Monica Lewinsky, the one-time White House intern involved in a sexual relationship with President Bill Clinton, writes of her “regret” about that affair in an article that Vanity Fair magazine is promoting online.
“I, myself, deeply regret what happened between me and President Clinton,” Lewinsky writes, according to excerpts released today by the magazine. “Let me say it again: I. Myself. Deeply. Regret. What. Happened.”
Clinton, who was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives in 1998 on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice related to the scandal, had at first publicly denied any sexual relationship with Lewinsky. He later acknowledged it, and served the remainder of his second term through January 2001 after the Senate refused to remove him from office.
Lewinsky, writing in an article that Vanity Fair plans to post online in full on May 8 and place on newsstands May 13, explains that she is trying to put her past behind her.
“Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship,” she writes. “Any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position.”
When Clinton acknowledged the affair, he said in August 1998 after four hours of testimony before a federal grand jury:
“I did have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky that was not appropriate. In fact, it was wrong. It constituted a critical lapse in judgment and a personal failure on my part for which I am solely and completely responsible.”
Clinton’s wife, Hillary Clinton, who went on to serve as a senator from New York and secretary of state for President Barack Obama, has written of first learning of the president’s affair with the intern in her 2003 memoir, “Living History.”
She is considering running for president in 2016.
Lewinsky, in the Vanity Fair article, writes of attempting to dispel public misperceptions.
“The buzz in some circles has been that the Clintons must have paid me off; why else would I have refrained from speaking out?” Lewinsky, now 40, writes. “I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth.”
Lewinsky, who has gotten a master’s degree in social psychology from the London School of Economics, writes that she has had a lot of trouble in job interviews “because of what potential employers so tactfully referred to as my ‘history.’”
“Thanks to the Drudge Report, I was also possibly the first person whose global humiliation was driven by the Internet,” she writes, explaining her current goal: “To get involved with efforts on behalf of victims of online humiliation and harassment and to start speaking on this topic in public forums.”
Lewinsky, who kept a blue dress stained during her affair with Clinton that became key evidence of their relationship, writes that disposing of it is part of moving on with life.
“It’s time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress,” she says in the article.