Remembering the Monica Lewinsky Scandal

The blue dress, the definition of "is," and more.

ByABC News
May 6, 2014, 4:04 PM

May 6, 2014— -- Sixteen years after Monica Lewinsky first grabbed headlines and joined President Bill Clinton in one of the biggest political scandals of all time, Lewinsky is back.

This week, Vanity Fair released excerpts of an essay written by Lewinsky in which she spoke about the scandal for the first time. In case you need a refresher, here's a recap of of one of the biggest political scandals in U.S. history:

Monica Lewinsky Scandal in Photos

  • News Breaks of the Scandal: In January, 1998, the Drudge Report reported that Newsweek magazine was sitting on a story about an affair between Clinton and a 23-year-old intern.

  • Clinton Denies: President Clinton held a press conference with his wife, Hillary, standing beside him. He made the speech that included one of the scandal's most famous lines: "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky."
  • The Blue Dress: In July of that year, Lewinsky gave investigators a semen-stained blue dress that she had worn during a sexual encounter with Clinton. She had been told by her former coworker Linda Tripp not to dry clean the blue dress and to preserve it. She alleges they had sexual encounters nine times, including oral sex but not intercourse, and that a cigar tube was involved.
  • Clinton Admits: The president then admitted to an "improper physical relationship" with Lewinsky.
  • "Depends on What the Definition of Is Is": President Clinton was brought up on perjury charges in the Senate by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr. He questioned Clinton over whether he and Lewinsky had sex. The judge ordered a precise definition of sex, and Clinton said that his behavior with Lewinsky didn't meet that definition.
  • Clinton also said that his statement, "there's nothing going on between us," was accurate because of the definition of the word "is."

    "It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is. If the, if he, if 'is' means is and never has been, that is not, that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement," he said, in what would become on the most famous lines from the scandal.

  • Aftermath: Clinton was impeached and later acquitted by the Senate. Lewinsky participated in some media interviews, including with ABC's Barbara Walters, and a biography. She then began selling handbags and working for Jenny Craig as a spokeswoman in 2000. In 2005 she moved to London.