Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky is back in the news after breaking almost a decade of silence to offer up her thoughts about the scandal that ended U.S. leader Bill Clinton's presidency in the new issue of Vanity Fair.
In the candid new article, Lewinsky, who is now 40, insists it's time to stop "tiptoeing around my past" after becoming the girl who romanced the President.
Their affair led to Clinton's impeachment in 1998 and turned Lewinsky into a figure of fun.
She writes, "I am determined to have a different ending to my story. I've decided, finally, to stick my head above the parapet so that I can take back my narrative and give a purpose to my past. (What this will cost me, I will soon find out.)"
Lewinski regrets becoming Clinton's mistress, but she insists she wasn't doing anything illegal when she briefly romanced the leader, adding, "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... I, myself, deeply regret what happened between me and President Clinton."
And the former intern reveals she was inspired to write the piece for Vanity Fair by gay student Tyler Clementi, whose tormentors prompted him to commit suicide in 2010.
She admits the tragic story brought back awful memories for her mother, who feared her daughter would take her own life at the height of the Clinton scandal.
Lewinsky adds, "She was reliving 1998, when she wouldn't let me out of her sight. She was replaying those weeks when she stayed by my bed, night after night, because I, too, was suicidal. The shame, the scorn, and the fear that had been thrown at her daughter left her afraid that I would take my own life - a fear that I would be literally humiliated to death.
"Perhaps by sharing my story, I reasoned, I might be able to help others in their darkest moments of humiliation. The question became: 'How do I find and give a purpose to my past?'"