Keepin' It Rielle

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
March 16 2010 12:02 PM

Keepin' It Rielle

Rielle Hunter has never been as interesting as John Edwards' weakness for her. She's a type, as Hanna explains . Passivity is her religion; she can't own a single action in her interview. She's a vessel. Sometimes cosmic forces remove her pants in front of a photographer or throw her into a hotel room with a presidential candidate, but when her belly swells and John denies paternity, well, what can she do? She just takes "whatever life brings."

The rather more captivating woman in this drama-the axis around which the Lifetime movie should turn-is Cheri Young. She would appear, in this interview with Oprah, to be the most intelligent person in her marriage. And yet she took Rielle Hunter in, lied to her children about it, and came close to pretending that her husband had impregnated his boss's mistress. She evidently shopped for Rielle Hunter, brought her groceries, and answered her children's questions about why she was grocery shopping for the strange lady in their home. What motivates a woman to so indulge her husband's obsequious relationship to another man? Why risk your own dignity in the service of turning your husband into a doormat?

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Kerry Howley's work has appeared in the Paris Review, Bookforum, and the New York Times Magazine. She is currently finishing a book about consensual violence, ecstatic experience, and the body.