For the first time in ten years, Monica Lewinsky is telling all about the scandal that made her famous — her affair with then-President Bill Clinton. In an article for Vanity Fair, the 40-year-old comes clean about the pair’s relationship, and why she’s waited so long to finally tell her side.
“It’s time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress,” she writes. “I, myself, deeply regret what happened between me and President Clinton. Let me say it again: I. Myself. Deeply. Regret. What. Happened.”
In the open letter, the former White House intern clarifies that the relationship between herself and the President was consensual. “Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship,” she admits. “Any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath, when I was a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position.”
So…why now? “It’s time to stop tiptoeing around my past — and other people’s futures,” she explains. “I am determined to have a different ending to my story. 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).”
Still, Monica admits that she isn’t just speaking out for herself. In fact, she was inspired by Tyler Clementi, the freshman at Rutgers who committed suicide in 2010 when a video of him kissing another man went viral. “[My mother] was reliving 1998, when she wouldn’t let me out of her sight,” she adds. “She was replaying those weeks when she stayed by my bed, night after night, because, I, too, was suicidal.”
It was her mother’s reaction that eventually helped make the decision. “My own suffering took on different meaning,” Monica says. “Perhaps by sharing my story, I reasoned, I might be able to help others in their darkest moments of humiliation. The question became: How do I find and give a purpose to my past?”
The entire story will be available on May 8.