Hotel in New York City. Keenly interested, she slipped her business card to campaign staffer Josh Brumberger. It was later reported the card read "Truth Seeker." Just so no one got the impression Hunter was going around handing out weird business cards, Rielle made a point to set the record straight. The card actually read, "Rielle Hunter: Being Is Free."

In April 2010, after the daughter she had with John Edwards turned 2, Hunter gave her first interview about the affair to GQ magazine. She depicted her affair with Edwards as a genuine love story, but the photos told a far more sultry story.

Wearing an unbuttoned men's dress shirt, Hunter bared her legs and midriff on a rumpled bed. Some of the photos included 2-year-old daughter Frances Quinn, while other photos included Hunter sexily posing amid Quinn's stuffed dolls, including Kermit the Frog, Barney, and Dora the Explorer.

Hunter later told ABC News' Barbara Walters she was "repulsed" by the photos and "cried for two hours" when she saw them.

Hunter was born in 1964 and named Lisa Jo Druck. She married Alexander Hunter in 1991 and took his last name, becoming Lisa Jo Hunter. In 1994, she legally changed her first name to Rielle.

But it doesn't stop there. On her daughter's birth certificate (which does not include the girl's father's name) Hunter used the alias Rielle Jaya James Druck.

While Hunter was receiving hush money from Edwards' donors, aide Andrew Young testified, she received an American Express credit card in the fake name Jaya James. She picked the name, she said, because it sounded like Jesse James, the famed Western outlaw. When the card arrived, it read "Randy Jaya James" and Hunter refused to use it. It was later reprinted "R. Jaya James."

Hunter makes no secret of an abiding sense of "spirituality" and belief in astrology. Hunter told GQ magazine she did not believe Edwards should run for president by announcing his candidacy in April 2007, almost a year after they met, because of a feeling she had borne of "intuition…and my small knowledge of astrology."

For much of Edwards' campaign and Hunter's pregnancy, she was hidden away from the press, staying in ritzy hotels around the country. Often if a room was not to her liking, she would complain of it not "having the right energy."

Hunter often consulted her New Age spiritual adviser Bob McGovern for advice and healing. McGovern not only accompanied Hunter to the hospital when she delivered Quinn, but was on call when she needed him following a breakdown at an Aspen, Colo., restaurant when the Reuben sandwich she ordered came with the wrong dressing.

Throughout much of Hunter's pregnancy, and afterwards, she lived with Edwards' aide Andrew Young and his wife Cheri. Together, they moved all over the country to avoid nosey reporters. After Hunter gave birth to Quinn, Young initially claimed he was the girl's father to protect his boss.

In sworn testimony Cheri Young described the first day Hunter came to move in with them. Hunter walked into their North Carolina home, "took a spin and opened her arms out and said, 'I'm here!'"

Things, Cheri said, "grew tense pretty quickly" with Hunter around the house, especially after she delivered the baby.

"We couldn't touch the baby," Cheri said adding that the Young's two small children "weren't allowed to be close enough where they could breathe on the baby."

Following reports that Edwards had an affair, the campaign went into crisis mode. Edwards denied the affair and his campaign urged Hunter to make a statement corrobarating Edwards. According to testimony by Christina Reynolds, the campaign's research director, Hunter had to be stopped from telling reporters she had been "abducted by aliens."