Mary Elizabeth Anania Edwards (born July 3, 1949) is an attorney and the wife of John Edwards (former U.S. Senator from North Carolina and 2004 Democratic vice-presidential candidate). Born Mary Elizabeth Anania, she met John Edwards while they were students in law school at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; they wed in 1977. The Edwards are the parents of four children: Catharine (or "Cate"), Wade, Emma Claire, and Jack. Wade died in a car accident in 1996.
In her career, Elizabeth Edwards began as a law clerk for a federal judge, then moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1978 to become an associate at the law firm of Harwell Barr Martin & Sloan. She moved to Raleigh in 1981 with John and son Wade to work at the law firm Merriman, Nicholls, and Crampton in Raleigh, North Carolina and has taught legal writing as an adjunct instructor at the law school of the University of North Carolina.
During much of 2004, Elizabeth joined her husband and Democratic Presidential nominee Senator John Kerry on the nationwide campaign trail. On November 3, 2004, the day Kerry and Edwards conceded defeat in the 2004 US Presidential Election, Elizabeth Edwards was diagnosed with breast cancer.