In her first TV interview since John Edwards claimed paternity of her 2-year-old daughter, Rielle Hunter told Oprah Winfrey she is not a home wrecker.
"It is not my experience that a third party wrecks a home," Hunter said on The Oprah Winfrey Show Thursday. "I believe the problems exist before a third party comes into the picture."
"A lot of people bought into the myth of the marriage. I mean, the Edwards marriage as being a storybook story and it was so perfect and so wonderful," she said. "He wanted to be with me, and their marriage had problems for many, many years."
In her sit-down with Winfrey, the 46-year-old Hunter recalled meeting the former presidential candidate for the first time in February 2006 and running into him again later that night.
"He came around the corner and saw me standing on the street, and he lit up. He was just so excited - I mean, just lit up," she said. "I just turned to him and said, 'You're so hot.' And he practically jumped in my arms."
Edwards, 56, later invited her to his hotel room to discuss how he could help her and, although Hunter would not say if she did or did not spend the night, she had no personal intentions. "I had no plans, none at all," she said. "Just my heart felt I could help him."
After that, she and Edwards began talking on the phone daily for four hours at a time and Hunter was hired in July 2006 as a videographer for Edwards' campaign. Hunter said Edwards was aware she was not using birth control when daughter Frances Quinn was conceived in May 2007.
Since admitting he was Frances Quinn's father in January, Edwards and his wife of 32 years, Elizabeth, have separated.
"Do I think I hurt Elizabeth? You would have to ask Elizabeth that," Hunter said. "I don't know the answer to that."
Hunter said that Edwards regularly visits their child and provides both mother and daughter with financial support. Although Hunter stated she loves Edwards and believes that he loves her, she would not say if they are in a relationship. "I'm a private person. It's hard," she said. "Right now, I need a boundary on my personal life."