John Edwards was the running mate of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004. Edwards is the son of a millworker; he attended North Carolina State University and then earned a law degree from the University of North Carolina in 1977. Over the next two decades he made his name in North Carolina as a trial lawyer who represented “the little guy” in lawsuits against large companies, frequently winning huge cash awards for his clients. In 1998, in his first run for political office, he defeated incumbent Republican Lauch Faircloth to become North Carolina’s junior senator. (With his Southern roots, telegenic good looks and energetic populist style, Edwards was often compared at the time to Bill Clinton.) Edwards himself ran for the Democratic party’s presidential nomination in 2004, despite being a relative unknown nationally. He surprised political pundits by making a strong run before finally accepting the #2 spot on the ticket behind Kerry. (They were defeated by GOP incumbents George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.) Having run for vice-president rather than for reelection to the Senate, he ended his single term in the Senate in 2005 and was succeeded by a Republican, Richard Burr. Edwards again ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, but withdrew in January of 2008 after trailing Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama through the early primaries.
John Edwards split from his wife, Elizabeth, in early 2010 after admitting he had fathered a child by another woman, Rielle Hunter, in February of 2008. The birth (and his relationship with Hunter) was kept secret at the time, and Edwards did not publicly admit his paternity until 2010.
Edwards married Elizabeth (birth name Mary Elizabeth Anania) in 1977; she graduated from UNC’s law school the same year. Their four children are Wade (b. 1980), Cate (b. 1982), Emma Claire (b. 1998) and Jack (b. 2000). Their son Wade died at age 16 in a 1996 traffic accident, and Elizabeth Edwards died 7 December 2010 from cancer… Edwards should not be confused with television psychic John Edward.