June 29, 2010 / 9:16 PM / 9 years ago

Elizabeth Edwards hopes to shed "cuckolded wife" image

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Elizabeth Edwards wants to break free of her image as a “cuckolded wife” after finding some inner peace since splitting with her cheating husband and aspiring U.S. president, John Edwards.

Elizabeth Edwards speaks at the Women's Conference 2009 in Long Beach, California October 27, 2009. REUTERS/Phil McCarten

In her first TV interview since separating from two-time Democratic presidential candidate, Elizabeth Edwards told morning chat show “Today” that Edwards was no longer the person she had married 32 years ago.

Edwards, 60, said Rielle Hunter, with whom her husband fathered a child while running his 2008 presidential campaign, “is so completely unlike me that it’s hard to imagine the same person could marry me and be attracted to that — to that woman, as well.”

Excerpts of the interview. to be aired Wednesday on NBC’s “Today” program, were made available Tuesday.

John and Elizabeth Edwards announced they had separated in January after the former U.S. Senator finally publicly admitted he was the father of Hunter’s baby. He had denied for years having fathered the child.

Elizabeth Edwards was diagnosed in 2004 with breast cancer, that recurred and spread to other parts of her body in 2007.

She told People magazine in a separate interview that the cancer had since worsened and she now has tumors in her legs, spine and skull.

“It’s less frightening than you think; it can’t migrate to your brain,” she told People in an interview to be published on Friday.

Edwards told “Today” that she married “a marvelous man” but that Edwards, 57, had changed over time. “I still admire an enormous number of things about him. The things he cares about are things I think are important,” she added.

Asked whether she had found peace in her life, given her cancer and the scandal over Edwards’ affair, she replied.

“I have, I mean, I really feel I have. I still really feel I need to break free of the media imposed image. I’m not just a cuckolded wife.

“...I want to reclaim who I am. I hope the next time I am on television it’s to talk about some policy I really care about,” she said.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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