RALEIGH, N.C. — Elizabeth Edwards has separated from her husband, two-time presidential candidate John Edwards, after a tumultuous three years in which the couple's marital troubles became tabloid fodder.
Andrea Purse, a friend of Elizabeth Edwards, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the couple has separated. She released a statement on behalf of the 60-year-old mother of four that said, "Elizabeth is moving on with her life and wants to put this difficult chapter behind her."
North Carolina law requires couples to be separated for a year before divorcing.
The announcement comes as details emerge from a tell-all book by longtime Edwards aide Andrew Young, who initially claimed that he fathered a child with John Edwards' mistress in the weeks leading up to the crucial presidential primaries. John Edwards publicly declared last week that he was the father of the child with Rielle Hunter, who worked as a videographer before his second presidential campaign in 2008.
Young's book details how Edwards went to great lengths to hide the affair. In excerpts from an ABC News interview, Young said that Edwards asked him to find a doctor who might fake a paternity test and asked him to steal a diaper from the baby, now almost 2, to determine whether it was really his. He also claims that the married couple sought to politicize her cancer diagnosis.
The statement released on behalf of Elizabeth Edwards said she will not engage in a dialogue on "false charges" in the book.
"Based on the limited portions of the book that have been made available, it is clear it contains many falsehoods and exaggerations," she said.
Elizabeth Edwards has an incurable form of cancer that returned in 2007 as the couple was campaigning for the presidency. She said in an interview with The Associated Press last week that her health got worse for a period but has been recently improving.
John Edwards, a former North Carolina senator and 2004 Democratic vice presidential candidate, has largely stayed secluded since first admitting the affair in August 2008. He denied fathering a child with Hunter at that time. He has acknowledged a federal investigation into his campaign finances.
Edwards spent part of last week in Haiti helping with earthquake relief efforts.