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John Edwards admits paternity of Rielle Hunter's baby

John Edwards (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Your questions answered about ... John Edwards's love child

The sad, messy tale of the former presidential hopeful took another turn Thursday when he finally admitted paternity of Frances Quinn Hunter, his nearly-2-year-old daughter with mistress Rielle Hunter.

"I am Quinn's father," John Edwards said in a statement. "I will do everything in my power to provide her with the love and support she deserves. ... It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter and hopefully one day, when she understands, she will forgive me." He also apologized to everyone he disappointed and hurt: "These words will never be enough, but I am truly sorry."

The statement answered one question, but left so many more:

Why now?

Edwards and Hunter have reached an agreement on child support, according to Harrison Hickman, Edwards's close friend and political adviser. Edwards consulted wife Elizabeth, his parents, Hunter and others about the admission: "He engaged all these people in his life over when and how to release this statement, and there were different opinions at different times," Hickman told us. Edwards also wanted to talk to his children (ages 27, 11 and 9) before it was released to the public.

Anything else?

The statement is probably a preemptive strike against Andrew Young, the Edwards aide who originally claimed responsibility for Hunter's baby and has written "The Politician," his account of the cover-up; the book comes out in two weeks. Young told ABC News that Edwards asked him to "get a doctor to fake the DNA results" and to "steal a diaper from the baby so he could secretly do a DNA test to find out if this [was] indeed his child."

What was Elizabeth Edwards's reaction to the statement?

She told the Associated Press on Thursday: "John feels relieved that this is behind him, I'm pretty sure, and I think our whole family feels relieved." But she's not talking about reports that the couple has separated: "I'm not going to talk about our marital status" and declined to discuss their future together. "If somebody has a crystal ball, they can let me know."
What's the latest on Hunter?

Hunter hasn't spoken to anyone except the grand jury investigating whether Edwards improperly funneled campaign money to her during the affair. News reports say she's living in a $535,000 house in Charlotte -- about two hours from the Edwards family home near Chapel Hill, N.C.

And the baby?

Quinn turns two at the end of next month. Edwards's statement said he has spent time with her during the past year, and Elizabeth Edwards said she has also seen the baby -- without the mother present.

And last, where is Edwards?

He spent the weekend at his beach house (and a photographer with a telephoto lens perched next door). He arrived in Haiti on Thursday as part of an earthquake relief team.

By The Reliable Source  |  January 22, 2010; 1:03 AM ET
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