updated 06/20/2012 AT 2:00 PM ET
•originally published 06/20/2012 AT 6:15 PM ET
After years of living in hiding, Rielle Hunter – the mistress whose relationship with John Edwards ended his bid for the presidency and his marriage to Elizabeth Edwards – says she isn’t interested in a secret life anymore.
“I fell in love with a married man and became something I wasn’t in order to be with him,” Hunter tells PEOPLE exclusively, accompanying an excerpt of her new memoir, What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter and Me.
In this week’s issue, Hunter, 48, reveals, “We’re still together as a couple.” Though she won’t predict their future. “Marriage? Have no idea,” she says. “I’m not a big fan of the institution but never say never.”
Hunter, who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with their 4-year-old daughter Quinn, still sees Edwards, 59, regularly. “Sometimes five days in a row. Sometimes every two weeks. It varies,” she says, adding “he can play with [Quinn] for hours.”
Also during those visits, she says, “he empties the dishwasher. He cooks.”
But of their sex life, she says, “I don’t think that’s anyone’s business.” So, does she still think he’s hot? “I do!” she exclaims.
“Johnny and I have been through so much awfulness with the wrath of America directed at us, that I think it would appear to almost anyone that the odds of us making it in the long run are not good,” she writes in her memoir. “But I followed my heart and I don’t regret it.”
The main reason? “It produced the greatest love in my entire life: Frances Quinn,” she writes.
To read more of the exclusive book excerpt and Hunter’s interview, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday