Rielle Hunter’s new memoir of her life as John Edwards’s on-again mistress — whoops, off-again, she told “Good Morning America” today — does not offer much news. Nor, buyer be warned, much sex: Things have a way of fading discreetly to black. (“He led me to the most extraordinary night of my life. There was a lot of talk, a lot of laughter, and zero sleep.”) But for those still fascinated/horrified/angry/perplexed by the Edwards affair and wanting more, we scoured an early copy of “What Really Happened,” released today and found some highlights.
Sleazy new outrages:
• Weeks after they first hooked up in 2006, Edwards arranged for Hunter to show up at a mall where he was shopping with his young kids so she could meet them.
• He brought her to his family’s Georgetown home, “but we didn’t stay in the master bedroom. I thought that would be way too weird.”
Surprise moments of self-awareness:
• “The problem with our relationship is pretty obvious: someone who is living a life devoted to spiritual truth is probably not going to be the best mistress. ... I never read any mistress handbooks, and therefore didn’t realize how important it is ... to keep your mouth shut!”
Plausible psychological insight:
• “John Edwards ... believed what people were saying to be true, because he wanted it to be true. ... He really believed he was the savior, the golden boy for the Democratic party. People told him that all day long. His wife. People he paid. People he met on the street.”
• Edwards’s “lying about women” wasn’t malicious, “it’s actually very understandable behavior from a passive-aggressive man ... that never learned how to express his feelings.”
• That sex tape was his idea, when they were both “sleep-deprived” on an overseas trip, and she was not pregnant when they filmed it, and anyone who says she looked pregnant is lying.
Passive-aggressive score settling:
• Hunter recalls how Andrew Young, who later trashed her in his book, once “got very vocal about how he was not interested in going home. Apparently his wife was very b-----.”
• Hunter reprints lengthy suck-up e-mails from then-Newsweek reporter Jonathan Darman, who she believes later burned her in a story.
• Hunter mocks the 27-year-old campaign staffer Josh Brumberger who got fired after he raised concerns about the affair: “Did Josh really think that he would be the chosen one?”
• In summer 2007, “I saw Johnny for two nights and he had never been sweeter to me. I remember thinking, ‘Wow, he should renew his vows more often!’”
• After their affair was revealed, Edwards told her that Hillary Clinton made a point of telling him that she had nothing to do with the National Enquirer publishing its story. Hunter’s reaction: “All I could think was: Hillary Clinton knows my name?”
• After reconnecting with Edwards when he separated from his wife (evidenced by many, many recent photos of them as a family group with daughter Quinn, now 4), Hunter was frustrated that they couldn’t recapture their old spark. “I began requesting couples therapy. .... I was met with many ‘maybe, if I don’t get indicted’-type responses.” So she broke up with him. After he mended his ways, she agreed to take him back — a full 24 hours later.
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