A new documentary series offers an emotional look behind the mask of someone who has stood stoic in the public eye for decades. In the A&E series, “The Clinton Affair,” Monica Lewinsky is more forthright than she’s been in years about her relationship with former President Bill Clinton.
She reveals that the most painful and traumatic experiences of her life followed her affair with Clinton, and if she could, she would erase them all from her memory. She hopes by revisiting those years she might help find a better way forward for the country and for herself.
In the A&E series, which premieres this Sunday, Lewinsky talks about the highs of her time at the White House. At one point she describes how she felt being called in by Clinton, “I don’t think my heart had ever beat as fast.”
And the lowest of lows, when she was confronted by FBI agents about the affair.
“I remember looking out the window and thinking the only way to fix this was to kill myself, was to jump out the window….I just I was mortified and afraid of what this was going to do to my family,” she said.
In a Vanity Fair piece about why she participated in the docuseries, Lewinsky writes she feels “grief for the broken young woman” who watched the president deny the affair.
This year, in the wake of the #MeToo movement, Clinton struggled when he was asked whether he should apologize to Lewinsky. Former first lady Hillary Clinton told CBS News last month that her husband should not have stepped down after the affair came out.
“Let me ask you this: where’s the investigation of the current incumbent, against whom numerous allegations have been made, and which he dismisses, denies, and ridicules? So there was an investigation, and it as I believe, came out in the right place,” she said on “CBS Sunday Morning.”
Lewinsky, for her part, is focused on healing from the memories of that traumatic time.
“However wrong it was, however misguided, for who I was in that very moment at 22 years old. That was how it felt,” Lewinsky said.
CBS News reached out to the Clintons and has not heard back. Lewinsky said what she now feels is grief, for the years she lost, and for the pain the affair caused others. In fact, as part of her own healing process, she said if she saw Hillary Clinton today, she would apologize.
“The Clinton Affair” premieres on A&E on Sunday, November 18 and airs over three consecutive nights
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