Monica Lewinsky is back.
Breaking years of silence, the former White House intern at the center of the scandal that led to President Bill Clinton's impeachment writes in Vanity Fair that her affair was "consensual."
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Lewinsky, now 40 and with a master's degree in social psychology, writes that it's "time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress" — a reference to the now-infamous piece of stained clothing she didn't dry-clean after an encounter with Clinton.
She also expresses some contrition, writing: "I, myself, deeply regret what happened between me and President Clinton. Let me say it again: I. Myself. Deeply. Regret. What. Happened."
Here's an excerpt from Lewinsky's Vanity Fair article that will be available Thursday online and on newsstands May 13.
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.
The news release from Vanity Fair also makes mention that Lewinsky writes about Hillary Rodham Clinton, and how she was "virtually reclusive" during the 2008 presidential campaign and feels "gun-shy yet again" because of the prospect of another Clinton presidential campaign in 2016. Referring to reports that the former first lady characterized her as a "narcissistic loony toon," Lewinsky says her first thought was: "If that's the worst thing she said, I should be so lucky."
As for why she's speaking out now, Lewinsky writes that she became upset by the suicide of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers University freshman whose intimate encounter with a man was video streamed in 2010. Clementi's death and public humiliation, she writes, caused her to view her own "suffering" in the spotlight in a different way.
"Perhaps by sharing my story, I reasoned, I might be able to help others in their darkest moments of humiliation," Lewinsky writes.