Rielle Hunter‘s affair with former Senator John Edwards has gripped audiences across the nation for years, but after weathering the storms caused by infidelity, lies, and the untimely death of Edwards’ wife, the scandalous pair have finally split.
“It’s very painful and I have mixed emotions,” Hunter told the hosts of “The View” Tuesday of the decision to end their relationship last week. “I think that when people break up, both sides come to the table with things to break up over. So we both agreed that it’s best for us at this time.”
While Barbara Walters grilled Hunter on whether or not her tell-all book, What Really Happened, played a part in the split, Hunter denied that her openness about their controversial affair drove a wedge between her and Edwards.
“I don’t want to hide our relationship anymore and it’s very hard under all the media scrutiny and the complications with the family,” explained Hunter. “Our relationship is very complicated and hard, and for me, it’s taken a toll.”
Despite her legacy as one of America’s most notorious political mistresses, Hunter told the hosts, “I’m not a mistress, I’m a mom, and I don’t want to hide… I believe that the problems in [the Edwards'] marriage… helped him to find another way.”
“I don’t think it’s right to do that,” added Hunter. “I’m not a big believer in infidelity.”
That didn’t stop fired up co-host Whoopi Goldberg from going after Hunter for insensitive remarks she made in the memoir about her ex-lover’s late wife — like calling Elizabeth Edwards, who died of breast cancer in 2010, a “witch on wheels.”
“In your book, you trash a dead lady whose husband you had an affair and a baby with,” replied an exasperated Goldberg. “Did it not occur to you that maybe that might not be the right tone to take, particularly if you’re trying to get people to see you as part of this new couple? It’s kind of a crappy thing to do.”
“Right now, their personas are of Elizabeth being a saint and John Edwards being a demon, and me as a homewrecker, and those aren’t true personas,” answered Hunter.
“I wrote the book to tell the truth. I was truthful about their dynamic,” she said.
“You had unprotected sex with a married man and had a baby, and then allowed people to pretend it wasn’t happening. You put an entire nation in a very awkward position,” said Goldberg.
While her relationship with Edwards has brought her a lifetime’s worth of negative attention, the former film producer did not seem to regret her decisions. “I still love him and we have a wonderful, wonderful child because of it,” Hunter said (their daughter Quinn is now 4).
“You know, other women have had affairs,” said Walters, in a lighthearted attempt to ease the tension Hunter’s presence appeared to have caused. “Where do you go from here? Who supports you? How do you live?”
“I have a book now!” exclaimed Hunter, just before her tone turned somber. “I really don’t know. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”