Bill Clinton admits his affair with Monica Lewinsky was one of the things he did to manage his anxieties.
In an explosive documentary that will air on Hulu, the former President suggests that he had the fling with the former White House intern while he was in office because it helped him cope with his own issues.
He describes that at the time he met Lewinsky, the pressure of his job made him feel like a boxer who had done 30 rounds and he looked at Lewinsky as something that will take his mind off it for a while.
These claims were made in an interview included in the new documentary series “Hillary”, about his wife Hillary Clinton, where the former First Lady and Secretary of State reveal that after the scandal the couple underwent ‘painful’ marriage counseling.
Bill expresses his apology to Lewinsky in the documentary that will air on Friday, saying he felt terrible that her life was defined by that affair. At some point when things don’t return to normal, he said that you’ve got to decide how to define normal, saying that the infamous former intern should just move on with her life.
The four-part documentary series gives audiences extraordinary access to the Clintons’ inner circle and examines Hillary’s public life from her student days to losing the 2016 election to Donald Trump.
But the part about the Lewinsky affair – which the political couple rarely address in public – will likely be the most examined carefully.
The said scandal led to Bill being impeached in 1998 and survived the trial in the Senate and remained in office during his second term.
The last time he spoke about the scandal was in 2018 and it backfired tremendously because he exclaimed that he did not owe Lewinsky a private apology.
In the interview, he went through in great detail, becoming emotional at times as he talked about the moment he finally came clean to his wife.
His hand was forced in 1998 when it became evident he had lied to a grand jury investigating his personal affairs by denying the Lewinsky affair. Bill said that he had also denied it to Hillary – and she believed him.
Bill said in the interview:
“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.”
Hillary, staring blankly at the cameras, said:
“I was just devastated. I could not believe it. I was so personally just hurt and I can’t believe this, I can’t believe you lied.”
Hillary told Bill that he was the one who needs to tell their 18-year old daughter Chelsea. And for him, it was worse than telling it to his wife.
Bill said he wasn’t thinking about those things when he cheated when he was asked why he took that risk that may affect his family and his country. Instead, he let the pressures of being in the White House led him to seek for a distraction.
He said in the interview:
“You feel like you’re staggering around, you’ve been in a 15 round prize fight that was extended to 30 rounds and here’s something that will take your mind off it for a while, that’s what happens.”
“Because there, whatever life – not just me. Everybody’s life has pressures and disappointments, terrors, fears of whatever.”
“Things I did to manage my anxieties for years. I’m a different, totally different person than I was, a lot of that stuff 20 years ago.”
In the Hulu documentary, Bill said:
“Maybe it’s just getting older but I hope it was also going through a lot of this. But whatever, what I did was bad but it wasn’t like – how can I think about the most stupid thing I could and do it. It’s not a defense, it’s an explanation. I feel awful.”
The family went to Martha’s Vineyard for a trip after that and when they returned, Hillary had decided to stand by her husband and fight his impeachment.
On their helicopter ride, their daughter Chelsea took them both by the hand.
The documentary was directed by Nanette Burstein whose past works include a film about eccentric internet entrepreneur John McAfee.
They shot interviews of Hillary for 35 hours as well as many members of her campaign staff from 2016. Neither Bernie Sanders nor Trump was invited to contribute.
Hillary told Vanity Fair that she went for it because she’s not running for anything.
“I felt like if I didn’t tell my side of the story, who would? At least there’ll be a baseline: Here’s what actually happened in my life. Here’s what I actually said about it.”