Elizabeth Edwards in exclusive Oprah Winfrey interview: I still love husband John Edwards, won't let affair define life

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Speaking for the first time since finding out about her husband's affair, Elizabeth Edwards said Monday she has no interest in finding out whether John Edwards fathered a child with another woman and that she still loves her husband.

"You asked your husband for one gift when you got married, what was that?" Winfrey asked Edwards during the interview taped from the family's North Carolina home.

"I wanted him to be faithful to me," Edwards explained. "It was enormously important to me."

Despite tabloid rumors claiming John Edwards did father a child with the unnamed woman he was having an affair with years ago, Elizabeth said she won't let that define her life -- or her marriage.

"This is the part where you have to concentrate on your own life. Whatever the facts are doesn't change my life in a sense," Edwards said.

In October 2007, The National Enquirer began a series of reports claiming John Edwards had an affair with a former campaign worker. In August 2008, Edwards admitted the affair in 2006 but denied being the father of the woman's child.

"Did you make the choice to work on this marriage because your husband is who he is -- meaning a politician and his career -- or did you make the decision because you were sick?" Winfrey asked.

"I don't think you get to do it twice so I don't have any idea. I'm certain being sick meant a number of things to me," Edwards said. "One is that my life is going to be less long and I didn't want to spend it fighting. But it also meant that I was reminded constantly of how supportive he had been and what a great husband he had been. I'm not going to let it define my life ... and I don't want it to define our marriage."

Asked whether she was still in love with her husband, Elizabeth said it's a complicated question, but that trust if a "very important part of love" and she wouldn't be there if she didn't love him.

"This is a really good man, who did a really bad thing," Edwards said. "If you take that piece out, I do have a perfect marriage."

Edwards spoke with Winfrey in an episode airing the day before her book "Resilience" -- which chronicles how she dealt with John Edwards' affair -- hits store shelves.

"I thinks he's probably as surprised at his behavior as I am in his behavior," Edwards said.
"No one is perfect. This is certainly a place I would have hoped for perfection, but no one's perfect."

Like many other women in her situation, Edwards said there was a time when she questioned what she had done to cause her husband's affair, but later realized it never was about her.

"I'm still angry and hurt and have a lot of self-doubt about who I was, what I meant to him," Edwards said.

At times, Edwards said she wanted to know every detail of her husband's affair to put the pieces of the puzzle together in her own way.

"Sometimes the detail was a detail I wanted to know because I was just curious," she said. "Sometimes the detail was because I thought that might be a window for me to try and understand."

John Edwards -- who was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008 -- said at the end of the interview there was a time when he believed his wife would leave him, and that the two are on the right path to healing their marriage.

"I didn't know what she would do," John Edwards said. "I don't think anyone knows when they go through something like this."

Winfrey will chronicle more of her interview with Edwards in the June edition of O: The Oprah Magazine.

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I have never been married before but been cheated on and it hurts no matter if your married or if you not. but, when your married it's a price to pay and with higher authority and that is GOD. Adultery is one of GOD commandments. I pray that if he means it that he stays true to her. People take your vows seriously. Appreciate what you have. The grass its not greener its prettier and when the winter come it's dead. Love the people you have in your life. Everyone has flaws and no one is perfect. But, except people for who they are not for what you want them to be. I hope that he has learned a lesson. Real love is hard to find. And when you have found it hold on to it.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Mark Bieganski published on May 7, 2009 11:58 AM.

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