Rumor has it that John Edwards is engaged to Rielle Hunter, the home wrecking woman with whom he had an affair and fathered a daughter. This news, reported in the National Enquirer, comes just weeks after his estranged wife, Elizabeth Edwards, succumbed to breast cancer. They say he proposed some time recently and that his former mistress accepted.
Edwards denies the reports, but let's recall that it was the National Enquirer who first broke news of his affair. He denied those, too.
According to the New York Daily News:
Over the holidays, the disgraced ex-presidential candidate introduced his three children, Cate, 28, Emma Claire, 12, and Jack, 10, to the blonde campaign videographer. And to top it off, Hunter, 46, told Edwards' kids to "Call me Mommy," a source told the tabloid.
That last line makes me want to vomit. If this story is true, then John Edwards is one seriously misguided piece of crap. But then, we already knew that. But does it make him a bad dad?
Before we get too judgmental (and believe me, I want to), let's try to accept that somewhere in his grief-addled (male) brain, there might be someone who thinks he's doing what's best for his children. Many widowers do marry quickly after they lose their spouse out of a combination of factors that might include loneliness and wanting help raising their children. They might think they are doing the best thing for their children because they lack confidence in their basic parenting skills.
Remember the beginning of Cinderella? The lovely little girl's father remarries so quickly after her mother's death and then dies soon after. Her kindly father thought he was doing the best thing for her and we never vilify him, right?
Of course, the John Edwards affair brings out the scorned woman in all of us. It's awfully hard to have any sympathy for a man who would be seduced by a woman like Rielle who was so cold and calculating and knew he was married. And all this while his wife was being treated for cancer ... tsk, tsk. But even worse, he then lied to everyone about that affair and denied his own child.
I tend to want to give people the benefit of the doubt in love, but even I am struggling with this one. It's hard to believe that his daughter Cate Edwards, 28, would have been supportive of her father getting engaged so quickly. It's unclear whether the two were together while Elizabeth was dying and he and Elizabeth were separated (after 33 years of marriage). But he could not wait a little bit? Just to give his children time to grieve?
And if Rielle did say, "call me mommy," to Elizabeth's children, then all bets are off. What kind of deluded person expects grieving children to do such a thing? Love is complicated, it's true. And maybe we don't know the full story. Maybe John and Elizabeth were in a loveless marriage and John and Rielle really are in love. I hope for the Edwards children that they are and that Rielle is much better in person than she seems on TV. But for God's sake, he couldn't have waited a few more weeks? She had to get her 3.5-carat engagement ring today?
What's the matter, John? Elizabeth's will got you down? You felt ignored? Why did he have to do this now, just weeks after she died? I have to believe it isn't true if only because even the sleaziest man on Earth would know to at least give his children time to grieve.
He may think he is being a good dad and doing the right thing for his children, but the only "mommy" they will ever have is gone and the only thing he should be focusing on right now is helping them through that.
Does this engagement make him a bad dad?
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