Bill Clinton explains Monica Lewinsky affair as ‘managing my anxieties’

Former US president Bill Clinton, recalling the sex scandal that led to his impeachment in 1998, says in a new documentary series that his extramarital affair with Monica Lewinsky was a way of "managing my anxieties."

The four-part documentary series, Hillary, which was released on Friday in the US on Hulu, focuses on Hillary Clinton's life, her marriage to Bill Clinton and her unsuccessful campaign for president in 2016.

Bill Clinton at first denied he had an extramarital affair with Monica Lewinsky.Credit:Getty Images

In the documentary, which features behind-the-scenes footage from Hillary Clinton's campaign against Trump and was screened at the Sundance Film Festival in January, Hillary Clinton says Bill Clinton sat on the side of the bed one morning and said a newspaper was set to publish allegations that he had sexual relations with an intern.

"I was, like, having a hard time processing it," Hillary Clinton says. "He said, 'Well, there's nothing to it. It's not true.' He was adamant and he was convincing to me."

Lewinsky was an intern for Jennifer Palmieri, a special assistant to the White House chief of staff and later the communications director for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. Palmieri says in the documentary that Evelyn Lieberman, the deputy chief of staff at the time, expressed concerns about Lewinsky's presence in Bill Clinton's orbit.

"I didn't think anything of it because, of course, who would think that Bill Clinton could be that stupid?" Palmieri says.

Hillary Clinton publicly stood by her husband when the allegations first emerged, including during an interview with Matt Lauer on the Today show. Bill Clinton eventually confessed to the affair.

"I was just devastated," Hillary Clinton says in the documentary. "I could not believe it."

Bill Clinton says the most difficult part of the ordeal was facing the couple's daughter, Chelsea.

"She said, 'Well, you've got to go tell your daughter,'" Bill Clinton says of his wife's reaction. "She said, 'That's worse than me.'"

Bill Clinton says he is a different person now.

"You know, we all bring our baggage to life and sometimes we do things we shouldn't do," he says. "It was awful what I did."

The New York Times

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