In an interview with ABCs 20 / 20, Rielle Hunter says she felt an immediate attraction to John Edwards, the former N.C. senator who ran for president, when they met in 2006 in New York.
She says she went to his hotel room because she believed she could help him make his public image more genuine, in excerpts provided by the network in advance of the airing at 10 p.m. Friday (Channel 9).
From the outside world looking in, its like, Boy, did you sure help him, she tells co-anchor Chris Cuomo in an interview taped in Charlotte.
When Edwards invited her to sit on his bed, she says, she became excited in a way shed never felt before.
Something happened internally with me. I responded ... I have not experienced it or felt what was happening before. Ever. An intensity like a rock concert. A lot of energy, she says.
Edwards and Hunter began an affair. In February 2008, a month after Edwards dropped out of the presidential race, their daughter was born.
Hunter says even when they were apart, they would still spend hours talking each day.
We could not get enough of each other on the telephone, she tells Cuomo. If we were not together, we would be talking on the phone about four hours every night. We couldnt hang up.
In a book being released next week, What Really Happened, Hunter says that Edwards relationship with his wife Elizabeth was already strained when the affair began. Their marriage was ruined before I got there, she tells Cuomo. Years before I got there.
Elizabeth Edwards died of cancer in 2010.
I have a great deal of compassion and empathy for her suffering, Hunter tells Cuomo. And I have no desire to bash Elizabeth. Elizabeth is the mother to my daughters siblings. And she is, indirectly, now my family.
Hunter says she was shattered when John Edwards went on Nightline in 2009 and denied that he was the father of their daughter, Quinn, now 4.
What it meant, though, to me, is that he was temporarily insane. I mean, he had really gone off the deep end a bit there, but it was painful to witness.