It’s all the media scrutiny that broke up the romance of those two crazy kids in love. That’s Rielle Hunter’s take on why she and John Edwards (Johnny, as she calls him) broke up. Of course, she explained all on national television, going into detail on “The View” on Tuesday during her ABC media blitz; it started with “Good Morning America” with plans to finish up on “Nightline.”
There to plug her new book, “What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter, and Me,” Hunter said it was difficult to go out to restaurants and movies without facing prying eyes. She clearly enjoyed being the center of attention, though, and didn’t seem to mind the pointed questions of the women surrounding her on the couch. The New York show must have been a change of pace from Hunter’s Charlotte, N.C., home; we live in the same neighborhood but not the same planet.
Usual political foes Whoopi Goldberg and Elisabeth Hasselbeck were united in their obvious disgust with Hunter’s reasoning. "I hear everything you are saying, but in your book you trash a dead lady whose husband you had an affair and had a baby with," said Whoopi Goldberg. "Did it not occur to you that maybe that might not be the right tone to take?"
And when Hunter said joining in a bizarre road trip of denials and media-dodging with Edwards aide Andrew Young and family was the first time in her life she went down a road she knew was wrong, Hasselbeck did a double take before asking, the first time?
“I do see where people are coming from,” Hunter said, before shifting blame. “Their marriage was way off before I got there.” The women couldn’t quite contain the eye rolls when Hunter said, “I’m not a big believer in infidelity.” She said, “I became that to be with him.”
That left it to Joy Behar to ask about the sex tape, and Barbara Walters to take Hunter to task for what she said was the book’s mischaracterization of the veteran newswoman. No, Walters said, she did not scream at Hunter when a “spiritual reason” led her to give her first televised interview to Oprah Winfrey. “I’ve made people cry,” Walters said, “but never screamed.” Hunter kept her cool and said, “This is not the first time nor will it be the last that two people remember an event differently.” She said this while reaching over to touch Walters’ arm. (And no, Hunter didn’t pull back a nub.)
It would be farce if it weren’t for the children caught up in the drama. When asked, Hunter would not talk about daughter Quinn’s relationship with her siblings, John Edwards’ children with Elizabeth Edwards. After she claimed concern for their privacy as a reason, the question, “Will they mind what you said about their mother?” went unanswered.
As time ran out, she was busy telling the women looking at her with astonished disbelief how much she enjoyed her TV appearance. “I actually liked it,” she said. “I’d like to come back.” The smiling on-camera Rielle Hunter looked as though she got the thing she wanted -- even more than Johnny.
Mary C. Curtis, an award-winning multimedia journalist in Charlotte, N.C., has worked at The New York Times, Charlotte Observer and as national correspondent for Politics Daily. Follow her on Twitter: @mcurtisnc3