John Edwards Fast Facts

CNN  — 

Here is a look at the life of John Edwards, former senator from North Carolina.


Birth date: June 10, 1953

Birth place: Seneca, South Carolina

Birth name: Johnny Reid Edwards

Father: Wallace Edwards, textile mill worker

Mother: Catherine “Bobbie” (Wade) Edwards, postal worker

Marriage: Elizabeth (Anania) Edwards (July 30, 1977-December 7, 2010, her death)

Children: with Rielle Hunter: Frances Quinn Hunter; with Elizabeth Edwards: Jack, Emma Claire, Cate and Wade

Education: North Carolina State University, B.S., 1974 (with honors); University of North Carolina, J.D., 1977 (with honors)

Religion: Methodist

Other Facts

Candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008, and Democratic nominee for vice president in 2004.

Edwards had no previous political experience before winning the 1998 Senate election.

He was the first person in his family to attend college.

As a presidential candidate in the 2008 election, Edwards repeatedly lied about an extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter, a documentary filmmaker. He admitted the affair to ABC News on August 8, 2008.


1981 - Joins the Wade Smith Law Firm in Raleigh, North Carolina.

1993 - Starts his own law firm with partner David Kirby, concentrating on personal injury law.

1996 - Edwards’ son Wade dies in a car accident.

1998 - Receives 51.2% of the vote in general election to Republican Lauch Faircloth’s (incumbent) 47% to win seat in the US Senate.

January 3, 1999 - Is sworn in as senator.

June 29, 2001 - Edwards and Senator John McCain act as chief sponsors of the Bipartisan Patient Protection Act.

January 2, 2003 - Announces the formation of a presidential campaign exploratory committee with the Federal Election Commission.

September 16, 2003 - Formally announces his candidacy for president in the town where he grew up, Robbins, North Carolina.

October 14, 2003 - Announces that he will not vote for the $87 billion Iraq aid package.v

January 19, 2004 - Takes second place in the Iowa caucuses with 32% of the vote.

February 3, 2004 - Wins the South Carolina Primary with 45% of the votes, second in Oklahoma and Missouri.

March 3, 2004 - Announces that he is dropping out of the race.

July 6, 2004 - John Kerry, Democratic presidential candidate, names Edwards as his vice presidential running mate.

August 2004 - Edwards’ book, “Four Trials,” is published.

November 3, 2004 - Kerry calls President George W. Bush to concede the White House race.

January 3, 2005 - Leaves the US Senate when his term expires.

February 2005 - Becomes the director of the Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

December 27, 2006 - Announces at an event in New Orleans that he is running for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

March 22, 2007 - Announces that his wife Elizabeth’s cancer has returned after three years of remission, but he is continuing with his presidential campaign.

January 30, 2008 - Edwards announces that he’s suspending his race for the Democratic nomination. He declines to endorse either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

February 27, 2008 - Frances Quinn Hunter is born. No father is listed on the birth certificate.

May 14, 2008 - Edwards endorses Obama as the Democratic candidate for president.

August 8, 2008 - In an interview with Nightline, Edwards admits to an extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter, a woman hired to make documentary videos for his campaign. He denies he is the father of her young daughter, due to the timing of the affair, though he hasn’t taken a paternity test.

February 2009 - The Justice Department opens an investigation into Edwards’ 2008 campaign finances.

May 2009 - Elizabeth Edwards publishes a memoir, “Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life’s Adversities.” She addresses the affair saying, “I wanted him to drop out of the race, protect our family from this woman, from his act.”

August 6, 2009 - Hunter testifies in front of a grand jury investigating Edwards’ campaign finances.

January 21, 2010 - Admits he fathered a daughter, Quinn, with Hunter and has been providing financial support for her for the last year.

January 27, 2010 - Separates from his wife of more than 32 years.

January 30, 2010 - “The Politician: An Insider’s Account of John Edwards’s Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down,” by his former aide, Andrew A. Young, is published. Young claims campaign donation money from socialite Bunny Mellon was used to pay for Hunter’s pregnancy expenses.

December 2010 - A federal investigation into Edwards campaign finances includes grand jury appearances by Mellon’s family. Mellon gave various checks totaling $700,000 to Edwards. The question is whether the money was a gift or should it have been declared campaign contributions. Her advanced age, 100, makes it unlikely Mellon herself will appear before the grand jury.

December 7, 2010 - Elizabeth Edwards dies of cancer.

February 2011 - Mellon testifies on camera in the Edwards investigation.

February 8, 2011 - Edwards gives a deposition in the lawsuit of Hunter against Young. Hunter is suing Young to reclaim materials that she says belong to her, including an alleged sex tape that involves Edwards.

April 29, 2011 - A North Carolina judge rules that Edwards must testify again in the lawsuit of Hunter against Young.

June 3, 2011 - Edwards is indicted on six counts including conspiracy, issuing false statements, and violating campaign contribution laws. Edwards pleads not guilty. “There’s no question I’ve done wrong … but I did not break the law.”

July 21, 2011 - The Federal Election Commission rules that Edwards will have to pay back over $2 million in federal matching funds given to his 2008 campaign for president.

December 22, 2011 - Edwards’ attorneys ask to delay his criminal trial, saying Edwards has an unspecified medical issue.

January 14, 2012 - Due to a critical heart condition, Edwards’ trial is postponed.

February 2012 - The civil lawsuit between Hunter and Young is settled. The settlement mandates the imminent destruction of sex tapes featuring Edwards and Hunter.

April 23, 2012 - Edwards’ trial begins.

May 18, 2012 - Jury deliberations begin.

May 31, 2012 - On their ninth day of deliberations, the jury reaches a not guilty verdict on count 3 and deadlocks on the other five counts. Judge Catherine Eagles declares a mistrial.

June 13, 2012 - The Justice Department formally dismisses the remaining charges against Edwards.

June 26, 2012 - Hunter’s book “What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter, and Me” is published. She also announces that she and Edwards are no longer a couple.

May 17, 2013 - Edwards reactivates his license to practice law.

November 18, 2013 - Edwards announces the formation of Edwards Kirby Attorneys at Law. The North Carolina firm reunites Edwards with Kirby, his former law partner.