John Edwards has confessed that he fathered the baby born to his ex-mistress.
The admission, confirming what practically everyone already suspected, came just ahead of a bombshell book by a top aide to the former Democratic presidential candidate.
Edwards had long denied the girl Frances Quinn Hunter was his, even after he admitted cheating on his wife with the child's mother Rielle Hunter.
Hunter had been hired before Edwards' 2008 White House campaign to shoot behind-the-scenes video of him.
"I am Quinn's father," the former North Carolina senator (56) said in a statement. "It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter and hopefully, one day, when she understands, she will forgive me."
The confession came ahead of the February 2 release of a book by former Edwards aide Andrew Young that is expected to describe how Edwards worked to hide his paternity with Young's help.
Shortly before the 2008 presidential primaries began, Young stepped forward to claim that he was the child's father.
But there were suspicions that the fiercely loyal aide was taking the fall for his boss.
Edwards' wife Elizabeth, who has been battling an incurable return of cancer, said that the "whole family is relieved" by the admission.