In a shocking turn of events, Elizabeth Edwards is meeting her cheating husband’s love child for the first time, and she’s insisting that he pay his mistress nearly $18,000 a month in support, The ENQUIRER has learned.

While she’s heartbroken over John Edwards‘ “second family,” Elizabeth is determined that the disgraced presidential candidate avoid an ugly court battle with his mistress Rielle Hunter, insiders say.

“Elizabeth feels that above all else, John and Rielle need to put their differences aside,” a close source told The ENQUIRER.

“As much as she hates that John has a second family, she can’t stand the idea of Rielle going public with their dirty laundry in court. She instructed John to have his lawyers call Rielle’s people and say they’re giving her what she wants. She’s also going to meet Rielle’s little girl face to face over the next few weeks.”

Behind the scenes, Elizabeth – whose oldest son with Edwards was killed in a car accident – has a soft spot for her husband’s love child Frances, who will turn 2 on Feb. 27, according to the source.

“Despite her anger at Rielle, who she’s painted as a stalker and a homewrecker, Elizabeth knows Frances didn’t bring any of this about,” said the source.

“Elizabeth sometimes breaks down in tears when she talks about Frances. Once she said, ‘She needs a daddy.

"ALL children need their father.’”

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