Elizabeth Edwards: Selling house, moving on

The Charlotte ObserverJuly 1, 2010 

In a flurry of interviews Wednesday, Elizabeth Edwards called the decision to leave her philandering husband "terrifying" but said she's planning to sell the couple's sprawling Chapel Hill house and move on with her life.

And Edwards told People magazine she had tried to hold her marriage together until just after Christmas, even buying lavender soap for her husband's 2-year-old love child to give to her mother, Rielle Hunter.

The interviews, including one with Larry King, coincided with the paperback release of her book "Resilience," originally published before she decided to separate from her husband John, the former Democratic U.S. senator and presidential candidate. The paperback version adds a chapter on the breakup.

Within hours of her "Today" show appearance, the book shot from 605th position on Amazon's bestseller list to 66.

Speaking to "Today" show's Matt Lauer, Edwards also said she has been hurt by public portrayals of her as someone who meddled or interfered with her husband's career.

"I never intended to be some monster," said Edwards, who turns 61 on Saturday.

Their marriage disintegrated after John Edwards admitted fathering a baby with Hunter, whom he met in 2006. Hunter now lives in Charlotte.

In interviews, Elizabeth Edwards also said:

She watched parts of Oprah Winfrey's televised interview with Hunter.

She and her husband are working to maintain a positive atmosphere for their three children. She told People that she, John, and their two youngest children will travel to Japan next month to visit areas where Elizabeth grew up as the daughter of a Navy pilot. "Of course the sleeping arrangements will be different," she said told the magazine, which hits newsstands Friday.

She's undergoing a new type of chemotherapy treatment to deal with her Stage 4 cancer but does not allow herself to worry too much about dying.

On "Today," Edwards said she struggled to keep her marriage going, thinking initially that her husband's relationship with Hunter was "a one-night stand." During the spring and summer of 2008, she said, she came to realize the affair was much more.

Reading from her book, she called the decision to split "a sad and terrifying decision.

"I'd been trying to reinvent the role of wife for the last two years, trying to find a place where I could be happy and still be John's wife despite his infidelity. Each day it seemed another piece of my history chipped away. ... There was no peace. And at the very end of 2009, I finally gave up trying."

She told Lauer she had "married a marvelous man."

"He changed over time," she said. "It was hard for me to see it or admit it for a very long time... He is no longer the person I married."

She said John Edwards served as an assistant coach of their young daughter's softball team this spring, and she talked with him at games. She said she still admires some things her husband stands for, and she wants her children to love him - in part because he might be their only parent if her cancer should claim her life.

As for Oprah Winfrey's interview with Hunter, Edwards said she did not watch the show when it first aired but later watched part of it.

"What did you think of her?" Lauer asked.

"I still think this person is so unlike me that it is hard to believe this other person (John Edwards) can be involved with a person like that," she replied.

She said she was hurt by published reports that she was difficult to get along with and interfered too much with her husband's presidential campaign in 2008. She dismissed criticism in a book published by former John Edwards aide Andrew Young as "so filled with lies that ... it has no bearing on reality with me."

In an excerpt from her book, she writes of thinking of her husband as he was during the early years of marriage and parenthood.

"So when I closed the door on the John of today, I also had to say goodbye to that sweet man whom I had loved for so long," she wrote. "It was not as easy as it might have seemed ... I have to wonder if he is sad, too, when he thinks of that young man."

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