After 25 years, Monica Lewinsky is finally getting the opportunity to write her side of the story of her late ’90s sex scandal with President Bill Clinton. Speaking about her role as a producer on American Crime Story: Impeachment, Lewinsky told The TODAY Show that she’s still seeking closure from the former president over what occurred between them.
“He should want to apologize in the same way I want to apologize any chance I get to people my actions have hurt,” Monica Lewinsky said. “There was a long period before my life changed in the last six or seven years, where I felt a lot in terms of there not being this resolution.”
She continued, saying that “I’m very grateful that I don’t have that feeling anymore. I don’t need it.”
Bill Clinton went on to deny the affair in a now-infamous speech in which he stated, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”
Hillary Rodham-Clinton also defended her husband at the time, calling the allegations of his relationship with Monica Lewinsky a, “vast right-wing conspiracy.”
Lewinsky later testified in front of a grand jury during possible impeachment hearings, and President Clinton later admitted to the affair following DNA evidence that proved they had a physical relationship. Clinton was impeached in the House but later acquitted of all charges.
Lewinsky, however, was publicly humiliated and ridiculed by the press online for nearly 20 years until recently, when she felt she could finally share her side. “People have been co-opting and telling my part in this story for decades,” she said. “It wasn’t until the past few years that I’ve been able to fully reclaim my narrative.”
Providing notes and helping with the script for the Ryan Murphy FX series, Lewinsky told The Today Show that it has been difficult to watch a fictionalized version of herself on television make the same decisions that she did. She also said that she wasn’t sure how she would feel if Bill Clinton watched the show.
“I do not recommend watching your early 20s be dramatized on TV,” Lewinsky joked. “Especially in this instance where the truth really was stranger than fiction. [There were] moments where I just thought, ‘Don’t smile back. Don’t talk to her. Don’t confess. Don’t do this, don’t do that. Don’t make bad decisions.’ I think that that was really hard to see.”
Talking about the way society has evolved online now, Lewinsky said that she’s not sure if the scandal would be any different today than it was over 20 years ago. “The beauty and the beast of social media is more people can be heard,” she said, acknowledging the chance that in the wake of movements like #MeToo she “might have had a little bit of support.”
In a 2014 essay for Vanity Fair, she wrote that it was hard to shake off names like, “America’s B.J. Queen. That Intern. That Vixen. Or, in the inescapable phrase of our 42nd president, ‘That Woman.'”
“It may surprise you to learn that I’m actually a person,” Lewinsky said.
Since then, Monica Lewinsky has made many television appearances, TED Talks, and documentaries about the scandal, all in an attempt to reclaim the narrative. Her latest project, the limited series American Crime Story: Impeachment, premieres tonight, Tuesday, Sep. 7, on FX.