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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Remembering Nora Ephron; Rielle Hunter's Side of the Story
Aired June 27, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, the woman who showed the world what happened "When Harry Met Sally."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEG RYAN, ACTRESS: God.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll have what she's having.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Norah Ephron made some of Hollywood's best loved romantic comedies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NORA EPHRON, WRITER/FILMMAKER: Anything in life could be turned into a story.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: And tonight two of the people who knew her best tell their stories. Arianna Huffington and Barbara Walters, remembering their friend Nora Ephron.
Plus, sex, cash and politics. She was at the center of the scandal that exploded into global headlines that ended a political career and destroyed a marriage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RIELLE HUNTER, AUTHOR, "WHAT REALLY HAPPENED": Do you really think men cheat for bad sex? Do they?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Now Rielle Hunter, one of the most hated other woman in America, answers the most important question of all. Is she sorry?
And "Only in America," why the mayor of New York just might be a little bit cooler than you think.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
Good evening. Tonight, Rielle Hunter tells all. The secret, the lies, the affair, the baby and the end of her relationship with John Edwards. It's all on detail on her first cable TV interview. We'll get to that in a few minutes. But we begin with our "Big Story" about a woman who can tell a great story like nobody else.
"Sleepless in Seattle", "When Harry Met Sally", "You've Got Mail", "Julie and Julia". They're all Nora Ephron classic movies. Audiences still laugh and often cry along with them. Nora Ephron was a playwright, a best selling author and a blogger. And her best legacy may well be her family and her long-time friends who are all be paying tribute to her today.
Two of those close friends are with me tonight. Arianna Huffington and Barbara Walters.
Welcome to you both. A very sad day. I've been struck, I have to say, by the incredible outpouring of emotions, tributes, of grief from so many people, from such a broad spectrum. Not just of entertainment, but of almost every part of American culture and indeed around the world.
Arianna, let me start with you. Are surprised? I mean Nora Ephron was a remarkable woman but it's been an incredible reaction, I think, to her passing.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, HUFFINGTON POST MEDIA GROUP: No, I'm not at all surprised. She elicited an enormous amount of devotion from her friends. She loved her friends. She -- you know, as you know, I was dominated for three Oscars, but if there was an Oscar for friendship, she would have had a shelf full of them. She (INAUDIBLE) her friends.
And I remember when I was about to launch the "Huffington Post," she was an amazing sounding board. A supporter. She's written over 100 blogs and she became like an evangelist for the site. And she did that, whatever her -- any friends' next endeavor undertaking was.
MORGAN: Barbara, she excelled in magazines, in novels, essays, movies, and three Oscar nominations, a remarkable range of talent that she had in her, in her multifaceted career. What was she really like, Nora Ephron, away from all the public face that we knew? What was she like as a human being?
BARBARA WALTERS, CLOSE FRIEND OF NORA EPHRON: Well, let me tell you a few things. We were totally shocked, all of us, even -- except maybe a few people. Obviously her husband and sons. Because we knew that she was ill. We'd heard that she was ill, but we didn't know how ill. And when we heard about it yesterday, I mean, we gasped. This is a woman who died of leukemia at 71.
So it's taken us now two days in which we can even get our breath because we just didn't know. And there was just some -- you mentioned some of the things. I mean she could be romantic, you know, "Sleepless in Seattle," one of the most romantic films there was. She could be very honest. Remember the whole orgasm scene in "When Harry Met Sally"? That famous scene where she faked an orgasm which I'm not about to do, and the woman at the next table in the restaurant said, I'll have what she's having. (LAUGHTER)
WALTERS: And she was very honest about her own life.
WALTERS: She talked a lot about aging. She wrote a book called "I Hate My Neck" and wore scarves all the time. And if you crossed her, as her first husband did, Carl Bernstein, who wrote "All the President's Men," the Watergate, big -- he cheated on her. What did she do? She has said that years earlier, her mother said, you know, take everything as experience, you'll laugh about it later.
And she laughed about it later because she wrote a book about him called "Heartburn." So there were all these different sides. As a friend, we had a not very distinguished club of sorts. We would meet every four or five weeks. Did you ever come to our harpies?
WALTERS: Once. So we called ourselves the harpies. I mean, hardly a distinguished title. And it was a whole bunch of us, Liz Smith and Cynthia McFadden and Peggy Siegel. And we would meet every four or five weeks. We would discuss everybody else's facelift. At Christmastime, we would bring in all the presents we didn't want and we would give them to each other. I don't want this, you want it?
So in private life, there was also that tremendous wit, but great warmth and love. And I've got to mention Nick Pileggi, her husband of 25 years who was a wonderful author himself. "Wise Guys" and "Casino" and what a sweet and gentle man he was. Was -- is. And what a great marriage that was.
MORGAN: Yes. That was certainly the great --
HUFFINGTON: A truly amazing marriage. Yes. That is so true. And after her two previous marriages, his first marriage, there they were, they found each other. Actually I just came from their home where so many friends had gathered and where Nick is sort of looking at life without her, which is sort of amazing because they were inseparable. And you know, you look around and most marriages end in divorce.
In fact, Nora, who as Barbara said is an incredible romantic, but also had a wry way of looking at the world, famously said to me one morning when she thought we should launch a section on the "Huffington Post" on divorce, she said, marriages come and go but divorce is forever. And yet there was this amazing relationship with Nick and with her two sons.
WALTERS: You know --
MORGAN: I love the -- she has a great line from one of many great quotes she came out with. "Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim." That was from her Wellesley commencement address in 1996. I want to just play a clip of some of the best moments of some of her great romantic comedies. Because she, I think, told the story of love and romance and all that went with that better than most anybody else I've seen in Hollywood. Let's just take a trip down memory lane with Nora.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM HANKS, ACTOR, "SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE": I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car. And I knew. It was like --
HANKS: Magic. What?
RYAN: I just had a breakthrough.
HANKS: What is it?
RYAN: I have you to thank for it. For the first time in my life, when confronted with a horrible, insensitive person I knew exactly what I wanted to say and I said it. Yes! Oh, oh, god. Oh.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll have what she's having.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: "Sleepless in Seattle", "You've Got Mail", "When Harry Met Sally." I mean the list goes on and on and on.
Barbara, I think one of her great talents, Nora, was that she was a brilliant writer and could write very high brow stuff if she put her mind to it. And yet she was able to appeal to a really huge mainstream audience at the same time. That's quite a rare gift, isn't it?
WALTERS: Yes. But she was so honest about things. And you know, Arianna and I were just talking. And we're very close friends. We go back many years. So we're kind of grieving together here, but she had known evidently that she'd this disease for five or six years, and she wrote in a funny way, but a touching way about death.
And we were just saying that some of the things that she did were so touching and funny. For example, she wrote about the things -- she said these are the things I won't miss, dry skin, Clarence Thomas, the sound of a vacuum cleaner and panels on women in film. And then she said, these are the things that I will miss. Taking a bath, coming over the bridge on the way to Manhattan. Pie. My kids and Nick.
So it's almost that she was telling us how to think and how to feel about her even now.
HUFFINGTON: But you are right, she did write a lot about death for somebody who was so funny and so full of life. And part of it is that her sense that you should live every day as if it's your last day. And she even said you should eat your last meal every day because when the time comes to eat your last meal you'll probably not be feeling like it.
WALTERS: And by the way, she was a great cook. I mean one of the joys of going to their house where -- you went to the (INAUDIBLE), I'll go a little (INAUDIBLE) -- was that wonderful kitchen. She cooked everything herself. She cooked comfort food. We'd mashed sweet potatoes, we would have rootbeer floats. We would have all the things we swore we wouldn't eat. Meatloaf. Everything she makes. She was a wonderful cook herself.
And even when she wrote the book "Heartburn" about the marriage to Carl Bernstein, she gave recipes. Remember? You know? So there were so many different sides of her. The sardonic, the cynical, the funny, the loving. I mean, you name the adjective, and it fit her. And she was a great talent.
You know, she had -- she was about to, I guess, have a Broadway show produced this fall. I don't know whether it will happen or not.
HUFFINGTON: With Tom Hanks.
WALTERS: Tom Hanks who was her great --
MORGAN: I mean she said -- she said this about women as well, which I love. She said, "I tried to write parts for women that are as complicated and interesting as women actually are." And I always felt that was a great gift in all her films and all the stuff she got involved with, was that women could really relate to her because she really understood women.
WALTERS: And she --
MORGAN: Would that be fair?
HUFFINGTON: Absolutely. Yes, and she was a champion of women. She really believed that women could do anything and at anytime. And when Rita Wilson, for example, decided to take up singing, which was by then, you know, she wasn't well. It was like in May. And Rita was performing in Joel's Pub (ph) --
WALTERS: Rita who's married to Tom Hanks, yes.
HUFFINGTON: Yes. And immediately she said, let's all gather afterwards in a Chinese restaurant. That was the last time I saw her. And soon after that, she was taken to the hospital where basically she never left. And that incredible decision to, like, keep it from her friends for six years that she had leukemia. It was only Nick and her sisters and sons who knew the full extent of what she was going through.
Because she didn't want it to color the life she was living and the interactions with friends and how everybody related to her. I mean it's an amazing decision. I can't imagine taking it. But it was again part of who she was.
WALTERS: You know, she also was a -- she was very -- she changed the way people thought about women and the way women could write. Years ago, she was part of the whole feminist movement. She wrote for "Esquire" and she said in the beginning, you know, it had nothing to do with me. And then she said, but I knew that I could make a difference, and she did all kinds of essays about different things that women could do and couldn't do.
She did them funny. She didn't lecture. That was what's so great about Nora among other things. That she said what we all felt or wanted to say, but she said it tongue and cheek or straight out. And funny. So we could accept it.
MORGAN: Barbara, what were your lasting memories be of Nora as your friend?
WALTERS: I think of Nora now after front page of "The New York Times" announcing her death and a whole page inside. And what you said, Piers, of the outpouring of friends. And she would be amazed at it. And you know what she would say now? Enough already. It's just enough already.
WALTERS: So many memories. But mostly of the friendship and also of Nick. And the two sons. You know, they have to go on without her. And so do we. And fortunately we have the most wonderful, funny, happy memories, don't we?
HUFFINGTON: For me, for me, it's the way she literally glittered. And there's this joy about her. This sense of celebration, even though she also had that dry, sardonic side as Barbara said. You know, about everything, including the things she loved the most, her children. I loved her line about if your children are teenagers, make sure you get a dog so somebody's happy when you get home.
WALTERS: I think what we all felt yesterday and today, from my pal here, cherish each other. Cherish each other. Because this was such a shock and it all made us realize, if we hadn't before, how important friendship is.
HUFFINGTON: That is so true.
MORGAN: Yes, well said, Barbara.
HUFFINGTON: That sense of gratitude and -- that she left behind. And not taking anything for granted. And living, as she said, every day as though it's your last day.
MORGAN: Ladies, I can't think of a better way to end. Thank you very much for your time and what a special woman she was, Nora Ephron. Thank you, both, very much.
HUFFINGTON: Thank you.
MORGAN: Coming up, one of the dirtiest political scandals in years. The downfall of John Edwards. I'll ask the woman at the center of it all, Rielle Hunter, if she's sorry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN EDWARDS, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good morning. I'm here in New Orleans to -- in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans to announce I'm a candidate for the presidency of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: It began in 2006 with so much promise for then Senator John Edwards. Of course we all know how it ended. The affair Edwards had with Rielle Hunter destroyed his political career, ruined his marriage, and left his life in a shambles.
Rielle Hunter tells her side of the story in a book "What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter and Me." And she joins me now in her first cable interview.
How are you? You're shaking your head already.
MORGAN: What are you shaking your head for?
HUNTER: I've had an interesting few days.
MORGAN: Well, you've been beaten up, mainly by a lot of women who have taken against some of the stuff in the book. And I guess, taken against you and trying to paint you as the scarlet woman in all this. The one really to blame. How do you feel about that?
HUNTER: I feel that it is an unfair judgment and usually made from assumptions and from people who haven't read the book.
MORGAN: The chapters in the book each have a quote at the start. Which is quite an interesting way of doing it. And they tell a little story of their own. The introduction, for example, has, "Fame means millions of people have the wrong idea of who you are, Erica Young."
Do we have the wrong idea about who you are? And if so, what is is the real Rielle Hunter?
HUNTER: I believe most people have the wrong idea about me, yes.
MORGAN: What do you think your public perception is right now?
HUNTER: Destroyer, villain, evil, basher. All of that.
MORGAN: And how much of that is fair and how much of it is unfair, do you think?
HUNTER: I think all of it is unfair.
MORGAN: You take no responsibility for any of it?
HUNTER: For the public perception?
MORGAN: Well, the perception is based on a series of assumptions that you broke up John Edwards' marriage. You ruined his political career and left his life in a bit of a shambles. That's why people have the kind of visceral view of you that they do. If that isn't fair or accurate what --
HUNTER: I didn't -- I didn't do that, John Edwards did that.
MORGAN: All of it?
HUNTER: He is responsible for his career and his marriage. Well, he's 50 percent responsible for his marriage. Elizabeth was 50 percent responsible for it as well.
MORGAN: What are you responsible for?
HUNTER: I'm responsible for my part in that, being the third party.
MORGAN: I mean knowing what you know now about how this all played out, when you had that first encounter with him, would you do something different?
MORGAN: Would you?
HUNTER: I would. I mean, the whole thing would be different. But it's -- the hardest thing about that is that because I have Quinn. You know? It's hard to have any regrets at all going down that road because I ended up with Quinn. Any parent knows that, any parent who has a child, it's hard to regret a relationship because it produced your child.
MORGAN: You've broken up, you've announced this week, with John. Do you think it's irreparable? Do you think this is it, no?
HUNTER: I have no idea. I really don't. I -- we have such a great relationship in communicating and a lot of love for each other. So it wouldn't surprise me if we were able to work things out, or -- and it wouldn't surprise -- whatever happens between us, we will continue being loving, great parents.
MORGAN: There's a lot of conjecture about why you split up. What is the truth?
HUNTER: It felt like the right thing at the time. That's the truth. We're in very different places right this second.
MORGAN: The media has been running riot with the theory that John's oldest child, Kate, who is I think 30, in her 30s, has taken against you and blames you for the breakup of her parents' marriage and that that is the big problem. There's another theory, and you can feel free to confirm or deny this, that it's more to do with the fact that in the book you revealed a number of other affairs that her father had that was news to her and the other kids and that -- is that has caused a real problem? What is the truth?
HUNTER: The truth is we've had problems for a very long time that we haven't addressed because we put the children first. So it just came to a head. Everything came to a head with the -- and the media scrutiny and bashing is very hot right now, obviously.
MORGAN: Are you surprised?
HUNTER: I'm -- what surprises me most is how mean people are and how much they judge based on things that they don't know anything about. That always surprises me.
MORGAN: What is the biggest misconception, do you think, about you?
HUNTER: About me?
HUNTER: That I'm an evil person, a destroyer.
MORGAN: How would you characterize what happened at its essence between you and John if it wasn't the destruction of his marriage and his political career and so on? How do you characterize it?
HUNTER: From that destruction, from the loss of everything came a great gift of growth for him. It's changed him. Incredibly. And came the great gift of our child.
MORGAN: Do you if it wasn't for his other children who have such strong feelings, particularly his oldest daughter who is obviously a fully fledged adult now who can make her own decisions, do you think if it wasn't for that and for their strong emotions about all this, you'd still be together?
HUNTER: I have no idea.
MORGAN: Does your gut feeling tell you that?
HUNTER: I have no idea. I mean you could say if -- you know, if this or if that all day long --
MORGAN: This is what I'm really getting at. People -- you know, people have tritely said, it's because the book. It's the book that's caused you to break up. HUNTER: How can you say one event breaks up a relationship?
MORGAN: Because you've broken up in the week that the book has come out.
MORGAN: So people -- a lot of people quite easily do simple math. Two plus two equals four. You know, obviously -- did he read the book?
HUNTER: In my life, things happen all at once. That happens to be a pattern in my life.
MORGAN: Did he read the book before?
HUNTER: Before what?
MORGAN: Before publication?
HUNTER: Not before publication.
MORGAN: Did you offer it to him?
HUNTER: Many times.
MORGAN: Why did he say no?
HUNTER: You would have to ask him that.
MORGAN: Why did he tell you?
HUNTER: He didn't want to.
HUNTER: He'd lived it. He didn't want to read it.
MORGAN: Did he try to stop you from writing it?
HUNTER: No. Not at all.
MORGAN: When did he read it?
HUNTER: You should talk to him about this.
MORGAN: Would love to.
HUNTER: Maybe you will one day.
MORGAN: At the moment I'm talking to you.
HUNTER: I don't want to talk about him.
MORGAN: So he has read the book?
HUNTER: Well, I don't want to talk about that.
MORGAN: You won't talk about your book?
HUNTER: I want to talk about my -- yes, I do, but you can --
MORGAN: Well, unless I'm wrong, I mean it's called "What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter and Me." Rielle Hunter. So you said -- I don't want to talk about that, being John Edwards, is a bit ridiculous given that he's on the title of the book.
HUNTER: You're saying --
MORGAN: And you're telling what really happened.
HUNTER: Those are things you should be asking him.
MORGAN: That becomes -- when you behave like this people get irritated. Because I'm like, come on. You've written a book called "What Really Happened." You can't then --
HUNTER: Well, you have to have --
MORGAN: Not answer straight questions about what happened.
HUNTER: No, I'm sorry, Piers. You have to have boundaries in your life. The media --
MORGAN: What are the boundaries?
HUNTER: The media is not entitled to everything in your life. Everything that you --
MORGAN: But hang on.
HUNTER: They just come at you as if they're entitled to everything.
MORGAN: Rielle. Rielle.
HUNTER: You're not.
MORGAN: There's very little about your life I haven't read in this book. As every spit and cough.
HUNTER: That's not true.
MORGAN: It is true.
HUNTER: It starts on the day I met John Edwards in this book. I lived 43 years before I met John Edwards. MORGAN: Well, we're going to come back and talk about this night. Let's just tee it up because obviously you want me to respect your privacy.
And yet in the book you say, "Somewhere in the midst of our talk, long after I realized how far off the rails his marriage was, and for how long it had been that way, I let go of my resistance to him and let him lead. And lead he did. He led me towards the most extraordinary night of my life. It was just the beginning."
Let's find out what that was all about after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN EDWARDS, FORMER SENATOR: This is a great speech.
HUNTER: Can you read it?
EDWARDS: Yes, I can read it.
HUNTER: You can?
EDWARDS: Yes. That is a great speech.
HUNTER: I'm so glad you like it.
EDWARDS: I like it. Wait until you hear me give it live. .
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: On the campaign plane, that's John Edwards holding the camera. Rielle Hunter is back with me to talk about their affair. I mean, all that sort of sweet and innocent and happy there. Do you look back wistfully at those kind of clips and think, God, if only it could stayed like that, before anybody knew?
HUNTER: No, I don't have those thoughts. But I do look at it and it makes me smile.
MORGAN: Why were you smiling?
HUNTER: Because it was fun, funny. I like -- he was very happy. I got a lot of heat for that, you know, because he was so flirty. And as a filmmaker, I kept that in because he was flirty with everyone back then. It wasn't just me. It was very true to who he was then. He's changed a lot. He's not like that now.
MORGAN: You talk in graphic. I know you don't want to talk about John, but, of course, unfortunately --
HUNTER: I want to talk about what's in the book. You're asking me about John today.
MORGAN: I'm actually moving back to the time you first go to bed with him, which you tell in graphic detail in the book.
HUNTER: It's not graphic detail.
MORGAN: I don't tell the detail of the bed hopping. You do.
HUNTER: Why does the media make everything so salacious?
MORGAN: Because you put salacious material in your book.
HUNTER: It is not salacious the way it is told.
MORGAN: Some of it is.
HUNTER: It is not. Your spin on it is salacious.
MORGAN: I'm not spinning it. I just read before the break what you write about this incredible night of your life. You said it was the best sex you ever had.
HUNTER: I did not say that.
MORGAN: Was it or wasn't it?
HUNTER: Oh my God. Walked right into that one, didn't I?
MORGAN: You made no secret of it being the best sex of your life.
HUNTER: Do you really think men cheat for bad sex? Do they?
MORGAN: I never thought of it like that. Some must do. Some must be bitterly disappointed.
MORGAN: The book -- whether you like it or not, the problem is, you have opened yourself a lot in the book I think to criticisms. There's no doubt about that.
HUNTER: I have.
MORGAN: And the main criticism has come from the way you describe Elizabeth. And you know, you use phrases about her, venomous, crazy, witch on wheels.
HUNTER: I did not say -- a witch on wheels is not about Elizabeth. These things are taken out of context. When you read the story -- just you take the little tidbit about the extraordinary night and you take it out of context --
MORGAN: Who was the witch on wheels?
HUNTER: I was talking about passive aggressive relationships, when a man doesn't stand up -- in general, relationships in general, when the man doesn't stand up, the woman is often seen as a witch on wheels, often vilified, which incidentally is exactly what has happened to me.
MORGAN: But you were obviously referring to Elizabeth, right?
HUNTER: No. I'm talking about a relationship.
MORGAN: Who else did he have in his life who could have possibly been the witch on wheels.
HUNTER: I'm seen as a witch on wheels.
MORGAN: You are now, yeah.
HUNTER: Yeah. That's what happens in a dynamic. I'm talking about a relationship in general.
MORGAN: A lot of flak you've been getting is because of these descriptive phrases you've used in connection or in a round about way about Elizabeth. Do you regret now putting this stuff in, given the way the media has latched on to it. Do you accept that when somebody is dead and can't answer back, it looks graceless?
HUNTER: It accept it looks graceless, yes. My intention is not to bash Elizabeth Edwards. It was never my intention. My intention was to tell the truth of the story for the six years that I saw it through my eyes. I saw Elizabeth through the eyes of John Edwards. He would tell me things. Other people would tell me things. I only met Elizabeth once.
MORGAN: So you based everything in the book that you say about her on what John Edwards told you?
HUNTER: When you're in a relationship with a married man, that's how you're going to receive information about his marriage.
MORGAN: Right. Do you now believe everything he told you about her was right?
HUNTER: Do I believe everything he told?
MORGAN: Given that's how you based your opinion of Elizabeth? You were entirely trusting in --
HUNTER: I don't know the answer to that.
MORGAN: The reason I ask you is, in the book, he tells you multiple lies. In the starts, he's having four affairs. It turns out he made the whole thing up.
MORGAN: I don't know the answer to that.
HUNTER: You don't know if you can trust him?
MORGAN: I don't know if I trust him about everything that he said. I don't know. MORGAN: If it's possible, and from that answer it clearly is, that he exaggerated how bad Elizabeth was, probably to please you -- no woman wants to hear, oh, I'm madly in love with my wife and she's fantastic -- that's why I'm with you. Most people say oh, you know, my wife isn't great and that's why I'm with you. If he exaggerated that and he spun a line to you about how bad she was, then you must be regretful, aren't you, about your impression of her?
HUNTER: Am I regretful of my impression of her?
MORGAN: Are you sorry for what you did to her?
HUNTER: I am sorry. I'm absolutely sorry for my part in the relationship, being -- having an affair, any pain it caused anybody including Elizabeth, absolutely.
MORGAN: If she was still alive, would you say to her I'm sorry?
HUNTER: Absolutely. In fact, in my book I even talk about how I regret not being able to speak to Elizabeth.
MORGAN: But that's different. That's one removed from actually looking somebody in the eye and saying I'm sorry for what I did to you.
HUNTER: I absolutely if she was alive would say that to her.
MORGAN: The fact that she was dying of cancer made this all 10 times worse. It made the public perception of John and therefore you 10 times worse. You were in the middle of this maelstrom of attention. And also there was now a baby involved. And there was this extraordinary cover-up that was launched with his aide. He was going to pretend to be the father and all the rest of it.
It's the old, you know, "oh what a tangled web we weave when at first we do deceive," isn't it? It's a classic of its time. Going back to that moment, what would you have done differently?
HUNTER: Oh, I never would have gone along with that.
MORGAN: Why did you?
HUNTER: Out of fear. I was afraid that my daughter wouldn't have a relationship with him. That's the only thing I can come up with. It was hard to even get there. But once I said yes -- it was stupid, really.
MORGAN: He -- I get the feeling from your book the worst moment for you came when he denied that it was even remotely possible that the baby could be his. Let's watch a clip of this.
HUNTER: Oh, thanks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A report has been published that the baby of Ms. Hunter is your baby. True?
EDWARDS: Not true. Not true. That was in a supermarket tabloid. No, that is absolutely not true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: A point blank lie from a guy who wanted to be president. Pretty extraordinary. Not unheard of but still extraordinary. When you heard him and saw him do that, what went through your mind?
HUNTER: I was devastated. It was devastating. I knew he was going to do it as well, but it didn't -- even knowing he was going to do it did not prepare me for how it felt.
MORGAN: How did he think he could get away with this? That's what always struck me. He's a bright guy, a smart politician. Many people thought he had all the credentials to be president. And yet it was this incredibly reckless gamble, not just having the affair, but the baby, the cover-up, all of it was just an exacerbation of the previous reckless gamble, wasn't it? It just got bigger and worse with every twist and turn.
HUNTER: And your question is how did he think he was going to get away with it?
MORGAN: Why did he think he could get away with it, yeah?
HUNTER: I don't think he was in his right mind when he did that. Once he got caught at the Beverly Hills Hilton in 2008, he was very strange for about a month because his double life had been exposed. It was difficult. He was all over the place. He was temporarily insane. It's not the best time to invite a camera crew in your house and give an interview.
MORGAN: Talking of camera crews, there was also the infamous sex tape that you made on a trip to Uganda. Let's take a break and when we come back, we'll talk about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, FORMER CNN ANCHOR: How did you find out, really know the truth?
ELIZABETH EDWARDS, FORMER WIFE OF JOHN EDWARDS: John told me. He told me briefly after -- he told me after he had done his announcement for the run for president. It was the first time I had ever seen her. I honestly didn't know the videographer was a female. I was completely in the dark.
KING: And naive.
E. EDWARDS: And naive.
(END VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: Elizabeth Edwards in 2009 talking to Larry King about the moment John confessed to cheating on her with Rielle Hunter. Rielle is back with me now. That must feel weird, doesn't it, watching that kind of clip?
HUNTER: Yes, feels sad. .
MORGAN: What goes through your mind?
HUNTER: Nothing went through my mind, I just felt sad.
MORGAN: You began working as this videographer on the campaign. We saw a clip earlier from the documentary. On a trip to Uganda, you made a sex tape together. Again, I come back to this extraordinary risk taking. What were you both thinking? I mean, apart from that, you weren't even using birth control. It's like how did you all think this was going to end, sex tapes, no birth control? How did you think this was going to end?
HUNTER: How did I think it was going to end?
MORGAN: How could this end in anything but a catastrophic manner if this guy wants to be president?
HUNTER: That was a mistake. I'm not saying -- because you asked two things there.
MORGAN: Let's talk about the sex tape. Whose idea was that?
HUNTER: That was a mistake.
MORGAN: Whose idea was that?
HUNTER: That was a mistake. What does it matter?
MORGAN: I'm curious. Out of curiosity.
HUNTER: It doesn't matter.
MORGAN: Because people have tried to portray you as the evil svengali hooking in John Edwards and this was part of your plot. You know, get a sex tape, get it leaked, turn yourself into the Kim Kardashian of politics.
HUNTER: That's not true.
MORGAN: So it was his idea?
HUNTER: That was not true. We were in love and sleep deprived. And it was a stupid thing to do. It was a mistake.
MORGAN: Whose idea was it not to use birth control?
HUNTER: We were both adults. We didn't use birth control.
MORGAN: Why? HUNTER: We were in love.
MORGAN: What does that have to do with it. The guy is going to be president, wants to be. This seems extraordinary, these little details. Like what were you both thinking?
HUNTER: We weren't.
MORGAN: At all?
MORGAN: You've been married before?
HUNTER: I have been married before.
MORGAN: When people say you don't understand marriage, what do you say to them?
HUNTER: That I don't understand marriage?
MORGAN: You're a marriage wrecker?
HUNTER: Yes, no, I understand marriage very well. I was with my husband -- we were married for nine years, but I was with him for 12. We did a lot of couples therapy. I know what it's like to be married. I know the dynamics that go on.
MORGAN: Why did that marriage end in the end?
HUNTER: Mine? Why did it end? It ended because we didn't work. And we both realized it. And I never cheated on my husband. I'm not a big believer in infidelity. I went to my husband and said this doesn't work. We need to -- I want out. We need out. We need to talk about it.
MORGAN: I just think there's got to be a level of responsibility and self awareness, hasn't there?
HUNTER: There is.
HUNTER: I didn't wreck the marriage, though.
HUNTER: He's responsible for that. I said yes, I'm not married.
MORGAN: Are you responsible at all?
HUNTER: I am not married. I was not married when I said yes to him. I did not go there under that intention. I didn't go there for that. That's not why I went. MORGAN: But you knew he was married?
HUNTER: I did. But that's not why I went to his hotel room.
MORGAN: Let's take a break. I want to talk to you about the future, about Quinn, your daughter, and about what your biggest regret may be.
MORGAN: Back now with Rielle Hunter. You've been a bit of a butt of jokes now for five or six years, a bit of a national laughing stock, hated by people who don't even know you. What has that been like on a human level?
HUNTER: It's hard. It's very hard to have the wrath of America directed at you, especially -- and I really do want to say that I -- I am responsible for my part in this. And I do take responsibility for my part and I am not a home wrecker.
MORGAN: Here's the thing. I'm not entirely sure when you say that what you think you are responsible for, given that you think you had responsibility for the affair starting, et cetera. What are you responsible for?
HUNTER: I'm responsible for the continuing on of the cover up in a big way and the continuation and the hurt and pain that came out of that.
MORGAN: But you don't regret going to his hotel that night?
HUNTER: I don't regret loving him. I really don't.
MORGAN: That came later.
HUNTER: Yes, a couple days later.
MORGAN: Yes, but you don't regret that action of yours, as a woman who knows he's a famous guy who's married, going to his hotel room for the night, which precipitated everything else, You don't regret that?
HUNTER: I do regret. I actually regret having an affair with a married man. I do. It's an awful thing. But I don't regret loving him, once again, because of Quinn.
MORGAN: Why did you do the book? I mean, what did you hope to gain? All you've been getting is just a lot more flack.
HUNTER: Because there's so much distortion about this story. And I feel that it's unfair for my daughter and really for all the kids to have to grow up under the umbrella of negativity and distortion. Because what happens, though, is like there's all this -- this judgment based upon things that are not true. And that judgment actually affects the kids.
You know, they go to school, the kids at school, their parents have judgments. And there is all of this judgment made that John Edwards is a demon, that I'm a home wrecker, and that Elizabeth was a saint. And it's not true. And I think that my daughter deserves the truth.
MORGAN: Given all of the publicity that the book has attracted, would you have written it a different way?
HUNTER: I think that I would have edited a little differently. Because what happens when you give the media these little juicy things to take out of context and spin and create all this negativity, people can't hear anymore. They get so wrapped up in the tsunami of negativity, they can't hear what you're saying. So if you can find a way to communicate, if I can find a way to communicate better that is more neutral, so people can hear, I think that would help.
MORGAN: If John's kids are watching this, and they might well be, his daughter in particular, what would you say to her?
HUNTER: That I'm sorry for any pain that they've gone through.
MORGAN: Genuinely sorry?
HUNTER: Oh, absolutely.
MORGAN: And now you have your own child. Are you more acutely aware, as she gets older, what you put them through?
HUNTER: Yeah. Absolutely. Adults do stupid things.
MORGAN: Rielle, thank you for coming on.
HUNTER: Thanks for having me, Piers.
MORGAN: Rielle Hunter. Next, Only in America looks at a mayor's bizarre way of staying cool in the summertime.
MORGAN: For tonight's Only in America, the coolest mayor in the country. New York's Michael Bloomberg is all about conserving energy, but he also loves to travel in style, as befits a man worth 20 billion dollars. So how could he do both?
Well, here's his unique solution, one part environmental protection, one part pimp your ride. That is Bloomberg's ultra-sleek black SUV. And Jerry-rigged next to it, your standard home air conditioning unit, big and boxy and rolled up to the window to provide climate control comfort for the mayor.
He got some flak for keeping his SUV idle, so this is his brilliant scheme to deflect the flack. The problem is that the contraption, from a mayor who prides himself on being green, is about as ridiculous as you could possibly get. The AC unit is wheeled over to the Chevy Suburban, propped up and powered by extension cords that snake inside City Hall to an outlet.
It's that simple and that insane. We asked New Yorkers what they thought of the Bloomberg mobile. Here's what they said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This day in age, there's got to be a better way to put an window air conditioner in the car window, especially a guy who is worth like 100 billion dollars.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He wants to be a role model and he's saying this is how you can save energy, take your wall unit and put it in your car? The average person can't do that. It makes no sense.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He should maybe get one of those hand held fans that go -- nice, nice, two dollars.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: An aide for the mayor defended the appliance apparatus, saying, quote, this is an experiment to be used on extremely hot days like the types we saw last week. There is far less emissions corresponding to power of a single air conditioner on the grid than idling a V-8 engine, which apparently, incredibly is true. We spoke to a Columbia University professor to check all this, and he applauded the mayor for his unique approach. He says the emissions from the AC of an idling SUV are as bad as those from the world's worst coal firing power plant. Still, for a man who, as I said, is very, very, very rich, there do seem to be easier and more practical solutions. Maybe he can just wind down the window, Mr. Mayor.
That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.