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After years of silence, Monica Lewinsky is opening up about her 1998 affair with President Bill Clinton, saying he “took advantage” of her.
Lewinsky, who was then a White House intern, and Clinton embarked on an affair that eventually led to his impeachment on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice (he was acquitted of all charges following a trial in the Senate).
Now 40, Lewinsky — who previously discussed the scandal with Barbara Walters in a 1999 sitdown and later co-wrote a book about the incident — has penned a piece for Vanity Fair’s June issue in which she expresses her “regret” about the entire thing, says she’s had a hard time finding a job, and calls out Beyonce and Hillary Clinton.
Here are five of the biggest revelations:
1. She wishes the affair had never happened.
“I, myself, deeply regret what happened between me and President Clinton,” she writes. “Let me say it again: I. Myself. Deeply. Regret. What. Happened.” She said that after years of silence, many people assumed the Clintons had paid her off (“I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth”). She writes: “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.)”
2. She believes Clinton took advantage of her.
Lewinsky writes that the affair was consensual. However, she adds: “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.… The Clinton administration, the special prosecutor’s minions, the political operatives on both sides of the aisle, and the media were able to brand me. And that brand stuck, in part because it was imbued with power.”
3. She finds it “troubling” that Hillary Clinton blamed her for the affair.
Addressing recent revelations that Hillary Clinton called Lewinsky a “narcissistic loony toon,” Lewinsky writes: “She may have faulted her husband for being inappropriate, but I find her impulse to blame the Woman — not only me, but herself — troubling.”
4. She’s had a hard time landing jobs.
Lewinsky claims that following the scandal, she had offers that would have brought her $10 million plus, but she turned them down “because they didn’t feel like the right thing to do.” After earning a master’s degree in social psychology at the London School of Economics, she found it hard to get a job. “Because of what potential employers so tactfully referred to as my ‘history,’ I was never ‘quite right’ for the position.” In other cases, companies wanted to hire her because of her fame, knowing she’d bring press attention. She adds that she’s “managed to get by (barely, at times) with my own projects, usually with start-ups that I have participated in, or with loans from friends and family.”
5. She’s not afraid to school Beyonce.
Lewinsky called out the singer’s lyrics in her recent single “Partition”: “He popped all my buttons, and he ripped my blouse?/He Monica Lewinsky-ed all on my gown.” But that’s not quite accurate, writes Lewinsky: “Thanks, Beyonce, but if we’re verbing, I think you meant ‘Bill Clinton’d all on my gown,’ not ‘Monica Lewinsky’d.'”
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