'Call me Mommy': What John Edwards' mistress 'told his children as she met them weeks after their mother's death'
8th January 2011
John Edwards' mistress has apparently told his children to 'Call me Mommy' as she met them for the first time just weeks after their mother's death.
Ms Hunter is believed to have wept with joy during the meeting, said to have taken place at a chain restaurant in North Carolina three weeks after Elizabeth Edwards died.
Elizabeth, 61, lost her six-year battle with cancer on December 1 last year.
The National Enquirer reported that Mr Edwards apparently thought it was time for his three children Cate, 28, Emma Claire, 12 and Jack, 10, to meet their half sister, Frances Quinn, aged two.
Mr Edwards has not yet confirmed if the meeting took place.
Last night a spokesman for the disgraced ex-senator denied the Enquirer's claim he asked his mistress to marry him three weeks after his wife's death.
But in proof of how far he has fallen from grace, Americans appear unsure whether they should believe the man who could have been Vice President, or the supermarket tabloid.
An internet debate is raging over the validity of the story.
The Enquirer was the first news organisation to reveal details of his affair with Ms Hunter while he was campaigning of the Democratic presidential nomination.
Hunter worked as a videographer for his campaign capturing Mr Edwards as he toured the country drumming up support to challenge Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination.
The Enquirer reports were emphatically denied by Mr Edwards and his campaign team - but the magazine doggedly stood by its story for months.
Then, its reporters caught the politician visiting Ms Hunter in a Los Angeles hotel.
He later held a press conference to admit the affair and confessed to fathering a child with the campaign worker. Mr Edwards and Ms Hunter's daughter, Frances Quinn, is now aged two.
Elizabeth Edwards, who was battling cancer, immediately ended their 32-year marriage.
However, the Enquirer has also gotten it wrong with regards to Mr Edwards: Last February the magazine also reported he and Ms Hunter were engaged. That report was also denied.
Now the Enquirer is embroiled in a new stand-off with Mr Edwards over the engagement appearing in its latest issue.
A spokesman for Mr Edwards has dismissed the story in comments to The Daily Beast, saying: 'I can tell you that it's not true.'
Mr Edwards himself has not yet given a statement on the issue. The spokesman did not appear to deny the Enquirer's account of the Edwards children's meeting with Ms Hunter.
'A few years ago, the story would have likely gone down as a easily-dispensed-with rumor from a source more likely to break news on a bat boy sighting than on a political scandal,' wrote the Washington Post's Melissa Bell.
'However, the National Enquirer correctly reported the story that Edwards had fathered Hunter's child, a charge he denied for two years.'
'The Enquirer has more than its usual credibility in the Edwards arena,' admitted the Los Angeles Times.
'Oh so he's not engaged. Just like he didnt have an affair with her, and oh yes...that child isn't his either. PLEEZZZZZZZZZZZ spare me! [sic]' wrote one commentator on a People.com report.
However: 'LOL! What is that source? This is obviously a made up stuff by the National Inquire! [sic]' wrote a commentator on the New York Daily News.
The Edwards children were aware of Frances, but while alive Elizabeth had banned such a meeting from taking place.
According to the Enquirer report Hunter, 46, was in tears during the emotional encounter.
Edwards was said to have 'pledged his undying love' for his mistress and promised her one day that they would become 'one big, happy family'.
'Clearly, he was saying 'I want you to marry me', claimed a source.
Friends said Elizabeth would have been devastated by her children being taken to meet Hunter.
'This is the absolute last thing in the world [Elizabeth] wanted,' the tabloid quoted a source as saying.
'Rielle is the woman she once labelled 'pathetic' and 'a homewrecker' . . . She did not want John to introduce their kids to his love child - let alone Rielle.
'Elizabeth must be turning over in her grave.'
Details of Mr Edwards' engagement emerged just two days after it was revealed that Mrs Edwards snubbed her ex-husband in her final will and testament.
She cut her estranged husband out - instead leaving everything to her three children.
The couple's eldest daughter, lawyer Cate, was named as the executor of the will, which Mrs Edwards signed on December 1 - just six days before she lost her battle to breast cancer.