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John Edwards Mistress Rielle Hunter Speaks: "I Love Johnny"

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

Rielle Hunter -- the mistress of former Presidential candidate John Edwards and mother of his love child -- has finally spoken out. She remained silent for more than two years as controversy swirled around her. But now she gave a long interview to GQ magazine about her relationship with Edwards.

A copy of the 10,000 word Q&A was first obtained by The Washington Post. It was later posted on GQ's website. The first thing Hunter wanted to make clear was that she was not being paid for the interview:

"I could have cashed out big. But that's not what I'm about. I love Johnny and I love my daughter more than anything in the world, and I don't want to ever do anything to hurt them or hurt their relationship."

The Washington Post reports one interesting twist about the interview -- it was conducted by Lisa DePaulo, who was briefly hired by former Edwards confidant Andrew Young as a ghostwriter for his book that trashed Hunter. That relationship was not revealed in the GQ article. DePaulo told The Post it did not effect the Hunter interview.

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Hunter had some harsh words for Young. The Post writes:

Hunter takes aim at Young, who wrote in his book that he was pushed by Edwards to falsely claim paternity once the National Enquirer began sniffing around the story. Instead, Hunter insists to DePaulo, Young suggested the coverup himself. "I believe he loved Johnny more than he loved [his wife] Cheri," she says -- but also suggests that the Young family profited from the situation.

Hunter said it was Young who began directing money from wealthy donors to Hunter.

"Andrew would put $5,000 a month into my bank account. One month it was $6,000. He told me it was on the up-and-up and it was a gift. I had no idea where it was coming from."

An investigation is ongoing into whether Hunter was illegally paid with campaign contributions. Officially, she was paid for doing video work for Edwards' campaign.

In talk The Post describes as "New Agey," she talks about the public perception of Edwards:

"You know, it's so fascinating to me how people perceive things. Everyone talks about how Johnny has fallen from grace. In reality, he's fallen to grace. He is integrated. He is living a life of truth. He has grown in awareness and humility. He had all these things within him, but they weren't the guiding, leading principles of his life. Now they are."

She also talks about the public perception that she is a bit of a loon:

"Kooky. I think that I can give someone kooky, you know? I'm not conventional, I don't fit into a box. But I am grounded. Don't mistake… I am very grounded. People also say I'm crazy. And there's no crazy about me. At all. It's so fascinating to me, the projection. Like, the people that have written about me? They see me in a certain way based on their own stuff. Perception is projection. Like, for instance, Josh Brumberger, who said in Game Change [the best-selling book by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin] that I was at the Regency dressed more appropriately for a Grateful Dead concert. Because from Josh's perspective, I seemed weird and wacky. In reality, I was wearing a black TSE cashmere sweater, a Kenneth Cole suede jacket, and jeans. But in his mind, I'm dressed to go to a Grateful Dead concert. Total projection!"

As far as their relationship now:

Okay, so now here you are. Johnny's separated. He obviously has a decent relationship with you and his daughter. Why not just be with him at this point?
Oh, you're wanting the fairy-tale ending! [laughs]

Don't you want the fairy-tale ending?
I want whatever life brings me.