Rielle Hunter Breaks Her Silence

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Photo: Patrick McMullan

Now that John Edwards has separated from his wife Elizabeth, apparently the gag order on mistress Rielle Hunter has been lifted. The New Age guru turned presidential-candidate mistress has an exhaustive interview published on the GQ website this morning, and for a 10,000-word interview with someone who is not a criminal, world leader, or Angelina Jolie, it’s pretty interesting. Writer Lisa DePaulo asks all the questions you’ve wanted to ask (if you’re the kind of rubbernecker who has been watching the slow implosion of John Edwards’s life and has been curious about the physics of it all) and gets what seem like honest answers. For the most part.

Here are some highlights from Hunter’s first public interview since it was revealed she had an affair with Edwards (who she calls her “Johnny”):

On their love at first sight: I had never experienced anything like what was flowing between us. I sat on the other side of the room. I wouldn't go near him. And he kept saying [she mimics his southern drawl], "What are you doin' over there? Come over here. I can't even see you. Come closer. I won't bite you." I was just — there was sooo much attraction and sooo much … I want to say love, but it wasn't love at that point. You know, it was just this, this magnetic force field like I had never experienced. It terrified me … But once again, the force field of our love overrode any issues that would arise from my belief systems about, you know, "It should be going different than it is. He should be behaving differently than he is."

On why, after having been kept silent by whatever agreement she had with Edwards (who is paying her), she can speak now: I feel comfortable talking now, because Johnny went public and made a statement admitting paternity. I didn't feel like I could ever speak until he did that. Because had I spoken, I would have emasculated him. And I could not emasculate him. Also, it is not my desire to teach my daughter that when Mommy's upset with Daddy, you take matters into your own hands and fix Daddy's mistakes. Which I view as one of the biggest problems in all female-and-male relationships.

On herself: I never "hit on" Johnny. I'm not a predator, I'm not a gold digger, I'm not the stalker.

On whether Edwards’s life is ruined: You know, it's so fascinating to me how people perceive things. Everyone talks about how Johnny has fallen from grace. In reality, he's fallen to grace … I said I could help him. Which I really believed I could. And quite frankly — well, depending on your perspective, I really have.

On Elizabeth: Most of his mistakes or errors in judgment were because of his fear of the wrath of Elizabeth. 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 … Oh, my God, I have such compassion for her. I really do.

On the National Enquirer discovering their affair: That changed our relationship. It changed him; it changed everything. And my stint as a mistress ended. And I was and am happy about that. [Laughs.]

On the story that Edwards told her he would marry her on a roof with Dave Matthews playing: It astonishes me. The story is good enough without all the lies.

Hello, America, My Name Is Rielle Hunter [GQ]
Related: Read the portions of Game Change that involve Hunter and Edwards [NYM]