At one time, he seemingly had it all: A political career to boast of, a name everyone - or at least most Democrats - respected, a wife that loved him for 32 long years, and four children to show for it.
But, oh, how easy it is to fall; one faulty move and the king is in check. It is this position John Edwards now finds himself.
Born in Seneca, South Carolina, Edwards was the first person in his family to attend college. While he was based in Raleigh, North Carolina, he became one of the country's most successful and wealthy personal injury attorneys, winning a slew of huge damage awards against corporations and hospitals on behalf of individuals. That was before he entered politics. In 1998, he was elected to the Senate, defeating and upsetting incumbent Republican Senator Lauch Faircloth.
In 2004, Democratic presidential nominee Senator John Kerry chose the first-term senator to be his running mate against President George W. Bush in 2004. Eventually they would eventually lose.
Then, when he decided he was ready to run the country, to lead her on his own, he began an affair with one of his 2008 presidential campaign staffers. Slowly, one by one, his marriage would unravel (but his wife was already terminally ill with breast cancer; she would die in December 2010), news would break he fathered an illegitimate child - he would publicly lie about this, forcing his former aid Andrew Young to claim paternity -- and Friday, he would find himself, consequently, in a wealth of trouble.
On Friday, former Sen. John Edwards was indicted by a Federal grand jury in Raleigh, N.C. for allegedly illegally accepting $1 million in 2008 presidential campaign funds to hide the extra-marital affair and keeping his campaign alive.
The six-count indictment comes at the end of a two-year investigation. Prosecutors have also issued a warrant for his arrest. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the conspiracy charge. Illegal campaign contribution violations carry a similar fine.
He is alleged to have received more than the federal campaign contribution limits and the attempted to cover it up by having his Presidential Committee create and file false reports with the Federal Election Committee.
Stepping up to a makeshift podium outside a Federal Courthouse in Raleigh, N.C., after formally being charged, and where he pleaded not guilty to all of the above, he said, There's no question that I've done wrong and I take full responsibility for having done wrong and I will regret hard for the rest of my life the pain I've done to others, but I did not break the law and never, ever though I could break the law. Thank you very much.
He took no questions, simply walking away from reporters with his eldest daughter, Cate, by his side.