A sex-scandal mistress with the moral high ground? Newsweek thinks so.
While it is true that we've heard little and seen less on that front, most of us thought that it was because she was getting paid a pretty penny to stay mum. Or just that she was still sooo in love with John Edwards that she was off somewhere tending their nest and planning their Dave Matthews wedding.
Dignity was not the word on our lips -- but should it have been?
"Character comes out in a sex scandal," the author, Jonathan Darman, argues. And while we were all busy watching the myth of "Saint Elizabeth" and her "Plastic Ken Doll" implode, Rielle Hunter was sitting on the sidelines... quietly dignified.
In the early days, Americans came to think of her in the sleaziest terms: the former party girl who used sexual wiles and New Age mumbo jumbo to steal Elizabeth's husband. Most self-respecting women would feel compelled to say something, anything, in their own defense. And most modern mistresses would do much more than that. A fame-chasing Rielle would have come forward in the first days of her sex scandal, even if it meant defying John's wishes. She would have talked and talked as the interviews declined in influence, the sad journey from Barbara Walters to Billy Bush. By now she'd have finished her book tour. We'd see her hawking an Internet sex column or sharing Twitpics of Quinn to thousands of followers. [Source: Newsweek]
But instead, we don't. Instead we have "quiet dignity." And here's what it looks like:
1) She turns the other cheek.
Darman begins his piece by quoting some of the rather high-profile meanness said about her. John Edwards calls her "a crazy slut." Elizabeth Edwards refers to her as "this woman" seeking her family's "joy and plenty" for herself. Andrew Young characterizes her as a "very demanding and self-absorbed person" who will eat your family's salad with her bare hands.
He then writes, "Now a sampling of the things that Rielle Hunter has said publicly in those two years, outside of prepared statements from her attorneys and court affidavits: Nothing."
2) She keeps her mouth shut.
Not only to the naysayers mentioned above, but to the hungry media machine.
When the story broke, Rielle seemed the last person capable of keeping her mouth shut. She was said to consult psychics for advice and to confide details of her affair in friends with names like "Pigeon." And yet, for two years, she has behaved with more public dignity than any other figure in the Edwards scandal. In fact, she acted with more discipline and discretion than any mistress in the recent history of sex scandals."
3) She wants her sex tape back.
And is willing to bring out some big-time legal muscle.
4) She has not made a profit.
Unlike those other "other women," Rielle has not signed a deal to become a jeans spokesmodel (Donna Rice), nor designed her own line of handbags (Lewinsky), nor taken up writing an advice column (Dupre).
What do you think? Is Rielle Hunter quietly dignified?
Just for fun, here's one of the webisodes she filmed during the John Edwards Presidential campaign: