Over the weekend, the mainstream media was filled with self-flagellation over their staunch refusal to write about John Edwards’s rumored affair with Rielle Hunter for nearly a year after the story originally surfaced online and in the National Enquirer. But it turns out, when the floodgates opened on Friday after Edwards’s admission of the infidelity, journalists had a lot to say. Why? Because some of them knew Rielle. And they could have totally seen the whole thing coming, because she basically told them that she was going to have an affair with a rich and powerful man.
In Newsweek, writer Jonathan Darman recounts his experiences with the kooky Hunter, whom he covered early in the Edwards presidential campaign as she made documentary shorts about the candidate. “The first time I laid eyes on Rielle Hunter, I could tell she was a story,” he writes. “She was on a cramped commuter flight and she was flirting with a candidate for president of the United States.”
[She] began telling me her life story: how she was working as a documentary-film maker, living with a friend in South Orange, N.J., but how she’d previously had “many lives.” She’d worked, she said, as an actress and as a spiritual adviser. She was fiercely devoted to astrology and New Age spirituality. She’d been a New York party girl, she’d been married and divorced, she’d been a seeker and a teacher and was a firm believer in the power of truth.
She told me that she had met Edwards at a bar, at the Regency Hotel in New York. She thought he was giving off a special “energy.”
Hunter went on to develop a friendship with Darman, until the subject of their conversations turned to her relationship with Edwards, at which point she cooled to him. But she had already told him about how she believed John Edwards had “the power to change the world,” but his cancer-stricken wife, Elizabeth, “does not give off good energy. She didn’t make eye contact with me.” She also said she was working on a TV-show idea with her ex-boyfriend Jay McInerney about “women who help men get out of failing marriages by having affairs with them.”
In the Los Angeles Times, writer Sarah Miller has a similarly prescient encounter with Hunter. She describes an encounter at a friend’s house:
Rielle came bounding up to me. Her eyes weren’t just glowing. They were kind of spinning in her face. I am almost sure that she was not drunk: This was how she always looked.
Hunter also warned Miller of her plans, in a sideways fashion. “I am going to be famous. Rich and famous. I am going to meet a rich, powerful man,” she explained. When Miller asked her how she was going to go about doing that, Hunter assured her: “I’m going to manifest it.”
Well, when you put it that way, having an affair with a married man whose wife has incurable cancer almost does sound spiritual.