May 6th, 2014
11:38 AM ET
4 years ago

Lewinsky writes about affair with Bill Clinton

(CNN) - Saying "It’s time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress," Monica Lewinsky is writing for the first time about her affair in the 1990s with President Bill Clinton.

"I, myself, deeply regret what happened between me and President Clinton. Let me say it again: I. Myself. Deeply. Regret. What. Happened," says the now 40 year old Lewinsky in the upcoming issue of Vanity Fair.

Lewinsky maintains that her affair with Clinton was one between two consenting adults.

"Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship. Any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position," Lewinsky writes.

In 1995 Lewinsky, then a White House intern, began a sexual relationship with Clinton. The political scandal and investigation that emerged from that extramarital affair resulted in the Democratic president's impeachment by the Republican-led House of Representatives. Clinton was subsequently acquitted of all impeachment charges during a trial by the Senate.

Lewinsky has stayed virtually silent about the affair the past decade. She writes in Vanity Fair that "the buzz in some circles has been that the Clintons must have paid me off; why else would I have refrained from speaking out? I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth."

But she adds that it's time to stop "tiptoeing around my past-and other people’s futures. I am determined to have a different ending to my story. I’ve decided, finally, to stick my head above the parapet so that I can take back my narrative and give a purpose to my past. (What this will cost me, I will soon find out.)”

Lewinsky was constantly in the media during and shortly after the controversy. In late 1999 she started selling a line of handbags and the next year she appeared in commercials for diet company Jenny Craig. In 2002 she appeared in an HBO special on the affair and the next year she hosted a reality dating program on Fox TV.

But in 2005, Lewinsky changed course, moving to Great Britain to obtain a masters degree in social psychology at the London School of Economics. She's stayed out of the spotlight since then.

In the Vanity Fair article, Lewinsky responds to reports made public in February that Hillary Clinton, in correspondence with close friend Diane Blair during the 1990s, had characterized Lewinsky as a "narcissistic loony toon."

Lewinsky writes that her first thought was "as I was getting up to speed: If that’s the worst thing she said, I should be so lucky. Mrs. Clinton, I read, had supposedly confided to Blair that, in part, she blamed herself for her husband’s affair (by being emotionally neglectful) and seemed to forgive him. Although she regarded Bill as having engaged in ‘gross inappropriate behavior,’ the affair was, nonetheless, ‘consensual (was not a power relationship).'"

The personal writings of Blair, made public earlier this year, gave insight into the former first lady's views on the Monica Lewinsky scandal, as well as a host of other issues. The papers were donated by Blair's family to the University of Arkansas

Asked about those conversations between Hillary Clinton and Blair, Lewinsky writes: "Yes, I get it. Hillary Clinton wanted it on record that she was lashing out at her husband’s mistress. She may have faulted her husband for being inappropriate, but I find her impulse to blame the Woman-not only me, but herself-troubling.”

And she rejects the “narcissistic loony toon” label, saying that she refused to cooperate with interrogators offering the then-24 year old immunity from the threat of jail time in return for wearing a wire to monitor staged conversations with two of Clinton’s confidantes. "

"Courageous or foolish, maybe," Lewinsky writes, "but narcissistic and loony?"

The full article will appear in the June issue of Vanity Fair, which will be available in New York and Los Angeles and on the iPhone, iPad, Nook, and Kindle - on May 8. The magazine will hit national newsstands on May 13.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Filed under: Bill Clinton • Hillary Clinton
soundoff (502 Responses)
  1. CrashMan

    I guess she needs money.

    May 6, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |

    May I puke now

    May 6, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  3. What???

    I'm angry that this is CNN headline news of the day... Really? 1998 wants its stories back.

    May 6, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  4. JoeFattal

    A little bit too early for her to show up. Hillary is not running until 2016, that if she is.

    May 6, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  5. GreyMan

    I'm still very much HILLARY 2016!!

    May 6, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  6. MMoore

    My problem with this is that Ms Lewinsky affirms the relationship to have been "consensual". Then how in the world could she and the media "rape" Mr. Clinton for taking advantage of her? This is something that should have been left for the Clintons to decide. Their is still a private life in public office.

    May 6, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  7. xtremeflyr

    I give up...CNN does not like me...But, anyway, Monica. If you are out there. Listen up, "Love ya Baby" are still a cutie

    May 6, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. PuzzledInPeoria

    I'm less interested in this than I am in what really happened with Whitewater. Hillary was deeply involved in that, but I don't believe we got the truth of what went on there.

    May 6, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. BO

    How sickening that people still support an impeached, disgraced ex-president.

    May 6, 2014 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. Mothership to lefties... mothership to lefties....

    Truth has been detected... a threat to our next guaranteed President has been identified. Assemble all droid units for attack formation and commence firing at will. Suggest you use "old news", "she needs money" and "Koch's did this" ammunition. It has always worked in the past. May the lies be with you. Good luck.

    May 6, 2014 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  11. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Affair??? But I've been told he took advantage of a poor defenseless overweight low self esteem having child.....

    Why she still had the dress with the stain 6 months later.... One can only guess.


    Hillary 2016!!

    May 6, 2014 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  12. mike

    Wait...all the prior media appearances were her being "silent"? LOL. Hey, CNN, do you always let peoples' publicists dictate the story to you?

    May 6, 2014 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  13. Laura

    Ceswho, what a stupid comment. The only reason people are asking why this is news now is because this happened 20 years ago! This isn't about the truth coming out. It has been out. For, wait for it, TWENTY YEARS! Oh, and in case anyone didn't get it the first time around, both President Kennedy and Senator Kennedy were horrible flanderers too!

    May 6, 2014 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  14. mom

    I cannot respect a president or PERSON who cheats on his wife. That is incredibly sad.
    Hillary deserved better.

    May 6, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  15. Davidbiz

    The desperation of the Republican party is pathetic and desperate!

    May 6, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  16. Bo

    LOL.. any woman who bag the dress and don't clean it for decades to preserve evidence.. need soooo very much help.

    May 6, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  17. Lynda/Minnesota

    Well OK. I'm game.

    Ben Ghazi / Monica Lewinski 2016

    May 6, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  18. Mike

    The President of our nation directly and with forethought engaged in an affair with a woman on his staff and then, when caught, lied directly to the American people. A foreign power could have gained advantage of this information if it remained secret to everyone else, and could have exploited this knowledge to the detriment of this country. Separate the moral and social dictums of it all and it is still not a small issue, it will never be. We had a President willing to lie and attack others (including Ms. Lewinsky) to keep it quiet so that it would not have an effect on his administration. The compounding of evasion of the facts and lack of personal responsibility created a far worse situation. Parallels are obvious even to this day. Bill Clinton's deeds are utterly indefensible.

    May 6, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  19. rell87

    It is always fun to be reminded of Hillary's cuckoldry.

    May 6, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  20. Jane

    Unfortunately inappropriate relationships occur in workplaces everyday. When they end as they usually do, it is the individual with less power who suffers greater consequences. The person with less power in most organizations is still the females. One factor in these relationships being deemed "inappropriate" is the fact that there is a power imbalance between the two persons . Ms Lewinsky can be a voice for the many persons who find themselves seduced by power,money and fame and later are truly remorseful when they see the relationship for what it is . All human beings have made errors in judgment at some point in their lives. I applaud Monica for speaking out and showing that she is a big enough person to admit she made a mistake and she has nothing to be ashamed of.

    May 6, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  21. saywhat

    This shouldn't be reported as news. This is to make ML feel better, get some old stuff off her chest, but does it make anyone look better? There is so much more important news & events to report, not this

    May 6, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Don't blame Lewinsky for cashing in on her notoriety. Most of you would probably do the same thing in her position.

    BTW. I just noticed. No pun intended, there.

    May 6, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  23. Jamal

    Why do you suppose CNN is reporting this?? Perhaps trying to lessen the sting a little from what is coming when the Clintons announce their plans to move back in the White House? Nawww, that couldn't be it!

    May 6, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  24. Cynthia

    Monica deserved everything she got. You had an affair with a married man which is never right. You should have stayed in the dark. The only one who deserves sympathy and praise for her strength is Hillary.

    May 6, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  25. Arnold

    This is news?

    May 6, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
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