'I'm not just the cuckolded wife': Elizabeth Edwards hits the media circuit

The estranged wife of Senator John Edwards, the one-time presidential candidate, voiced the hope yesterday that one day she might again be on the public stage for reasons other being the "cuckolded wife".

Whether or not most Americans are sated with the slow disintegration of the life of Elizabeth Edwards is open to question. She apparently thinks not. Yesterday she appeared on NBC in the morning and CNN at night to talk about the piled-up miseries – and to promote the paperback version of her best-selling book, Resilience.

If turning off the television is more difficult than it should be, it is perhaps because this is the first time we have heard directly from Mrs Edwards since she announced in January that after 32 years of marriage she was leaving the senator, who spent part of his 2007-08 bid for the Democratic Party presidential nomination carrying on with a blonde videographer called Rielle Hunter. The scandal ended his campaign.

Mrs Edwards, who is suffering from stage-four breast cancer and now has tumours in her legs, skull and spine, said she keeps feelings of bitterness towards John at bay for the sake of their children, not least because it is him on "whom they are going to have to rely if my disease takes a bad turn". He is a "marvellous man", she went on, but "no longer the person I married".

Of her disease, she is switching to a new chemotherapy regime and is focus-ed, as she recounts in a new epilogue to her book, on having "eight more years" of life. Asked how she copes with the risk that may not happen, she said, "I don't let my head go to that place. You have to keep what you want in view always."

And she would like to get back to thinking about politics, if not actually competing in it. "I do still need to break through the media-imposed image. I'm not just the cuckolded wife. I hope the next time I'm on television, it's to talk about some policy I really care about."

Mrs Edwards is releasing the new epilogue and returning to the interview chair – she also spoke to People magazine this week – at a time when her image has taken a battering from two books, including one written by a former aide to her husband, Andrew Young, that depict her as cold and controlling. "It's not that he didn't have a good story to tell," she said of Young's memoir, The Politician. "But it's so filled with lies that I don't see it as having any bearing on the truth, particularly in respect to me."

She also spoke poignantly of seeing "that woman" – Rielle Hunter – being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey. "This person is so unlike me. It's hard to imagine the same person could marry me and be attracted to that woman as well."

The epilogue includes the admission that for months Mrs Edwards thought the liaison between them had only been a one-night stand. Even after she finally got the whole picture, it took her until December 2009 to walk away.

"Finally I realised we'd just come so far down this road I wasn't ever going to find a place where – I hate to talk about myself in the third person – Elizabeth existed anymore. I was going to be entirely reactive; I wanted to be present in the remainder of my life."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk