Monica Lewinsky is opening up about her relationship with Bill Clinton while posing in a new blue dress in the March issue of Vanity Fair.
The former White House intern, 44, looks back at the affair with her much older and married boss through the lens of the #MeToo movement, writing in an essay for the magazine that while she may not qualify as a victim there is no denying that Clinton was a sexual predator.
She goes on to say that Chelsea and Hillary Clinton were examples of ‘grit and grace’ during that difficult time, while she was forced to remain silent ‘due to legal quarantine’ as Kenneth Starr forced even her own mother to testify against her in court.
Lewinsky reveals early in the essay that she never actually met Starr during the investigation, with their first run-in coming just two months ago on Christmas Eve when she was out to dinner with her family.
She describes him as ‘creepy,’ and says his constant touching left her feeling ‘uncomfortable’.
Her too: Monica Lewinsky (above in November) writes in an essay for Vanity Fair that Bill Clinton was a sexual predator
Predator: ‘[W]hat transpired between Bill Clinton and myself was not sexual assault, although we now recognize that it constituted a gross abuse of power,’ states Lewinsky (above with Clinton in a White House photos he gifted her in 1997)
Creepy Kenneth: Lewinsky reveals in the essay that she met special prosecutor Ken Starr (above in August 1998) for the first time just two months ago on Christmas Eve
‘Ken Starr asked me several times if I was “doing O.K.” A stranger might have surmised from his tone that he had actually worried about me over the years,’ says Lewinsky, noting that this was the same man who made her life ‘a living hell.’
‘His demeanor, almost pastoral, was somewhere between avuncular and creepy. He kept touching my arm and elbow, which made me uncomfortable.’
Lewinsky writes that she was a bit ‘thrown’ but eventually mustered up the courage to say what she had waited 20 years to say to Starr.
‘Though I wish I had made different choices back then, I wish that you and your office had made different choices, too,’ recalls Lewinsky of her remarks that night.
Starr replied by telling her it was ‘unfortunate’ before the two went their separate ways.
Lewinsky explains that in the wake of the #MeToo movement many people have apologized to her for what she was forced to endure two decades ago, with one letter even bringing her to tears.
‘Yes, I had received many letters of support in 1998. And, yes (thank God!), I had my family and friends to support me. But by and large I had been alone,’ explains Lewinsky.
‘Publicly Alone—abandoned most of all by the key figure in the crisis, who actually knew me well and intimately. That I had made mistakes, on that we can all agree. But swimming in that sea of Aloneness was terrifying.’
Lewinsky makes it clear however that not everyone views her as a victim.
‘There are even some people who feel my White House experiences don’t have a place in this movement, as what transpired between Bill Clinton and myself was not sexual assault, although we now recognize that it constituted a gross abuse of power,’ states Lewinsky.
She later admits even she is uncertain of her place in the movement.
‘I’m sorry to say I don’t have a definitive answer yet on the meaning of all of the events that led to the 1998 investigation; I am unpacking and reprocessing what happened to me,’ explains Lewinsky.
‘Over and over and over again.’
Applause: The former White House intern, 44, also applauds the ‘grit and grace’ Hillary (above with her husband on the day he denied the affair in January 1998) and Chelsea Clinton showed during the investigation and trial back in 1998
Ship adrift: She admits that at the time of the investigation she felt completely alone, and reveals that ‘swimming in that sea of Aloneness was terrifying’ (above with police and her attorney William Ginsburg leaving a federal building in May 1998)
Bad boss: Lewinsky writes that many people have begun approaching her in the wake of #MeToo and she is not sure what her place is in the movement (above in October 1996 hugging Clinton)
At the time the affair began between the president and his intern in November 1995, Clinton was 49 years old and Lewinsky was a 22-year-old White House employee.
Clinton would initially deny having sexual relations with Lewinsky in a sworn deposition back in January of 1998, going so far as to claim that the two were never even alone together in the White House.
Unbeknownst to him at the time, Lewinsky had already revealed to Linda Tripp that the two were together nine times between that first encounter and March of 1997, and engaged in oral sex multiple times.
The affair became public one day after Clinton’s sworn testimony, at which point Tripp gave tapes of Lewinsky admitting to her relationship to Kenneth Star, who at the time was pursuing the Whitewater controversy and Clinton’s alleged sexual harassment of Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state employee.
Lewinsky’s essay appears in Vanity Fair
Clinton continued to deny reports that he had relations with with the brunette from Beverly Hills even after the report broke, famously saying: ‘I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky’ in a nationally televised White House news conference.’
Months later, he admitted to the affair and claimed that his definition of sexual relations differed from that of others.
This resulted in the House voting to impeach Clinton on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice back in December of 1998, with the vote then moving to the Senate.
The Senate then acquitted him of those charges when the Senate did not achieve the two-thirds vote necessary to remove Clinton from office.
A second attempt at impeachment, on an additional perjury charge and abuse of power, never made it past the House.
Tripp had worked in the Pentagon alongside Lewinsky when the former White House intern opened up to her about her affair with Bill Clinton.
She taped their conversations for months it was later revealed and then handed the recordings over to Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr to avoid facing wiretapping charges.
Prior to that she handed the tapes over to lawyers for Paula Jones, who was suing Clinton for sexual harassment at the time.
Jones’ lawyers then added Lewinsky to their witness list, but the judge ruled that her testimoney would be immaterial to the case before tossing it out.
A few months later, Clinton settled with Jones for $850,000 when her legal team launched an appeal.
The affair and its aftermath seem destined to live on as well, as Ryan Murphy has reportedly optioned Jeffrey Toobin’s bestselling book ‘A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President’ for an upcoming season of his American Crime Story anthology.
This is a difficult part of Lewinsky’s life she reveals in her essay, and why she is particularly sympathetic to victims of past offenses.
‘For many, the Reckoning has also been a re-triggering,’ writes Lewinsky.
‘Sadly, what I see with every new allegation, and with every posting of “#MeToo,” is another person who may have to cope with the re-emergence of trauma.’
She goes on to write: ‘My hope is that through Time’s Up (or, perhaps, another organization) we can begin to meet the need for the resources that are required for the kind of trauma therapy vital for survival and recovery.’