Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of former senator and presidential hopeful, John Edwards, endured a series of tragedies and embarrassments with unimaginable grace and composure. Their son Wade died in a car accident in 1996 at age 16. A year after Wade's death, John Edwards decided to go into politics, and he won a seat in the U.S. Senate in 1998. Elizabeth, an attorney, became a force in John's political career, serving as his adviser during his run for the presidency in 2004 and again in 2008. The day after the presidential election in 2004, when Sen. John Kerry and running mate Edwards were defeated by George W. Bush, Elizabeth Edwards was diagnosed with breast cancer. She learned in early 2007 that her cancer had returned and was treatable but not curable. Despite her illness, John decided to run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008. He withdrew from the race in January 2008. In August, his political career was essentially destroyed when he admitted to having an affair with Rielle Hunter, who produced videos for his campaign. John and Elizabeth Edwards legally separated in early 2010, when John acknowledged that he had a child with Hunter.
Edwards wrote two memoirs, Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Strangers (2006) and Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life's Adversities (2009).