After 10 years of silence — a decade of dodging questions about the infamous stain on her blue dress and the jokes about the president’s cigar — Bill Clinton’s mistress, Monica Lewinsky, spoke out in Vanity Fair.
Here’s what she had to say:
1. She May Not Stay Quiet if Hillary Runs
Lewinsky says she “remained virtually reclusive” during Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign despite repeated interview requests. Now that Hillary is reportedly mulling a 2016 bid, Lewinsky finds herself “gun-shy yet again, fearful of ‘becoming an issue’ should she decide to ramp up her campaign.” But she’s not sure she’ll stay quiet this time.
The 40-year-old, who says she’s still recognized everywhere she goes, has had enough of “tiptoeing around my past — and other people’s futures.”
So though she acknowledges speaking out may have severe ramifications, ”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 … It’s time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress.”
2. What She Finds ‘Troubling’ About Hillary
“Mrs. Clinton, I read, had supposedly confided to [Diane] Blair that, in part, she blamed herself for her husband’s affair (by being emotionally neglectful) and seemed to forgive him … I find her impulse to blame the Woman — not only me, but herself — troubling,” Lewinsky argues.
Her refusal to cooperate with interrogators may have been “courageous or foolish,” she admits. “But narcissistic and loony?” No way.
3. The Relationship Was Consensual
Lewinsky maintains that her relationship with Clinton was voluntary.
“Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship,” Lewinsky writes. “Any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position.”
Nevertheless, she says, she “regrets” the relationship. “Let me say it again: I. Myself. Deeply. Regret. What. Happened.,” she writes.
4. The Clintons Didn’t Pay Her Off
The Clintons didn’t bribe her to stay quiet, Lewinsky insists.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” she writes. She turned down $10 million-plus “offers” (presumably interview requests) “because they didn’t feel like the right thing to do.”
However, money has been an issue since the incident. Lewinsky pursued a career in marketing, but “because of what potential employers so tactfully referred to as my ‘history, I was never ‘quite right’ for the position.”
She has ”managed to get by (barely, at times) with my own projects… or loans from friends,” she says.
5. She Contemplated Suicide
Though she never actually attempted suicide, Lewinsky says she was tempted end her own life as “the shame, the scorn, and the fear” washed over her.
She says the tragic suicide of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, the gay Rutgers student who was filmed kissing another man, brought back those terrible memories and inspired her to come forward.
“Perhaps by sharing my story … I might be able to help others in their darkest moments of humiliation,” Lewinksi says.