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Enquirer: John Edwards Hit Cancer-Stricken Wife Elizabeth Edwards

(Getty Images/Sara D. Davis)
(AP Photo/The National Enquirer)
(AP Photo/Jim R. Bounds)
HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (CBS) Disgraced former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards struck his cancer-stricken wife during a shocking marriage-ending brawl, according to the National Enquirer, the same publication that revealed the existence of the politician's lovechild with his mistress, Rielle Hunter.

Photo: John Edwards and wife Elizabeth Edwards in 2007.

"John lost his temper big time," an unnamed "close friend" of Elizabeth Edwards reportedly told the gossip publication.

"When [John] made the decision to hit me, it was over," the friend said Edwards told her of the 32-year marriage.

Photo: John Edwards and Rielle Hunter in a Dec. 27, 2006 photo from the National Enquirer.

But another friend of the family reportedly told that publication that Elizabeth Edwards sometimes also attacked her husband physically when the two were discussing his affair with Hunter.

"Elizabeth has slapped John in the past during fights over his extramarital affair with Rielle," the source said. "She was so tormented by John's cheating and lies that she lashed out physically at him many times, even slapping him. On a couple of occasions, when the fights became heated, she grabbed him by the shoulders and screamed, 'Why, why, why?!'"

Photo: Rielle Hunter and daughter Aug. 6, 2009.

"During one of the confrontations, Elizabeth grabbed his arms and shook him so hard that John had to restrain her," she told the paper.

John Edwards only recently admitted paternity of Hunter's daughter, Frances, who is now nearly 2.

His former assistant, Andrew Young, took to the national airwaves last week to bash his old boss. Young has a new book where he describes viewing a sex tape that showed a naked Edwards and a woman he assumed was Hunter.

Young says Hunter left the tape inside a "box of trash" at a house Edwards rented for her.

Calling it a "very private and personal" videotape, Hunter was granted a temporary restraining order against Young in a North Carolina court, seeking the return of photos and videos, including one she says she made in 2006 while working for Edwards.

She also filed a lawsuit against Young and his wife, seeking a jury trial and damages for invasion of privacy.

January 29, 2010 - John Edwards' Mistress Rielle Hunter: I Want My Sex Tape Back!
January 25, 2010 - John Edwards Sex Tape? The Headline You Knew Was Coming
January 21, 2010 - John Edwards Latest News: Love Child, Yes; Stolen Dirty Diapers and Fake DNA, We'll See
September 21, 2009 - John Edwards Faces Grand Jury and Former Aide Over Love Affair Lies

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