Rielle Hunter, the woman who had an affair with presidential candidate John Edwards, is in the news this week thanks to GQ magazine, which published an oddball interview and bizarre slideshow with the mistress of the former senator from North Carolina.
In the Q&A, Hunter denies breaking up Edwards’ marriage to his wife, Elizabeth:
Well, first of all, infidelity doesn’t happen in healthy marriages. The break in the marriage happens before the infidelity. And that break happened, you know, two and a half decades before I got there. So the home was wrecked already. I was not the Home Wrecker.
Besides the curious style choice by GQ to capitalize “home wrecker,” this leads to a question of definition: Was Hunter a home wrecker or not?
People may not agree on the meaning of the term, but North Carolina’s “alienation of affections” legal standard is one way to gauge whether the other woman (or man) has wrecked a home. Here’s what juries look at in those lawsuits in which a jilted spouse sues:
- The marriage had some measure of love and affection between the spouses.
- The interloper’s malicious conduct contributed to or caused the loss of affection.
- The love was alienated and destroyed.
It’s difficult to know how much John and Elizabeth Edwards loved each other at the time that Hunter entered the picture. Certainly, it’s become apparent that their marriage wasn’t perfect, but even the tell-all books and articles indicate that they still shared some love at that time.
Hunter’s actions in her pursuit of Edwards certainly damaged his marriage to his wife. A sex tape and pregnancy are evidence enough of that. John and Elizabeth recently separated, so it’s safe to say that what remained of their love was destroyed thanks to Hunter’s actions.
Perhaps the Edwards home existed on a shaky foundation, but Hunter helped tear it down. So by this standard, Rielle, you are a home wrecker.
Creative Commons image by Western Dave