Rielle Hunter wanted to 'help' Edwards

June 22, 2012 at 6:25 PM
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C., June 22 (UPI) -- Rielle Hunter, the former mistress of former U.S. Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., said she began their affair because she thought she "could help him."

Speaking with ABC News for the first time since Edwards' acquittal on charges he illegally used campaign funds to cover up his affair, Hunter said she initially accepted Edwards' invitation to his hotel room because she wanted to help him merge his public and private personas so he could present himself more genuinely.

"I went there because I believed I could help him," Hunter said.

"Something happened internally with me. I responded. ... I have not experienced it or felt what was happening before. Ever. An intensity like a rock concert. A lot of energy," she said.

That energy, Hunter told ABC, soon turned into something more.

"We could not get enough of each other on the telephone," Hunter said. "If we were not together, we would be talking on the phone about 4 hours every night. We couldn't hang up."

At the time of their affair, Edwards was campaigning for the 2008 presidential election and made appearances with his wife, Elizabeth, who died in 2010 of cancer.

"I was disgusted with myself for being in love with a man who was going on national TV with his wife -- and lying," Hunter said.

Hunter said the real victims of the scandal are her child, Quinn, 4, and Edwards' children with Elizabeth.

"I feel for both my daughter and for all the kids involved, the full truth needs to be in the public domain," she said. "Their father's not a demon and their mother's not a saint. And I'm not a home wrecker. We're real human beings. And there is a real dynamic that was going on, good and bad. And we all made mistakes."

Hunter's tell-all book, "What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter and Me," is set to be published June 26.

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