AFTER HER memoir was published in June 2012, I figured we wouldn't hear much more from Rielle Hunter, because really, what more was left to say?
A lot, apparently. And that's why Hunter is back in the headlines this week, full of apology for her Jezebel behavior she chronicled so ickily in last year's What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter, and Me.
In that tell-all, we learned how loins exploded when the amateur filmmaker, upon meeting long-married Edwards for the first time, gushed, "You are so hot!"
How she bedded him that very night and became his mistress (pushing out three ticked-off paramours that the former presidential candidate claimed to be juggling at the time - but then later confessed were nonexistent. He'd "invented" them to make Hunter jealous.)
How she concocted a preposterous documentarian role for herself in Edwards' campaign so they could be together without suspicion (although their lovers' spats raised staffers' antennae).
The kept-woman plane trips and hotel nights - and wine (Lordy, so much wine!) consumed in dim hotel bars while waiting to hook up with her man.
"I made a mental note: Waiting is definitely one of the least interesting parts of being a mistress," Hunter wrote.
So good to know.
And finally, how Edwards - father of three, husband of a cancer survivor - impregnated Hunter with a daughter who so closely resembles him, no one believed his lie about not being the kid's dad.
Hunter's book read like the diary of a self-involved middle-schooler, without the high-toned intellectual rigor.
What Really Happened became a best-seller anyway and fanned new flames of public contempt for Hunter, which she apparently didn't expect. The point of her memoir had been to tell her story her way, without the evil media misinterpreting her words and actions in a way that made the public denigrate her.
This time, the public denigrated her all on their own.
Without the media to blame anymore, Hunter finally looked inward and discovered that - well, well, well - she'd been one entitled hussy.
On Huffington Post last week, she penned an essay titled, "I, Rielle Hunter, Apologize."
"I behaved badly . . ." she wrote. "I did not think about the scope of my actions, how my falling in love with John Edwards, and acting on that love, could hurt so many people. I hurt Elizabeth and her kids. I hurt her family. I hurt John's family. I hurt people that knew Elizabeth. I hurt people who didn't know Elizabeth but loved her from afar . . . "
What makes Hunter's lengthy apology refreshing is that she doesn't ask for forgiveness. She instead humbly owns her misdeeds, concluding with, "If I hurt you, I am sorry. It was not my intention, I was thoughtless and selfish, and I am sorry."
So as mea culpas go, it's a winner. Until you realize that the piece is actually a promo for her new book, In Hindsight, What Really Happened: The Revised Edition: John Edwards, Our Daughter and Me.
Basically, Hunter went through the first version and annotated the parts she now feels were reprehensible, explaining what made her write such crap in the first place (childhood pain gets a lot of blame), apologizing for exposing confidences and marveling at the breadth of her insensitivity.
All for the low, low Kindle price of $3.99.
I don't know how much of this Hunter hopes to pocket (her spokeswoman wouldn't divulge numbers when I inquired). But wasn't it crass enough to profit off her mistress status the first time around? Does she really need to wring that towel again? Why can't she stay quietly below the radar in North Carolina, where, according to an insider familiar with Hunter's circumstances, she is still in a romantic relationship with Edwards (although they do not live together)?
Sadly, public opinion still matters to Hunter, even though I suspect the public had pretty much forgotten her until she resurfaced on Huffington Post. Weirdly, her essay appears to have garnered only supportive, "You go, girl!" responses from readers, which made me ask her spokeswoman if Hunter was editing the on-line comments.
"Rielle has no access to the comments to edit them," swears the spokeswoman (a professional publicist who, also weirdly, wouldn't let me use her name).
Yet commenters on Amazon, which is selling Hunter's book, have complained that their negative responses to her essay - even the respectful but critical ones - have yet to post on the site.
I'm sure that's something Hunter will eventually explain. If we've learned anything from both iterations of What Really Happened, Hunter thinks we'll always care.
Given that I just wrote this column about her, maybe she's right.