Politics & Government

Elizabeth Edwards: I threw up when John confessed affair

Elizabeth Edwards and her husband, democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards, during a campaign stop in Ames, Iowa, on Tuesday January 1, 2008.
Elizabeth Edwards and her husband, democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards, during a campaign stop in Ames, Iowa, on Tuesday January 1, 2008. Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT

Elizabeth Edwards said she became physically ill when her husband, Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, told her he was having an affair.

"I cried and screamed. I went to the bathroom and threw up," Edwards says in her new memoir.

Elizabeth Edwards, 59, who lives outside Chapel Hill, writes that John Edwards told her of his affair with campaign videographer Rielle Hunter shortly after he announced his second run for the presidency in December 2006 in New Orleans.

Elizabeth Edwards writes that she wanted her husband to quit the presidential race to protect the family. She writes that later events proved her right.

"He should not have run," she wrote.

But despite anger over the affair, Elizabeth Edwards stood by her man — even though she harbored a secret that could have derailed the Democrat’s chances of winning the White House if her husband had won the nomination.

When she revealed three months later, in March 2007, that her breast cancer had spread, Elizabeth Edwards stood beside her husband outside the Carolina Inn and said she encouraged him to press on with his second run for the presidency.

At the time, Edwards said he would have withdrawn from the presidential race if his wife wanted.

But as Elizabeth Edwards later explained: "That would be my legacy wouldn't it? ... That I'd taken out this fine man from the possibility of giving a great service."

The memoir, called "Resilience" is scheduled to be published May 12 by Broadway Books. The New York Daily News first reported the memoir's contents Thursday.

The book will be Elizabeth Edwards' first substantive account of her husband’s affair since Edwards admitted last summer that he had a tryst with former campaign worker Rielle Hunter.

Elizabeth Edwards is scheduled to appear May 11th on the Oprah Winfrey’s nationally televised talk show to discuss her book.

John Edwards, a former North Carolina senator and the Democrat's vice presidential nominee in 2004, had denied the affair. But last summer — nearly six months after he withdrew from the presidential race after his campaign failed to gain the necessary traction — he admitted the affair on an ABC news program.

His admission came after The National Enquirer, a supermarket tabloid, reported that Edwards had fathered a child with Hunter. Edwards has denied that he is the father. Elizabeth Edwards does not address the paternity question in her book, according The Daily News.

She writes that Hunter had met Edwards outside of a New York hotel and told him: "You're so hot."

The campaign later paid Hunter, now 45, $114,000 to produce campaign videos showing Edwards during informal moments on the campaign trail. One of Edwards' leading campaign money raisers, the late Texas attorney Fred Baron, later acknowledged helping Hunter financially resettle in California.

Elizabeth Edwards calls Hunter "pathetic."

She writes that when Edwards told her of the affair, he initially said he had only slipped once — hiding the extent of his affair. She writes her husband's initial confession "left most of the truth out."

During the final months of Edwards' presidential quest, Elizabeth Edwards was conspicuously absent from the campaign trail.

Elizabeth Edwards expresses forgiveness for her husband and the father of their four children.

"I lie in bed, circles under my eyes, my sparse hair sticking in too many directions and he looks at me as if I am the most beautiful woman he has ever seen," she writes. "It matters."

Neither Elizabeth or John Edwards were available for comment.