Monica Lewinsky contemplated suicide when her affair with Bill Clinton was first exposed

 

Monica Lewinsky‘s affair with Bill Clinton left her considering suicide.

In a clip from the upcoming A&E docuseries The Clinton Affair, the most famous White House intern, now a writer and anti-bullying activist, talks about when the FBI first questioned her about her affair with the then-president in 1998.

“In order to cooperate and to avoid charges, I would have to make phone calls — monitored phone calls, which they would listen into and they would record — and I might have to wear a wire and actually go see people in person,” Lewinsky, now 45, recalled. “The ground completely crumbled in that moment. I felt so much guilt, and I was terrified.”

“They imagined that I would have flipped really easily,” she continued. “They had no plan in place for what would happen if I said no. There was a point for me somewhere in the first several hours where I would be hysterically crying and then I would just shut down. In the shutdown period, I remember looking out the window and thinking the only way to fix this was to kill myself, was to jump out the window.”

Breaking down in tears, she continued, “I felt terrible. I was scared and I just … I was mortified and afraid of what this was going to do with my family. And I still was in love with Bill at the time, so I felt really responsible.”

In 2014, a report about Lewinsky’s interrogation by the FBI agents and lawyers working for Kenneth W. Starr’s Office of Independent Counsel was released and it said Lewinsky was mistreated by authorities, the Washington Post reported at the time. It was a 12-hour marathon session, which began as an ambush at the food court at the Pentagon City mall and moved to a hotel room at the mall’s adjoining Ritz-Carlton hotel. The report, written by two lawyers appointed to investigate the matter by Starr’s successor, Robert W. Ray, said a prosecutor who confronted Lewinsky “exercised poor judgment” and “made mistakes in his analysis, planning and execution of the approach.” Lewinsky was described as shocked and hysterical in the report, and while she asked to consult a lawyer or a parent, authorities continued to try to persuade her to cooperate against the president. The report concluded that the “matter could have been handled better.”

RELATED: Monica Lewinsky out and about in recent years

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Monica Lewinsky out and about in recent years
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 04: Monica Lewinsky attends the 2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 4, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 27: Honoree and activist Monica Lewinsky arrives at TLC's Give A Little Awards at NeueHouse Hollywood on September 27, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images,)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Monica Lewinsky arrives at the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 26, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 26: (EXCLUSIVE ACCESS, SPECIAL RATES APPLY) (EXCLUSIVE ACCESS, SPECIAL RATES APPLY) Writer Monica Lewinsky attends the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 26, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/VF17/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: Monica Lewinsky attends MARINA 70 at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on December 8, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: Monica Lewinsky attends MARINA 70 at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on December 8, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Monica Lewinsky attends Vanity Fair & SAKS Fifth Avenue International Best Dressed List at Saks Fifth Avenue on September 21, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 20: Talent agent Ronald Meyer (L) and Monica Lewinsky attend the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on October 20, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Monica Lewinsky poses backstage at the hit musical based on the cult film 'American Psycho' on Broadway at The Schoenfeld Theatre on May 02, 2016 in New York, New York. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 23: Monica Lewinsky arrives for the gala screening of 'Despite The Falling Snow' on March 23, 2016 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
Monica Lewinsky arrives to the Vanity Fair Party following the 88th Academy Awards at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills Sunday evening, February 28, 2016. (Photo by Axel Koester/Corbis via Getty Images)
Monica Lewinsky arrives to the Vanity Fair Party following the 88th Academy Awards at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills Sunday evening, February 28, 2016. (Photo by Axel Koester/Corbis via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 12: Alice Temperley (L) and Monica Lewinsky attend an intimate dinner party hosted by Alice Temperley to celebrate 15 years of Temperley at GWP Studio on November 12, 2015 in London, England. Guests drank Baileys Flat White martinis to toast the occasion and mark the significant milestone for the brand. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Temperley London)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 09: Monica Lewinsky attends the launch of A.A. Gill's new book 'Pour Me: A Life' at Daunt Books on November 9, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 09: Monica Lewinsky attends the launch of A.A. Gill's new book 'Pour Me: A Life' at Daunt Books on November 9, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 22: Monica Lewinsky attends Andy Cohen & SiriusXM celebrate the launch of Cohen's New, Exclusive SiriusXM Channel, Radio Andy, at PHD Rooftop Lounge at The Dream Downtown in New York City on October 22, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 22: Monica Lewinsky, Mark Consuelos and Kelly Ripa speak with Andy Cohen & SiriusXM to celebrate the launch of Cohen's New, Exclusive SiriusXM Channel, Radio Andy, at PHD Rooftop Lounge at The Dream Downtown in New York City on October 22, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Monica Lewinsky (R) visits TV/Radio host Andy Cohen (L) at Radio Andy at SiriusXM Studios on October 19, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 22: Monica Lewinsky attends Andy Cohen & SiriusXM celebrate the launch of Cohen's New, Exclusive SiriusXM Channel, Radio Andy, at PHD Rooftop Lounge at The Dream Downtown in New York City on October 22, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Monica Lewinsky visits SiriusXM Studios on October 19, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 06: Monica Lewinsky attends the Forbes Under 30 Summit at Pennsylvania Convention Center on October 6, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 06: Monica Lewinsky attends the Forbes Under 30 Summit at Pennsylvania Convention Center on October 6, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Monica Lewinsky attends the Television Industry Advocacy Awards benefiting The Creative Coalition in Partnership With TV Guide Magazine and TV Insider held at Sunset Tower on September 18, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 01: Monica Lewinsky attends a dinner following the private view of 'Raw Footage' at The Cafe Royal on July 1, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)
CANNES, FRANCE - JUNE 25: Monica Lewinsky gives a speech at the Ogilvy & Mather Seminar during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity on June 25, 2015 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Francois G. Durand/Getty Images)
CANNES, FRANCE - JUNE 24: Monica Lewinsky arrives at the Palais des Festivals during the 'Cannes Lions Festival' on June 24, 2015 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 07: Monica Lewinsky attends American Theatre Wing's 69th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 7, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
Monica Lewinsky arrives for the American Theatre Wing's 69th Annual Tony Awards at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City on June 7, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 12: Monica Lewinsky is seen arriving at Claridge's hotel, Mayfair on May 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Niki Nikolova/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 23: Monica Lewinsky attends #iamdancingman Event Featuring Moby at Avalon Hollywood on May 23, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Bezjian/Getty Images for gudly)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 12: Monica Lewinsky (L) and Heather Kerzner attend the Spring Gala In Aid of the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital hosted by QBF and Kerzner Calliva at Claridge's Hotel on May 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images for Quercus Biasi Foundation)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 20: Monica Lewinsky (L) and Alan Cumming attend the Performance Space 122 2015 Spring Gala Honoring Claire Danes at Capitale on April 20, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 08: Monica Lewinsky (R) attends 'The 35 Most Powerful People In Media' celebrated by The Hollywoood Reporter at Four Seasons Restaurant on April 8, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Monica Lewinsky arrives at the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 22, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Monica Lewinsky arrives at the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 22, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 11: Monica Lewinsky attends the Rachel Comey fashion show at Pioneer Works Center for Arts & Innovation during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on February 11, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Fernando Leon/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 11: (L-R) Actor Alan Cumming and Monica Lewinsky attend HBO's post Golden Globe Awards party at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Barry King/FilmMagic)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 22: Monica Lewinsky attends a screening of 'Lost In Karastan' during the 4th annual LOCO London Comedy Film Festival at BFI Southbank on January 22, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 07: Monica Lewinsky attends TrevorLIVE Los Angeles at the Hollywood Palladium on December 7, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
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Lewinsky spoke about the interrogation at Forbes‘s Under 30 Summit in Philadelphia that year, saying, “It was just like you see in the movies. Imagine, one minute I was waiting to meet a friend [Linda Tripp] in the food court and the next I realized she had set me up, as two FBI agents flashed their badges at me. … Immediately following, in a nearby hotel room, I was threatened with up to 27 years in jail for denying the affair in an affidavit and other alleged crimes. Twenty-seven years. When you’re only 24 yourself, that’s a long time. Chillingly, told that my mother, too, might face prosecution if I didn’t cooperate and wear a wire. And, in case you didn’t know, I did not wear the wire.”

In other clips from the six-part docuseries, which debuts Sunday, Lewinsky said at first she didn’t think much about Clinton — an “old guy with wiry hair” — but she noticed how people were drawn to him and started to be taken by his charisma. She developed a crush on him, and at different events, he started paying attention to her.

“I don’t talk about this very often, and I still feel uncomfortable talking about it because it’s not as if it didn’t register with me that he was the president; obviously it did,” she said. “But I think in one way, the moment we were actually in the back office for the first time, the truth is that I think it meant more for me that someone who other people desired, desired me. However wrong it was, however misguided, for who I was in that very moment at 22 years old, that was how it felt.”

Lewinsky said doing 20 hours of interviews for the docuseries dredged up a lot of unhappy memories of the time when she was painted as a vixen. She found herself “depressed” all over again, and during therapy sessions at the time of the filming, she was made aware that perhaps she was dealing with grief rather than depression.

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