January 27, 2010 / 8:31 PM / 10 years ago

Politician John Edwards and wife separate

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards and his cancer-stricken wife, Elizabeth, have separated following reports that he fathered a child with a woman who was a former campaign aide.

A source familiar with the situation confirmed on Wednesday that the Edwards, who live in North Carolina, had split up. They have been married 32 years.

Edwards, 56, unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 and was the party’s vice presidential nominee in 2004 in John Kerry’s failed bid for the White House.

A statement from Elizabeth Edwards’ publicist at Random House, which published her book last year, “Resilience,” said Elizabeth Edwards, 60, “is moving on with her life and wants to put this difficult chapter behind her.”

The announced split came less than a week after John Edwards admitted fathering a child with his former mistress, Rielle Hunter, while campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Edwards’ announcement came after he had initially denied fathering the child and came just before the release on Saturday of a book by former aide Andrew Young.

Young, in “The Politician,” reports on how Edwards asked him to help cover up his affair with Hunter and paints an unflattering portrait of the former North Carolina senator.

The statement from Random House said Elizabeth Edwards, who has an incurable form of cancer, said it is clear that the book “contains many falsehoods and exaggerations” and that she did not want to rehash the past but wanted to correct two points.

“First, the allegation that she sought to politicize her cancer is unconscionable, hurtful and patently false. Second, she believed Andrew Young to be the father of this child until her husband confessed his paternity to her this past summer. She will have nothing further to say,” it said.

Reporting by Richard Cowan and Steve Holland, Editing by Sandra Maler

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