The first time most people heard the name Rielle Hunter was when the National Enquirer reported in 2007 that she was having an affair with then-presidential candidate John Edwards. As part of an investigative series that today has the weekly tabloid garnering serious consideration for a Pulitzer Prize, the paper later broke the news that Hunter had given birth to Edwards's love child. But before Hunter became synonymous with this scandal, she led a rather colorful — and quirkily high profile — life. Here, 11 things you may not have known about John Edwards's mistress:
"Rielle" is an invented name
Born Lisa Jo Druck, Hunter later experimented with several other names — including Lisa Hunter, Lisa Jo Hunter, and Rielle Jaya James Druck — before settling on her current appellation which, her publicist told People magazine, "just came to her" one day in 1994.
She's been married
Druck tried the knot with New York corporate attorney Alexander "Kip" Hunter III in 1991. The marriage lasted for ten years. When it ended, Rielle moved to Los Angeles to try her hand in the "movie business."
She appeared onscreen with Goldie Hawn
In addition to directing and starring in a little-noticed comedic short, Hunter scored a few bit parts as a film actress over the years. Her most notable was in the 1987 Goldie Hawn flick "Overboard." (See Hunter's "Overboard" cameo appearance here)
Her Dad took out a hit on her horse
Rielle's father, James Druck, concocted a bizarre insurance fraud scheme that involved paying a hit man to kill his daughter's prized filly, Henry the Hawk, by electrocution. The plot came to light, but Mr. Druck died before federal prosecutors indicted him for the crime.
Edwards isn't her first celebrity hookup
After dropping out of college at the age of 20, Druck moved to New York, where she joined a drug-fueled, hard-partying bar scene and met novelist Jay McInerney. The two dated briefly, and remain friends today.
She's a literary muse
"Intrigued and appalled" by Druck's hard-partying ways, McInerney used her as basis for the character of Alison Poole in his 1988 novel, "Story of My Life." In the book, he describes Poole as "cocaine-addled" and "sexually voracious." Poole has since reappeared in several of fellow novelist Bret Easton Ellis's works, including "American Psycho."
She's also a theatrical muse
According to People magazine, Hunter's husband financed production of a play for her in 1995. Titled "Savage in Limbo," the show told the story of "a group of tough 30-something New Yorkers" coming of age.
She's no stranger to tabloid scandal
Hunter's former father-in-law, Alexander Munro Hunter, was the Boulder district attorney who led the high profile — but ultimately unsuccessful — search for JonBenet Ramsey's killer.
She's pretty New Agey
As part of an effort to detox from her drug-fueled party life in New York, she visited a spiritual healer. She also compared her paramour John Edwards to Gandhi and said his wife Elizabeth "does not give off good energy."
She helped pioneer "YouTube politics"
In 2006, Hunter created a series of short promotional videos for John Edwards. The four-part series, "Inspiring Politics: A Webisode Series Following John Edwards," was remarkable in that it was one of the first to be made solely for Internet viewing. Hunter received recognition from BusinessWeek magazine for her "innovative" work.
She won $500 as a game show contestant
Hunter was a contestant on "Limbo," an American game show which enjoyed brief popularity in its one year run between 1987 and 1988. The crossword puzzle-like show, which requires contestants to guess a five-letter word, earned Hunter $500. (See Hunter in "Limbo" here)
SEE THE WEEK'S LATEST COVERAGE OF RIELLE HUNTER:
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• Video Report: John Edwards proposes to Rielle Hunter