Love child and mistress claims hit Edwards

Fresh allegations of cheating on his sick wife rock former White House hopeful

John Edwards was fighting for his political future yesterday as America's mainstream media began reporting a colourful scandal involving his alleged mistress, a disputed "secret love child", and an altercation at a Beverly Hills hotel in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The married former Democratic presidential candidate, who is among leading contenders to be Barack Obama's running mate, saw his private life given more attention than he would like when Fox News claimed to have "independently verified" details of last week's National Enquirer story headlined: "John Edwards caught with mistress and love child." Reporters from the supermarket tabloid had confronted Mr Edwards at 2.40am on Tuesday in the corridors of the Beverly Hilton, as he was leaving the bedroom of Rielle Hunter, a divorcee whom he was rumoured to have made pregnant last year.

Amid scenes more suited to a Benny Hill sketch than the corridors of a luxury hotel, two journalists and a photographer chased Mr Edwards – whose wife Elizabeth is battling incurable cancer – around the building for several minutes. He eventually went to ground in the men's lavatory for a quarter of an hour, before being escorted from the premises by security staff.

The incident was reported in lurid detail by The Enquirer, and followed up in dozens of America's influential political blogs and news websites, which claimed that Mr Edwards and Ms Hunter were filmed entering the hotel room at 9.30pm.

The country's upmarket newspapers and major broadcasters refused to investigate The National Enquirer's claims. Tony Pierce, the editor of The Los Angeles Times, went so far as to order staff "not to cover the rumours or salacious speculations". Its unofficial blackout appeared to be holding firm until Friday night, when the presenters of Fox's 9pm talk show, Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes, ran a report that confirmed several major details of the Beverly Hilton incident, and asked: "Why were the reporters chasing Edwards, and why is this story nowhere in the mainstream media?"

Mr Hannity said: "I'm a family values guy, and [Edwards'] wife is sick and we wish her all the best. But I wonder if you think there would be a double standard if he were a Republican."

Rumours of the alleged affair have been doing the rounds of Washington for months. In October, Mr Edwards was forced publicly to deny a different Enquirer story, which claimed that Ms Hunter was six months pregnant with his child. "It's completely untrue. Ridiculous," he said. "I've been in love with the same woman for 30-plus years, and as anyone who has been around us knows, she's an extraordinary human being: warm, loving, beautiful, sexy and as good a person as I've ever known."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • 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: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own