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Authors: Rielle Hunter

What Really Happened

BOOK: What Really Happened
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Rielle Hunter



Copyright © 2012 by Rielle Hunter

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.


BenBella Books, Inc.
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Suite #400
Dallas, TX 75231
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available for this title.

ISBN 978193756427

Editing by Erin Kelley
Copyediting by Lisa Miller
Proofreading by James Fraleigh
Cover design by Kit Sweeney
Text design and composition by John Reinhardt Book Design
E-book format by Erica Jennings/Jennings Design
Printed by Berryville Graphics

Distributed by Perseus Distribution

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Significant discounts for bulk sales are available.
Please contact Glenn Yeffeth at
[email protected]
or (214) 750-3628.

Frances Quinn
I love you most.



Sixty-First and Park

Becoming a Mistress

Falling in Love

Working Girl

And Away We Go

The Real Deal

The Leaves Are Changing

The End of the Year

One Night Only

On and On

The Circle of Life

Odd Timing

Yes, I Am

Knock, Knock

“She Even Denied She Was Rielle Hunter!”

Band on the Run

The End of Just Me

Changing Diapers, Changing Everything

The End of My Mistress Stint

She Is Not My Child

Goodbye, Santa Barbara

Jersey Girls

Father of the Year

The Last Chapter Before the Verdict



“The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of.”


Christmas and New Year’s Holiday, 2011. We are on Johnny’s basketball court—Quinn’s favorite indoor playground.


“Fame means millions of people have the wrong idea of who you are.”


LOT HAS BEEN SAID ABOUT ME, about John Edwards, and about our relationship. You may feel like you know the true story. You may even feel like you know me. But the truth is, you don’t.

There have been many lies told, many judgments made. Even Erica Jong, who from the quote above would seem to know better, said, “When you think of John Edwards being taken in by someone like Rielle Hunter, you think, what a child he must be, how infantile he must be!”

Apparently everyone is ready to judge me, to judge Johnny, and to judge our relationship. That’s okay. This book isn’t about changing anyone’s mind. It’s simply about telling the full truth, which, up until now, no one has heard.

At its heart, this is a love story. It’s about two people who fell in love, made terrible sacrifices for that love, and did terrible things in defense of that love. I have regrets about some of the things we did—of course I do. But I don’t regret loving Johnny and I certainly don’t regret the birth of our amazing daughter, Quinn.

I originally thought that I could get through this whole ordeal without needing to write a book. But in the summer of 2010, I finally grasped the full depth of the story and my role in it and I changed my mind.

I have endured a lot—a great deal of embarrassment, pain, and sadness beyond measure. The disrespect to my life and my privacy are still somewhat astonishing to me. This has not been an easy road to walk, but I’m not writing this book to garner sympathy.

I am writing this book because the truths of this story are not yet in the public domain. In reality, there are facts that even I didn’t become aware of until 2011. I’m hoping that by sharing the truth and my experiences, this book will shed some light on the untold side of the story.

Many people invested their hearts, their time, and their energy into the image of John and Elizabeth Edwards. While this image wasn’t exactly true, I did play a role in destroying this myth and many supporters ended up feeling hurt, betrayed, and disillusioned. I feel that I owe them the full story.

I also believe that I have a responsibility to Johnny and his entire family to offer the truth.

In addition to all of those reasons, I have a stronger, more personal force driving me to write this book. Her name is Frances Quinn. I want my sweet girl to have one entirely truthful public account of how she came into the world. After all, this is her history too.

I am not writing this book as a defense, but
everything in it I would repeat under oath.

It is the truth.

Our daughter deserves it.


Sixty-First and Park

“We must let go of the life we have planned so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”


DON’T LIKE TO THINK OF MYSELF as a stupid person but I have done a lot of things in my life that were just plain stupid. Snorting cocaine is stupid. Snorting cocaine for just under a decade, desperately attempting to recreate the euphoric high from the first line ever snorted, is so far beyond stupid it may even qualify as criminal. Fortunately, I recognized this in my twenties and stopped. I then began to devote a huge amount of my time and energy to spiritual growth. I know that sounds weird to most people and I’m not one of those gullible New Age–types who believes everything any swami says, but I have always been very attracted to the idea of happiness, self-improvement, and change, which in my youth seemed to be somewhat elusive. For many years I studied astrology, went to spiritual retreats, practiced transcendental meditation and much more. Even as I was drawn to these practices, I also was somewhat skeptical. If there were a joke to be found, I would find it. And yes, while there is a lot of silliness out there, I do sincerely believe there are also a lot of positive things to be learned.

On May 4
, 2004, it suddenly occurred to me that what I had been looking for all those years couldn’t come from someone or something else. I realized that I was the source of my own happiness. It was kind of like, if in forty years of life, you had never once seen your own reflection and then one day you just simply looked in the mirror. The realization was so simple yet so weird. I think of that day as the day I woke up and started living, because there was a fundamental shift that happened in my mind and my perspective changed. Overnight, I no longer had any ongoing internal wars. I still had negative emotional reactions, but instead of hanging on to those feelings, I moved to acceptance seamlessly. It took me about two years to adapt to this new way of operating and during that time, I felt extremely high, quite similar to a high from drugs but much better. Actually way better.

Johnny and I took Quinn to school together the day after her fourth birthday. Afterward, we were standing in the kitchen while I made coffee for myself (he doesn’t drink coffee). I asked him, “What attracted you to me that first night?” He responded, “Your lightness. When you walked into the room there was a lightness about you.”

When this “lightness” happened I (stupidly) assumed that I would do what countless others have done when “waking up” had happened to them—I would teach. I had emerged from more than a decade of intense spiritual study as a person who was committed to being as honest and authentic as I can be with myself and to helping others to the same. I also had a knack for being able to help people see where they were stuck, and what was keeping them from being happy. I’d been an actress, a producer, a filmmaker, and a writer. With my newfound “lightness” (accompanied with a few people asking me for guidance), teaching seemed the most logical thing for me to do next.

So on February 21
, 2006, I was in the process of becoming a spiritual teacher, or to put it in more traditional terms, a life coach.

BOOK: What Really Happened
3.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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