Bill Clinton reportedly told an interviewer that he had a sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky in order to manage the anxieties he was enduring as president, The Daily Mail reports.
The 42nd president made the alleged remarks as part of a series of interviews both he and his wife, Hillary Clinton, gave to researchers for the upcoming Hulu documentary, Hillary, which promises an exceptionally candid look at key points of the former first lady’s life and career, including the period of time in the 1990s when the newspaper headlines were dominated by her husband’s affair with a 22-year-old woman.
The former president said that, at the time, the pressures of his job were making him feel like “a boxer who had done 30 rounds.”
“[I thought an affair with her would be] something that will take your mind off it for a while,” he said.
He was able to keep it under wraps for a while, he said, and even denied it to Hillary — denials that she believed. But eventually the former president’s hand was forced, and Clinton had no choice but to come clean to his wife.
“I went and sat on the bed and talked to her. I told her exactly what happened, when it happened. I said I feel terrible about it. We’ve been through quite a bit in the last few years. I said I have no defense, it’s inexcusable what I did,” he said.
Hillary, for her part, said she was “devastated” by the revelation, not just because of the affair but because Bill had lied to her about it.
She adds that the couple went through “painful” marriage counseling after the affair.
“Counseling was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do but it was necessary. She deserved it… and I needed it,” he said.
Hillary noted that it fell on Bill to fess up to the affair to their daughter, Chelsea, who was in her late teens at the time. Bill said that it was harder to break the news to his daughter than it was to his wife.
The last time Clinton mentioned Lewinsky publicly, it didn’t go over particularly well for him. It was back in 2018, and he said at the time that he didn’t think Lewinsky deserved a private apology.
This time, however, he says that he wants Lewinsky to know that he regrets the way things went down. In particular, he regrets the fact that Lewinsky’s life appears, to him anyway, to have been defined by the affair.