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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 August, 2004, 14:10 GMT 15:10 UK
Kerry 'ex-flame' in web backlash
Kerry and wife Teresa Heinz
Mr Kerry married his second wife Teresa in 1995
A woman who claims to be an old flame of US presidential hopeful John Kerry says she plans to take down details of their relationship she put on the web.

Lee Whitnum, an aspiring novelist writing under the surname Roystone, said she had received 500 hate e-mails from Democrats and Republicans.

She said she had hoped it might help her sell her novels, but realised it was an "experiment that did not work".

There has been no public word from Mr Kerry about Ms Whitnum's claims.

Ms Whitnum says she had a 20-month romance in the early 1990s, when Mr Kerry was a single man.

She has told the US media that their secret relationship came to an end when it became clear he would not marry her.

Her website includes the 'John Kerry Scrapbook' with photographs of the two together, some notes purported to be from Kerry and an account of their romance. She also encourages readers to vote for him in the November elections.

'Not good days'

She said she hoped it might help publicise her books 'Hedge Fund Mistress' - about a woman who has a relationship with a US state senator - and 'What About the Dead?'

She said that despite 16,000 hits she had "absolutely zero book orders".

"I was so sure that I'd sell some books, buy a house, not have to spend the next 20 years in a windowless cube... living paycheck-to-paycheck. Silly me," she wrote.

She said she wanted to remove the scrapbook but could not right now, without giving more detail.

In an interview in the September issue of GQ magazine, the 60-year-old Massachusetts senator describes single life after his first marriage failed as "not good days".

"Thank God I found Teresa," he said, referring to the billionaire heiress to the Heinz food empire he married in 1995.

In the interview, he also reveals a soft spot for movie stars Catherine Zeta-Jones and Charlize Theron, as well as Marilyn Monroe.

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