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President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky at a nhà trắng function. Getty Images In an affair that would shape history, Monica Lewinsky said she fell for former President Bill Clinton"s "lethal charm" when she was a white house intern in 1995.

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Their first dalliance was in November 1995 during a colleague"s birthday tiệc nhỏ at the white house when Lewinsky lifted her jacket lớn show him the straps of her thong, The Washington Post reported in 1998. Shortly afterward, they had a sexual encounter where he took a phone điện thoại tư vấn from a thành viên of Congress — something Clinton would vì repeatedly during their 18-month affair.

As the details of the affair came to light via the independent counsel Kenneth Starr"s investigation, they would show a starstruck intern lovesick over a hot-and-cold man twice her age who "grew angry at times at her persistent attentions," according lớn The Post.

In one instance, she threatened lớn tell her parents about their affair after he had ignored her, and he soothed her by alluding to the future when he might be out of the office và more available lớn her.

"I just knew that he was in love with me," Lewinsky recalled, The Post reported.


Among the evidence gathered in the Clinton investigation was a semen-stained dress belonging lớn Lewinsky. Hulton Archive/Getty

The pair exchanged notes, phone calls, và gifts over the course of several months while they rendezvoused in the Oval Office and the adjoining study and bathroom. She gave him about 30 small presents while he gave her 18. Some of these would come back khổng lồ haunt them both, according to lớn The Post.

In February 1997, he gifted her a hat pin & a Walt Whitman poetry collection. They had a sexual encounter where semen stained her xanh dress. The dress would later be submitted as evidence in the Starr investigation.

Another time, she gave him a yellow tie — one of many — that he later wore amid the Starr investigation. Prosecutors questioned whether he was sending her a signal by wearing it on the day of her testimony, CNN reported.


In this Jan. 26, 1998 tệp tin photo, President Clinton emphatically denies having a sexual relationship with Lewinsky during a nhà trắng event. Greg Gibson/AP

After months of their on-again-off-again affair, which was sometimes sexual and other times not, Clinton emphatically & repeatedly denied having a relationship with Lewinsky in January 1998.

"I want to say one thing lớn the American people. I want you to listen khổng lồ me," Clinton said at a white house nhà trắng press conference on January 26, The Post reported. "I"m going to lớn say this again — I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky."

Despite the president"s denials, Lewinsky was thrust into the spotlight. She had been transferred from the nhà trắng to the Pentagon in 1996 once aides suspected their affair, & Clinton had told her that he"d help get her transferred back.

Lewinsky started seeking work in thành phố new york with Clinton"s help from within the administration, interviewing at the United Nations, Revlon, và American Express, according khổng lồ The Post. She received multiple offers, but as news of the scandal broke in January 1998, the offers dried up or the companies rescinded them as Lewinsky became the butt of a national joke.


Monica Lewinsky và her stepmother, Barbara Lewinsky, push through a large crowd of media as they leave at a Santa Monica, California, restaurant on February 5, 1998. Nick Ut/AP

She remained out of the public eye for long periods of time as harassment intensified.In one instance, a man parked outside of Lewinsky"s family trang chủ in California selling t-shirts that said "Zipper Gate "98," referencing Clinton unzipping his pants.

Just like Clinton, Lewinsky also denied the affair, signing an affidavit khổng lồ that effect in January 1998. Unbeknownst khổng lồ her, Starr already had tapes of Lewinsky describing the affair khổng lồ Linda Tripp, a Pentagon staffer who secretly recorded the conversations with a hidden microphone the FBI provided lớn her.

"I never expected lớn fall in love with the president," Lewinsky said at one point, The Post reported. "I was surprised that I did."

By July, she agreed lớn an interview with Starr"s office, where she was "questioned extensively over the next 15 days, by Starr"s office & the grand jury," according lớn The Post. Her attorneys worked out a khuyến mãi granting her immunity. Clinton, who agreed khổng lồ testify after being subpoenaed, was asked lớn provide a blood sample for DNA testing that would liên kết him to lớn the semen on Lewinsky"s dress, which served as evidence of the affair.

Clinton in the bản đồ Room of the white house in Washington, DC, just before delivering his televised address to the American people regarding his testimony to a federal grand jury. Clinton admitted that he engaged in conduct that was "not appropriate" with Lewinsky. LUKE FRAZZA/AFP via Getty Images

In August 1998, Clinton testified before the grand jury, admitting to "inappropriate intimate contact" with Lewinsky but refusing khổng lồ provide additional details about the physicality of their relationship.

"I did have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky that was not appropriate," Clinton said, The Post reported at the time. "In fact, it was wrong. It constituted a critical lapse in judgment và a personal failure on my part for which I am solely và completely responsible."

Years later, former First Lady Hillary Clinton would describe her reaction to lớn her husband"s admission in a Hulu documentary, saying she was "devastated & so personally hurt," per CNN.

"I said, "If this is going lớn be public, you have got lớn go tell Chelsea,"" Hillary Clinton recalled in the Hulu doc, referring khổng lồ the couple"s daughter.

The future senator và Democratic presidential candidate would later say that staying married to Bill Clinton was the "gutsiest" thing she had ever done, Insider previously reported. It was a decision the public widely criticized her for.

President Bill Clinton, first lady Hillary Clinton, & their daughter Chelsea walk with the family dog, Buddy, August 18, 1998, from the white house toward a helicopter as they depart for a vacation lớn Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. Roberto Borea/AP

In the 2020 documentary, the former president recalled how he "just hated to lớn hurt" his daughter by admitting lớn his infidelity, CNN reported.

The day after Clinton admitted his affair lớn the nation, he và his family went on vacation to Martha"s Vineyard, Massachusetts. As the family walked khổng lồ Marine One, Chelsea Clinton held both of her parents" hands in what would become an iconic photo of solidarity amid the scandal.

"Chelsea put herself between us & held both our hands. That was not anything other than her trying lớn keep us together," Hillary Clinton said in the documentary, CNN reported. "And when she did that, oh my gosh, I thought, "That is just so incredible, so strong, & so wise.""

"She was filling in our empty space there, and the picture is worth a million words," Bill Clinton said in the documentary.

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The actor Jack Nicholson speaks at an anti-impeachment rally at the Federal Building in Westwood, Los Angeles, on December 16, 1998. Nearly 1,000 people attended the star-studded rally supporting President Clinton. Nick Ut/AP

Clinton maintained tư vấn even as the scrutiny intensified và headlines labeled him a liar for denying the affair for so long.

Protestors argued outside of the Capitol in the days leading up to his impeachment. Some held signs that said "Impeach the Liar," và "Clintons lose/ Americans win," while others championed "Witch Hunt must end," & "Stop the lynching," according to BuzzFeed News.

Meanwhile, A-listers and Clinton supporters lượt thích actors Jack Nicholson, Barbara Streisand, Ted Danson, and Mary Steenburgen gathered in Los Angeles at an anti-impeachment rally, The Associated Press reported.

In this December 1998 file photo, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton watches President Clinton as he thanks those Democratic members of the House of Representatives who voted against impeachment at the white house nhà trắng in Washington. Susan Walsh/AP

Still, Clinton"s popularity and charm didn"t save him from impeachment.

The Starr report cited 11 grounds for impeachment, Insider previously reported, and the House Judiciary Committee approved four articles of impeachment: lying khổng lồ a grand jury, perjury, obstructing justice, và abusing power. Clinton was impeached on December 19, 1998, for perjury & obstruction of justice.

Clinton said he was "profoundly sorry" but still refused to lớn heed calls for his resignation, promising to lớn remain in the white house to "the last hour of the last day of my term," The Guardian reported.

In later interviews, Clinton would admit that lying about the affair "was a mistake" và that he "shouldn"t have said it," ABC News reported.

"It was a moment where I was frankly rattled. I used poor judgment, và I was wrong, and I"ll regret it till the day I die," Clinton said. "It was terrible."

On "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," Leno held up fake children's books mocking Lewinsky. Margaret Norton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Clinton would be acquitted of both articles of impeachment on February 12, 1999, but until that point và even afterward, the country still had many laughs at Lewinsky"s expense.

A gag order legally bound her from speaking publically about the experience, và she endured hundreds of insults on a national stage from truyền thông media personalities & comedians, Vanity Fair reported. Jay Leno alone jabbed at Lewinsky over 450 times on "The Tonight Show," the outlet reported. Comedians targeted her appearance, age, weight, and résumé.

Meanwhile, Lewinsky tried to start a business making pocketbooks, & she later became a spokesperson for the diet company Jenny Craig, advertising that she lost over 30 pounds with the program.

She also issued an apology lớn the country and to Hillary & Chelsea Clinton in an ABC News interview that Starr granted her.

"I wouldn"t dream of asking Chelsea & Mrs. Clinton to lớn forgive me, but I would ask them to lớn know that I am very sorry for what happened & for what they"ve been through," Lewinsky, who was 25 at the time, told Barbara Walters in the interview.

This April 2006 file photo shows former President Bill Clinton, left, looking up at his portrait after Lawrence Small, the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, right, helped him remove the drape at the Smithsonian Castle Building in Washington. A Philadelphia artist said that his museum portrait of former President Clinton contains a shadow reference lớn Monica Lewinsky's infamous xanh dress. Haraz N. Ghanbari, file / AP Images

Despite the public scorn, Clinton"s career was able to lớn continue. He finished his second term as president, and in 2001, he established the Clinton Foundation, a foundation of nonprofits that includes the Clinton Global Initiative.

He campaigned with his wife as she ran for president twice và served as the Secretary of State under the Obama administration.

The affair with Lewinsky only cast a faint shadow — literally — on his presidency, but the public perceived him as a statesman with flaws, still able to be celebrated. Artist Nelson Shanks unveiled a flattering portrait of Clinton in 2006, and nearly a decade later, Shanks detailed that the portrait includes a shadow representing Clinton"s affair.

"He & his administration did some very good things, of course, but I could never get this Monica thing completely out of my mind và it is subtly incorporated in the painting," Shanks told The Philadelphia Inquirer. "It is also a bit of a metaphor in that it represents a shadow on the office he held, or on him."

Lewinsky"s redemption arc took over a year longer than Clinton"s, undoubtedly due to her age, as well as the nation"s evolving view on women"s treatment in the workplace in light of the #MeToo movement.

In 2014, Lewinsky shared more of her side of the story with Vanity Fair, detailing how the president used his position lớn his advantage in their affair.

"Sure, my trùm cuối took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship," she wrote. "Any "abuse" came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position."

She talked about moving khổng lồ England for grad school before returning to lớn the US & struggling lớn find the right job fit. She said the truyền thông "circus quieted down, but it never quite moved on, even as I attempted khổng lồ move on."

In 2015, Lewinsky"s TED Talk about shame went viral. She spoke about experiencing online bullying và harassment as the mạng internet gained widespread popularity, & she has since gotten involved in several anti-bullying campaigns.

By 2018, she"d made a "profound shift" in her views, according to The Associated Press, calling her affair with Clinton "a gross abuse of power."

Monica Lewinsky embraces President Bill Clinton at a Democratic fundraiser in October 1996. Dirck Halstead/Getty Images

At 49 years old, Lewinsky is now the same age Clinton was when their affair began. Though decades have passed, she said the way the public still treats her makes it seem like no time has passed at all.

As a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, Lewinsky wrote in 2018 that she was uninvited from a philanthropy event after the same sự kiện recruited Clinton to make the opening remarks.

She added that it was "a privilege" to have been invited all, noting that she was no stranger to lớn being disinvited from social gatherings after hosts "had looked over the guest list and reconsidered my potential presence."

"I secretly và gratefully recognized it as a modest marker of How Much My Life Has Changed," Lewinsky wrote at the time. "And yet, I"m sometimes reminded, lượt thích I was last Friday, of ways that it hasn"t — ways I"m still stuck in the cocoon of 1998."

A month later, Clinton would separately say that he did not feel he owed Lewinsky a direct apology, though he said he "apologized to lớn everybody in the world."

When promoting "Impeachment: American Crime Story" as an executive producer in 2021, Lewinsky said Clinton "should want to lớn apologize" but that she no longer needed it.