Return to Transcripts main page
PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Interview with Melissa Etheridge; Interview with Rielle Hunter
Aired August 25, 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, a rock icon with a message for America. Superstar Melissa Etheridge passionate about her music.
MORGAN: -- and her opinions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELISSA ETHERIDGE, ROCK ICON: I think it has done us more harm believing in the huge differences between left and right, Democrat and Republican.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: 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?
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
MORGAN: You only have to hear Melissa Etheridge once and you'll never forget her. That voice, "Come to my Window," "I'm the Only One," no else can sing those songs quite like she does. She's a two-time Grammy winner, Oscar winner. Also known for being outspoken on all kinds of issues close to her heart.
Melissa joins me now, welcome.
ETHERIDGE: Nice to be here.
MORGAN: You're a kind of fiery, emotional, soulful character, aren't you -- on and often stage?
ETHERIDGE: I'm just trying to live this interesting life we all have in front of us. Just making some choices.
MORGAN: When you look at your extraordinary life professional and personal, how do you feel now about where you've arrived, where you are right now?
ETHERIDGE: I think at this point, I'm 51 now, I've realized, oh, it's just a journey. You never get there. You never get it done. It's all about how you're doing it.
MORGAN: That is so true.
ETHERIDGE: I mean, really.
MORGAN: You're never actually going to arrive, are you?
MORGAN: This train never gets to a station.
ETHERIDGE: It does not. There is no there "there." And for myself who -- you know, I've achieved some of those markers that you think, oh, the Oscar, those things. And each time, I go, there's no there here. That's nice, that's great. But it's about how am I doing. And how's this journey.
MORGAN: What's been the best pit stop on your journey so far? What's been the moment if I could replay it for you, you'd relive?
MORGAN: Can't be children or the women in your life.
ETHERIDGE: No. I don't want to relive that.
MORGAN: Got to be something else.
ETHERIDGE: No, it's been great.
On stage with Bruce Springsteen.
MORGAN: Really? When was that?
ETHERIDGE: That was 1994 unplugged, MTV. They said, "Do you want to duet with anyone?" I said, "Well, I've always wanted to sing with Bruce." You know, who doesn't? And he said yes. He came in.
It was one of those, like, God, if I could stop time right now.
MORGAN: At that moment, as the door opens and out comes the Boss and it's unplugged. So, it's acoustic.
ETHERIDGE: So, it's him and I singing "Thunder Road."
MORGAN: Wow. Wow.
ETHERIDGE: Yes, wow. I wanted it to stop and it went on and I couldn't hold it, but I have the video.
MORGAN: Was it as good as you always hoped?
ETHERIDGE: Yes, looking back on it. In the moment, moments are funny. In the now, you have to learn to love when you're going through it. Looking back at it, oh, yes, absolutely.
MORGAN: I want to play a clip from come to my window and talk to you about love and romance after this. You write about it all the time. I'm going to grill you.
ETHERIDGE: Oh, no.
(MUSIC VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MORGAN: That to me is what -- that is American music at its best. That's the kind of music you want to get your little Chevy, get on the, you know, I don't know the Pacific Coast highway, get the shades on, ramp up the Etheridge, isn't it?
ETHERIDGE: Yes. I write songs for people who drive in cars. I really do.
MORGAN: You're right to do that, because most people spent a lot of time in cars, listening to music, wanting to feel something.
ETHERIDGE: That's what I want to help them get, from point A to point B.
MORGAN: Now one of my favorite questions I ask all guests -- I normally leave it until the end, when they're all warmed up, I get the feeling you won't need warming up.
ETHERIDGE: I'm pretty warm.
MORGAN: So I normally look at them in the eye and say, now come on, how many times have you been properly in love? You sing about love and heartbreak and agony and torment, the joys and the despair of love and romance. So come on. Come on, you great love writer singer you.
ETHERIDGE: Love, love. I'm in love with love.
MORGAN: How many times have you been properly in love?
ETHERIDGE: In terms of what? I thought I was in love.
MORGAN: That doesn't count.
ETHERIDGE: OK. Properly in love?
ETHERIDGE: I love the way you English say that --
ETHERIDGE: -- like there's anything proper about being in love.
I am for the first time properly in love, because I am now in love with myself. And that is the only way I can be properly in love with someone else.
MORGAN: So, before you felt that you'd been in love, but you haven't been able to give that person the whole you?
ETHERIDGE: Well, I -- myself was, I felt owed; they'll fill this up. If I have that person, I can fill this up.
And you can't. And they can't. We're living two different realities. Everyone is.
And so to think that something -- to think that adding someone to you is going to make you whole, you're in for a big drop.
So now, and understand it's about loving myself that's the only way I can be in a good relationship is to love myself, to work on myself, to be the best me for my children, for my partner. That's being in love. Then, you can offer love to someone else.
MORGAN: Have you cracked it, then? Have you cracked the Holy Grail of love now?
ETHERIDGE: Have I cracked the Holy Grail of love?
MORGAN: Terribly cheesy phrase, I know.
ETHERIDGE: It is. But I'm trying to --
MORGAN: You know what I mean.
ETHERIDGE: -- a good, you know, King Arthur reference back to you, and I can't quite. If I -- you know, Guinevere is out there. But you know, even then, it --
ETHERIDGE: Maybe. Again, it's a journey. It's -- there is no getting it done.
MORGAN: You see, my theory about singer-songwriters is that you basically have to go through all the misery to write great songs. All your best work -- and if I'm wrong, basically, the negative stuff isn't it? Because it's when you're the most searing, isn't it?
ETHERIDGE: Well, it depends on how you look at it . Even my most searing, you know, "I'm the Only One," it's still -- there's -- I've tried never to be, oh, you just killed me and I can't go on. I've tried to be, oh, that really makes me angry you're doing that, but I'm better, you know, nobody loves you like the way I do, you know, that --
MORGAN: Can you write good stuff if you're really happy?
MORGAN: Can you?
MORGAN: So, doesn't it become inevitably quite schmaltzy?
ETHERIDGE: Well, it depends what -- am I writing about being happy? No. I can be happy, yet understand that I still -- there's still a shadow side to me. There's still --
MORGAN: So from a purely professional point of view --
MORGAN: -- from the artistry of your songwriting, if I said, write, you can be in this kind of existential state of pure bliss for the next 30 years, or torment, which would produce the better music, the better songs?
ETHERIDGE: See, as you ask me that, this state of bliss you're talking about cannot exist without the other side, without the darker side.
MORGAN: Yes, but I have the power to give you just bliss or misery.
ETHERIDGE: But I don't want just bliss.
MORGAN: No, but you know what I'm getting at.
MORGAN: If I was able -
MORGAN: -- to bestow the power.
MORGAN: What would produce the better songs?
ETHERIDGE: The contrast of misery, of course, is going to -- the contrast, that -- it's the desire to be out of that, into the bliss.
MORGAN: Bob Dylan would have been absolutely hopeless if he hadn't been basically incredibly pissed off --
ETHERIDGE: Yes. I'd rather live nice. OK.
MORGAN: Let's turn to politics. I know you like your politics and you've been very vocal about this. It's been a big year for the gay and lesbian community in America. Are you happy with the speed of the advances in the rights that have now been bestowed down? Or are you still thinking, you know what, a lot of talk, not enough action?
ETHERIDGE: Having been on the journey of getting towards gay and lesbian rights, equality, understanding, diversity in America, 20 years ago, started the, you know, no, I was hoping in 10 years it would all be -- we'd all feel comfortable about it.
But this is -- this is deep-seated fear that comes, you know, religion and all kinds of things involved. So this change, this change of paradigm of understanding, love, relationship, family, society, takes time. Are we moving in that direction? Absolutely.
MORGAN: You grew up in Kansas. You get (INAUDIBLE). I know when I grew up, gay was a bad word. Homo, lezzy, faggot, dike, ignorance and fear ruled the day. There were so many thems back then, the blacks, the poor, you know, them.
MORGAN: Then there was the immigrants. Them. Now the them is me.
It was a very poignant way of putting it. But do you feel that the them that is you and those who are, again, lesbian like you, are in a much better position now that you have a president prepared to go on television and say, "I support"?
ETHERIDGE: Absolutely. I do think that was a big tipping point in this movement, in the movement toward equality and the recognition of diversity. That it's very important to be able to say, oh, well, my president said he's for it. You know? It actually -- having it be enacted at a federal level, that's a ways off.
MORGAN: When you go back to Kansas, is it better there in reality? Is there more tolerance?
ETHERIDGE: Tolerance, you know, I don't even like to use the word tolerance.
MORGAN: What's the right word?
ETHERIDGE: Because it sounds like, you know, I'm doing something that you have to tolerate.
MORGAN: Yes. ETHERIDGE: Diversity -- recognizing that there is no us and them, that everybody -- you can divide us up any way between anything, sexually, color, religion, we're all different --
MORGAN: But you feel it's getting better, even in states like Kansas?
ETHERIDGE: Especially Kansas, because I came from the Kansas in the '60s, which was the middle of the civil rights movement. And Kansas was always that neutral, even in the Civil War, was that neutral state, where we're not South, we're not North. And they've held that.
They're just good, hardworking people that, you know, want to do unto others. And they understand what that means.
MORGAN: We're facing an election coming up in November. You have actually performed at the Democratic Conversation in 2008. And Barack Obama's facing one hell of a fight, many people assume, in November.
What do you think of his record in the last four years? And what do you think is the potential prospect of a Mitt Romney presidency?
ETHERIDGE: OK. My politics have evolved from -- very similar actually to the "us and them" we're talking about. I think it has done us more harm believing in the huge differences between left and right, Democrat and Republican, and that there definitely is differences socially.
Now I'm a little skeptical, having seen the last 20 years of Democrat and Republican. They're still moving the same multinational corporation agenda forward. So I have a -- I'm starting to go, wait a minute. I think there needs to be a little alternative. I'm starting to get really progressive here, whether it's Democrat or Republican.
So socially, of course, I would love to see the Democratic Party still control some of these issues that are moving forward. Physically, I think it's the same thing. I think.
MORGAN: It's quite depressing.
ETHERIDGE: I know.
MORGAN: You feel depressed even as you say that.
ETHERIDGE: Well, not depressed, but again, it feels like I'm -- actually feel what a lot of people are feeling. It's like I'm really tired of this us and them business. Republicans and Democrats and they're horrible things.
It only makes us -- when we all really want the same thing. We want lower taxes. We want better systems, better schools. We want strong businesses.
And to divide ourselves like this is just hurting us. And we've got to learn to get together on this or we're just -- we're sunk.
MORGAN: I could not agree more. Let's take a break. Come back, I want to talk to you about music, obviously.
I've been handed this exotic thing. It's very cool.
And also I want to talk to you about your extraordinary battle with cancer, the effect on your life seems very profound, that whole period in your life.
MORGAN: "Falling Up", the first single from Ms. Etheridge's new album, "Fourth Street Feeling."
Melissa's back with me now.
Tell me about this album, because you say, you know, I'm just reading a direct quote here, that "I believed in myself more on this album than I ever have before." It's your 14th album.
What -- is that linked to what you said to me, that basically you've learned to love yourself?
ETHERIDGE: Yes. It's my 12th album. And --
MORGAN: Oh, 12th. I do apologize. Twelfth, 14th --
ETHERIDGE: My fans would write to you if --
ETHERIDGE: Yes, this came from a place of, oh, I'm -- I had gone to England, where I hadn't been in, you know, 20 years in some of these places. And they were still listening to my music, loving my music.
And it -- I went, wait a minute, why am I getting down on myself? Why don't I believe in myself the way that my audience does, my fans do?
So I went in the studio, played all the guitars, had a blast, made songs that I wanted to play live and really didn't think about anything else.
MORGAN: I once interviewed Andrew Lloyd Webber. And he told me that he came up with the music to "Memory," I think it was, whilst buying tomatoes at his Spanish grocery store.
And I was like, is that really how this happened to you, musical geniuses? Do you get this? I mean, do you literally just in random places, suddenly hear some incredible melody -
ETHERIDGE: There's one right there.
MORGAN: But do you?
ETHERIDGE: Yes, you can. And sometimes it's quite annoying, and you have to say, later, please come back to me later, and little, like the iPhone is great to put something down. It does -- it's the -- I think Bob Dylan once said there's a whole stream of consciousness that you grab onto something at the moment. And if you don't get it, it goes onto somebody else.
And I do believe that artists just know how to reach into there and be -- open that channel and bring that in. And part of the craft of it is knowing, OK. I'm at the store; I can't do this now. But I'm going to set some time aside and be able to pull it and do it when you --
MORGAN: What is the longest period you've ever had, where you literally couldn't write a song, of any quality at all?
ETHERIDGE: Wow, well, I started writing when I was 10.
MORGAN: Do you get long blank periods, though?
ETHERIDGE: No, I don't. I give myself periods where I don't try to write, especially -- like right now. I'm in a not-writing period.
Songs will come to me and I'll jot stuff down, but I don't have to write. And I never have really held it in a way, going, I have to write. And I'm not writing at all and never gotten that way. I just believe that it'll be there when --
MORGAN: You famously battled breast cancer. You came through. It was in 2004 you were diagnosed. Your father had died of cancer before. You said afterwards, it was the best thing that ever happened to me.
Why did you feel that?
ETHERIDGE: I was being a good grownup. I was working very hard. I was trying to be thin. I was eating power bars every day and drinking lattes and --
MORGAN: Disgusting, aren't they? Power bars. Seriously.
ETHERIDGE: And it's not food. It's not.
And so by my body breaking down and forcing me to be still, that was the biggest thing, to actually just be -- I'd never been still -- been working since I was 12. And be still and let the whole world pass me by and actually give me time to contemplate my life, my spirit, my health, what is my health? What is this cancer?
And then getting back up after the treatment, saying, oh. I'm going to walk now, remembering what it was like, like that. And start my life in a balanced health, everything I eat, everything I feel, everything I think. That's health. MORGAN: You've publicly supported California's Proposition 19 in favor of medical marijuana. You said at the time, "I don't want to look like a criminal to my children any more. I want them to know there's a choice that you make as a responsible adult."
If, God forbid, you were struck again by cancer, it came back or whatever, would you take marijuana?
ETHERIDGE: Oh, yes. Absolutely. I actually -- I'm a card-holding medicinal marijuana registered person in California. And I use it as medicine to help the gastrointestinal issues I have after chemotherapy.
At the time when I was going through chemotherapy, I used it as medicine to help me sleep, to relieve pain. It -- there are not just cannabis. There are many plant medicines that are available to us that have a lot of stigma around them that I hope, in the future, our medical community can look at, because I would absolutely go to those alternatives first before I went back to Western medicine.
MORGAN: You're currently on tour, hitting 27 cities in the next three months. The new album, "4th Street Feeling," we're talking about, is available September the 4th. What is next in the empire building of Melissa Etheridge? What do you want to be in five years' time?
ETHERIDGE: I want to still be creating. I would love to create more for stage. I want to --
MORGAN: Do you have one great ambition? I mean, Broadway show or --
ETHERIDGE: Yes, I do. I do have an ambition for a Broadway show. I'm actually working on one right now. A couple of these songs come from the project that I'm working on.
I would love to write for more films. I just love creating and I -- touring. I love what I do. I just want to keep doing it.
MORGAN: Well, the most important thing to me is you keep writing music for me and my car.
ETHERIDGE: And your car.
MORGAN: Melissa, it's been a real pleasure.
(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.
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.