Wednesday, January 27, 2010

John and Elizabeth Edwards Legally Separated

With John Edwards' electrifying U.S. Senate win in 1998, it was his wife Elizabeth Edwards who captivated the nation. A strong, smart, resilient woman, she became one of her husband's greatest political strengths.

"He was young and good looking and charming [and] his wife did not fit Hollywood's central casting of what a political wife should look like. She was a little bit heavy-set. She was an attorney in her own right. She was somebody who was his intellectual equal, if not intellectual superior. She let people know that," said Democratic political consultant Joe Sinsheimer. "John was the dashing figure and Elizabeth was the anchor and that's the way they sold themselves to the people of North Carolina."

But behind their public persona as the golden couple, during his second run for president, there was another side to Elizabeth Edwards who was secretly dealing with the slow leakage of her husband's affair and her cancer diagnosis.

As a torrent of fresh details from the scandal cascaded into the media today, a source close to Elizabeth Edwards told ABC News that she and John are now legally separated. Under North Carolina law they can't get divorced until at least a year later. John Edwards is no longer living at their home in Chapel Hill, ABC News has learned.

When Elizabeth learned in March 2007 that her breast cancer had returned, it became part of the couple's political calculations in his presidential run, according to Edwards' former aide Andrew Young who has written a tell-all book "The Politician." The book will be released Jan. 30.

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