Cate Edwards Breaks Her Silence

The 28-year-old daughter of John and Elizabeth Edwards decides to set the record straight about her mom

Cate Edwards has every reason to be bitter. Every reason to be upset. Every reason to lash out.

But for all the problems and failings her parents have (so publicly) been going through, causing her pain, Cate is now demonstrating that they certainly raised a gracious, compassionate, mature daughter who knows how to take the high road. And finally, she's ready to share her perspective with the public.

Speaking out for the first time since the cascade of revelations about her dad -- former senator and one-time presidential contender John Edwards, whose extramarital affair resulted in the 2008 birth of a baby daughter -- Cate, 28, says in the new issue of People magazine that, indeed, her life has been "savaged" by people she "never invited into it."

Beyond that description of the scandal's consequences, the Princteon and Harvard grad doesn't elaborate in her first-person essay, "The Mom I Know." But clearly, she's referring to the devastation wrought by her father’s long-secret relationship with Rielle Hunter. Ever since the truth about her dad came to light, following his failed run for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Cate's had to deal with her parents’ separation and, of course, the battle with metastatic stage 4 breast cancer being waged by her mom, Elizabeth Edwards.

It’s a lot for any young woman to take, but Cate -- a law clerk for a federal judge in D.C. -- definitely seems resilient, a necessary trait for someone whose family's problems play out in the public eye. She uses the People forum to make clear that she learned a thing or two from her mother (whose 2009 memoir, Resilience, now out in paperback, has a new final chapter about the end of the Edwards’ marriage).

Cate says Elizabeth, 60, imparted to her the wisdom of “never giving up on your passions or purpose no matter what obstacles -- like grief or disease -- get in your way.” She speaks lovingly of the parenting advice (wear solids, choose the right kitchen decor) that she feels exemplifies her doting mom. It's almost as if Cate's testifying in a kind of counter-argument to former Edwards aide Andrew Young, whose memoir The Politician included scathing depictions of Elizabeth as callous and vindictive.

And have you ever wondered if Cate's estranged from, or resentful toward, her wayward father? Surprisingly, Cate says she remains on good terms with the disgraced senator. “My dad and I are still close,” she tells People. “We’re working on rebuilding a family,” which includes her younger siblings, Jack, 10 and Emma, 12.

Surely, her parents never wanted Cate’s life to be difficult, but the travails she's endured may just have forged the strength of character she'll need to be an example for her young siblings as they grow up (and perhaps for little Quinn, the 2-year-old half-sister whom Cate has reportedly never met). As tawdry as the John Edwards scandal became, at least he and Elizabeth can take comfort in knowing they raised a class act.

Are you surprised that Cate Edwards decided to speak out? Chime in below!

Like This? Read These:
- Elizabeth Edwards on Today: “I Want to Reclaim My Life”
- What Was Rielle Hunter's Goal in Opening Up to Oprah?
- PHOTOS: They Moved On! 10 Strong Women After Breakup
- PHOTOS: Cheating Hearts: What Makes Famous Men Stray?

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