Santa Barbara-based journalist Ann Bardach has been sitting on this piece of information until the right moment, which is now: Rielle Hunter used to be her tenant in West Hollywood. As renters go she was pretty good, if peculiar. Bardach writes at the Daily Beast that, if she had only known it would turn out this way, she could have alerted John Edwards to the dangers of the "eccentric femme fatale that awaited him."
I could have told him: “Beware! A woman has been living in our rental in West Hollywood looking to find herself and patiently awaiting you, down the road. Stop the movie of your life before tragedy and despair engulf you and your family.”
During the years she occupied our 1920s California Craftsman, she scrupulously paid her rent on time, kept the place spotless, and even improved it, adding an alarm system at one point. But without a doubt, she was an odd duck. A devotee of all manner of New Age worship, she invited various shamans and holy men to bless the property. We once returned home—we kept a cottage in the back for when we were in Los Angeles—to find a rotund minister from a Harlem church offering blessings outside the front door. Inside, she had a Buddhist altar, a Gohonzon, where she offered daily Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo chants. Every room was replete with colorful crystals “to transform energy,” along with talismans and assorted mojos. She told us she had the place undergo feng shui to enable the spirits to move properly—along with frequent “cleansings,” which did not involve Clorox.
One reason Rielle was such a good tenant who paid her rent in a timely fashion, she explained, was her comfortable alimony from a previous marriage to an attorney. As fate would have it, her ex was the son of Alex Hunter, the Boulder, Colorado, district attorney whose reputation suffered during the famous JonBenet Ramsay case, which I had covered for Vanity Fair magazine in 1997....
While my husband found Rielle fun and entertaining, I found her a tad intimidating.
And, because we haven't linked to it yet, here's this month's much-talked-about and widely-panned GQ interview with Hunter: "He's [Edwards] very supportive of me talking now. He believes that it's something that will help me be at peace with it. And he knows how important truth is to me. Factual truth as well as spiritual truth."
Previously on LA Observed: As a tenant, Hunter made big impressions
Photo: GQ / Mark Seliger