John Edwards admits fathering a child during affair with filmmaker Rielle Hunter

Former senator and 2004 vice presidential candidate John Edwards (D-N.C.) admitted in a statement to NBC News Thursday morning that he is the father of Quinn Hunter, the now 2-year-old child of filmmaker Rielle Hunter, with whom Edwards had an extramarital affair.

The statement reads:

“I am Quinn’s father. I will do everything in my power to provide her with the love and support she deserves. I have been able to spend time with her during the past year and trust that future efforts to show her the love and affection she deserves can be done privately and in peace.

"It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter and hopefully one day, when she understands, she will forgive me. I have been providing financial support for Quinn and have reached an agreement with her mother to continue providing support in the future.

"To all those I have disappointed and hurt these words will never be enough, but I am truly sorry.”

Little surprise to many in political circles, the news comes more than two years after the affair with Hunter was first reported by the National Enquirer. Since admitting the affair in 2008, Edwards has repeatedly denied paternity of the child, telling news outlets that the "timing" was impossible.

A spokesperson for Edwards's wife, Elizabeth, told NBC that she has known the paternity of the child since last summer, and friends said the couple is separated, but they are in frequent contact. Elizabeth Edwards opened a furniture shop in Chapel Hill, N.C., in 2009.

The timing of the statement falls between the release of two books, both of which paint unflattering portraits of Edwards and his marriage.

The first, Game Change, released earlier this month, describes vicious fights between the couple during the 2008 presidential campaign. The second, The Politician, by longtime Edwards aide Andrew Young, will be released in February, and is expected to contain even more details about attempts to cover up the affair. Young claimed at one point that he was the father of Rielle Hunter's child.

Edwards is also undergoing an investigation into whether he used campaign funds to help keep the affair a secret. As the videographer of his presidential campaign, Hunter frequently accompanied Edwards on campaign trips.