How Technological Ineptitude Ruined John Edwards And Rielle Hunter’s Romance

These two had no idea how to call each other, text, email, or prevent pregnancy. As Hunter’s new tell-all book proves, ignorance isn’t always bliss.

The cover of Hunter’s memoir.

Hunter’s memoir, out today, details a number of technological blunders that led to the undoing of her romance with the politician.

Edwards had a cell phone just for calls from “other women.” This angered some of the other women.

The night they met, Edwards told Hunter he was seeing three women in addition to his wife (bizarrely, he later told Hunter they didn’t exist, saying he made them up because “I didn’t want you to think you were special”) . That didn’t make her mad, but she didn’t like it when he used his special adultery cell phone to talk to them:

I was a tad angry when I arrived because Johnny and I were talking on the phone while I was on the train and his other line beeped and he hung up with me to answer it. We talked only on the “other woman” cell phone, so that meant he was hanging up with me to talk to another “other woman.” NOT COOL.

Edwards expected an ex-mistress to pay his phone bill, which Hunter found “nuts.”

Writes Hunter,

He told me that the Chicago relationship was over but that she said she was going to fight for him. He told me that she cried and slapped him when he told her that I made him happy. I asked how this was all going to work out with the phone. (Remember, he said she paid for it.) He believed she was still going to pay the bill because she was that in love with him.

WHAT? The whole thing seemed so nuts to me!

JOHN ADKISSON / Reuters

John Edwards outside the federal courthouse where he was on trial, May 2012

Hunter taught Edwards to text — causing mistresses past to surface.

Hunter writes of an evening in spring 2006:

A big mistake I made that night: I taught Johnny how to text. He told me soon after that night he started receiving texts from other women. I assumed that the woman who bought him the phone had noticed on the phone bill that he was now texting, so she started using it as another method to attempt to reach him.

But none of this was as bad as Elizabeth finding the secret cheat-phone.

On December 31st, 2006 at 9:33 AM, my cell rang, I looked at the caller ID, saw Johnny’s number, and answered as I often did when he called, saying, “Hey, baby.”

Instead of a response, the line went dead. I knew immediately that it wasn’t Johnny calling me. It was Elizabeth.

Hunter thought giving the adultery-only phone to an aide would solve the Elizabeth problem.

After Elizabeth Edwards found her husband’s first infidelity phone, Hunter bought him a new one so they could keep talking. But he was afraid Elizabeth would find it if he kept it in the house. Hunter’s solution:

“Why don’t you give it to Andrew [Young]? Let him keep it and then give it back to you when you leave the house. That may work. He knows you like talking to me. He’s already said he loves how happy you are around me. […]”

At this point, Hunter still believed Young didn’t know she and Edwards were having an affair. (After claiming to be the father of Hunter’s and Edwards’s child, Young would later write a tell-all book and testify against Edwards in federal court.)

Gerry Broome / AP

Former Edwards aide Andrew Young, 2012.

She did not know how to properly destroy their sex tape.

Hunter writes that in November 2006, “Johnny and I decided that we needed to get rid of the intimate tape we’d made in Africa.” Here’s what she did:

I destroyed the tape, I pulled it out of its casing and cut it. Somewhere in the back of my head, I must have remembered the possibility of someone going through my garbage, so I buried it in the bottom of my hatbox, where I stored my other small, personal mementos.

After I discovered that the tape had been stolen and put back together, I obviously wished that I’d just burned it. I just didn’t take it seriously enough. I mean really, who would ever rifle through all my stuff (to find this you really would have to dig), find a random tape, and actually put it back together?

She also sent secret information about the affair to a (supposed) friend, via email.

When Hunter first met Edwards in February 2006, she says she only wanted to give him life-coaching advice. She asked him, “Do you email?” He said no, and had her come to his hotel room instead — where their affair swiftly began. Either he was lying to get her in bed, or he was a total Luddite — in 2006, who didn’t email?

Unluckily for both of them, Hunter did email — she sent a message to publicist and website consultant Pigeon O’Brien, saying she was dating a “John” in North Carolina who was married with kids. Later, O’Brien put two and two together — and ended up sharing the email (or at least the information therein) with the National Enquirer.

HANDOUT / Reuters

Hunter on Good Morning America, 2012.

Edwards and Hunter never used birth control.

In 2007, Hunter began to wonder if she could be pregnant:

I couldn’t imagine I was, given I was 43 and had never been pregnant. Johnny and I never used birth control, but I was always mindful of my cycle and I was certain that I had never been ovulating during any of my visits with Johnny.

However:

I discovered (to my shock and surprise) that most women were at their most fertile not during ovulation, but a few days before. IMPORTANT INFORMATION that I did not know!

From What Really Happened, it seems there was a lot of important information Hunter and Edwards didn’t know.

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