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Elizabeth Edwards: I Want to “Reclaim” Myself Like Sandra Bullock

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Elizabeth Edwards feels a special kinship with Sandra Bullock.

"I'm not just a cuckolded wife," the cancer-stricken ex of politician John Edwards tells The Today Show's Matt Lauer in a new interview. Elizabeth and John legally separated in January after over 30 years together; the former North Carolina senator had recently admitted that he'd fathered a baby girl, Quinn, with mistress Rielle Hunter.

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"I think about Sandra Bullock — who I don't know at all — what an incredible year she's had," Edwards, 60, says of Bullock, whose divorce from Jesse James was finalized on Monday. "She won the Academy Award for an incredible performance, and more than that, she took that story and integrated that into her own life in this healthy happy way."

(The Blind Side's Bullock, 45, had secretly adopted her son Louis back in January.)

"And yet, the stories you hear are not about all those great successes, but about the failure of her marriage," Edwards continues.

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"That's not who she is…I assume she wants to reclaim who she is in the same way I want to reclaim who I am."

Edwards also admits to Lauer that she watched at least "some of" Rielle Hunter's sit-down interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Her blunt take on her husband's videographer mistress: "I still think this person is so completely unlike me that it's hard to imagine the same person could marry me and be attracted to that — to that woman, as well."

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Of John — whom she will likely divorce next year — she says, "I think I did marry a marvelous man…he changed over time. He's no longer the person who I married. I still admire an enormous number of things about him." She and the politician had four children together (their eldest son, Wade, died in a 1996 car crash).

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Fighting metastatic, stage-four breast cancer, she says she can't think about her younger kids (Emma, 12, and Jack, 10) growing up without a mom. "I don't let my head go that place…I want to live at a normal cadence with my children."

An updated paperback version of her book Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life's Adversities — featuring a new chapter that addresses the split — hits bookstores June 29.

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