Surprising few people — especially not the National Enquirer, which has been reporting this story for nearly two years now — former senator and presidential candidate John Edwards admitted that he was the father of Frances Quinn Hunter, the baby daughter of his former mistress Rielle Hunter. He released the following statement to the Today show:
I am Quinn’s father. I will do everything in my power to provide her with the love and support she deserves. I have been able to spend time with her during the past year and trust that future efforts to show her the love and affection she deserves can be done privately and in peace. It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter and hopefully one day, when she understands, she will forgive me. I have been providing financial support for Quinn and have reached an agreement with her mother to continue providing support in the future. To all those I have disappointed and hurt these words will never be enough, but I am truly sorry.
According to Edwards friend Harrison Hickman who talked with Today, Edwards is caring for his daughter “both financially and emotionally.” (Edwards himself didn’t speak, claiming he can’t because of an ongoing investigation into whether he improperly used campaign funds to carry on the affair.) Harrison didn’t defend Edwards’s previous lies about the paternity of the child, even though the former candidate knew from the beginning the baby was his. “It was a lot more complicated than most people think,” he said. “There are a lot of adults involved.” (Apparently there weren’t, it seems to us. Moving on.) Another significant lie that Edwards had been sticking to was the idea that he never slept with Hunter while his wife’s cancer was back. Quinn was conceived three months after Elizabeth’s cancer had returned and been pronounced terminal.
John and his wife are now separated, and Elizabeth is occupying herself with a furniture store she’s opened in North Carolina. She’s known about the true paternity of the baby since last summer, according to Today. Apparently she’d long been insisting that Edwards come clean about it. One of the many images we can’t get out of our head, though, is what she said to a friend before she knew, according to the new book Game Change by New York writer John Heilemann and Mark Halperin: “I have to believe [that he wasn’t the father],” Elizabeth said. “Because if I don’t, it means I’m married to a monster.”
Edwards Admits Fathering Child With Mistress [Today/MSNBC]
Related: An Excerpt From John Heilemann and Mark Halperin’s ‘Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime’ [NYM]