Rielle Hunter says she took a liking to Charlotte the moment she arrived its tree-lined streets seemed like a nice place to raise a child, she says in her book due out next week, and she came to find her new neighbors on Park Road not only sympathetic, but even helpful allies in shooing away reporters.
Hunter will appear on ABCs 20/20 Friday (10 p.m., Channel 9) in her first broadcast interview since John Edwards federal case ended in a mistrial.
Her appearance is part of a publicity blitz for her book, What Really Happened, which will be released June 26 by BenBella Books. A copy of the book, which details her relationship with the former North Carolina senator and presidential candidate, was obtained by the Observer on Thursday.
In it, she tells of living a vagabond life after news of her affair with Edwards first surfaced in the National Enquirer in 2007. She went to coast-to-coast with their daughter, Quinn, often running short of money.
Hunter says that in 2009, Edwards decided she should move to North Carolina. But by then, Edwards wife, Elizabeth, knew about their relationship and insisted on managing the details of Hunters new home.
Hunters home search began in Wilmington, where in three days she found a house she liked, only to have the choice vetoed.
My lawyer told me that Elizabeth needed to pick where we lived, Hunter writes in the book. And Im sorry, but how crazy is it that Elizabeth had gone out house hunting for a child that she wouldnt allow her husband to furnish with health insurance or publicly acknowledge as his own child?
As Hunter ran low on money and Elizabeth Edwards couldnt decide on a place for her to live, she got an email from what she calls Team Edwards John and Elizabeth and their attorneys with a link to a rental property in Southport. She and her daughter lived there for a month, then headed to Charlotte to check out property.
Hunter was ready to move into a house on Providence Road that the Edwardses had arranged to buy when her lawyer was informed shed first have to sign a child-support agreement.
One of their demands was to charge me rent on the house they had just bought for Quinn. The rent was to be taken out of the child support, which would have left us with basically no money.
Hunter took a rental home on Park Road.
Hiding on camera day
Edwards and Hunter began their affair after meeting at a bar in New York in 2006. He hired her as a temporary videographer for his presidential campaign, which sputtered to a close after he finished third in the South Carolina primary in January 2008, a month before Quinn was born. When Edwards was indicted in June 2011 on federal campaign finance charges related to $900,000 in contributions spent to hide Hunter and Quinn, there was a new surge of attention, the book says. When reporters knocked on the door, Hunter, Quinn and the girls babysitter hunkered down in the house.
I informed Quinn that it was a camera day, which in our house means no going outside! Quinn was fine with that. It was too hot anyway.
Wary of showing her face, Hunter says she got a neighbor to ask the media to leave. He was so sweet and protective of us. He sometimes rang my cell to alert me, Just wanted you to be aware, in case you havent seen them, you have visitors parked outside your house.
Edwards called morning of the indictment. As I was talking to him, I heard loud aggressive banging on my front door. I looked down from the upstairs window and saw the top of a curly head of hair. Ive got Jim Morrill knocking on my door. Right now. Hes pounding away like he owns the place. How scary is it that I can identify Jim Morrill, a political reporter from The Charlotte Observer whom I have never met, by spotting the top of his head?
Ive got helicopters circling my house, Johnny said.
At odds with Elizabeth
Before her death in 2010, Elizabeth Edwards vented her fury about the affair by sending emails, calling Hunter and withholding financial support, Hunter says in the book.
Whatever Elizabeths feelings were about me, the law states that Quinn deserves the same as what her siblings are receiving from their father. And yet, thanks to Elizabeth, that wasnt even close to happening. What was going on for Quinn every month was a fight for the small amount of money that was being sent. One month we had no money; my lawyer gave us a thousand dollars out of his own pocket so we could eat.
Hunter and Edwards split multiple times and later reconciled, she says in the book. They were together at Figure Eight Island this month, and their long-term prospects are unknown amid family complications.
In Fridays 20/20 interview, she says Quinn and the Edwards children need to recognize the complexity of the situation. The full truth needs to be in the public domain, she says in a segment of the show made available by ABC in advance of the broadcast.
Their father is not a demon and their mother is not a saint, and I am not a home-wrecker. We are real human beings and there was a real dynamic that was going on good and bad and we all made mistakes.