Bill Clinton opens up about Monica Lewinsky affair in new film: 'It was awful what I did'

Former President Bill Clinton is speaking openly about his remorse over his affair with Monica Lewinsky and the reasons why he did it in a new documentary about his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Clinton admitted to an affair in 1998 with Lewinsky, who was a White House intern, after initially denying it, leading to an impeachment trial. Since leaving office 20 years ago, he and his wife have not spoken much about what went on behind the scenes at the time.

The four-part documentary, titled "Hillary," was released on Friday.

"We all bring our baggage to life and sometimes we do things we shouldn't do,'' Clinton says in the documentary. "It was awful what I did."

He also talks about the moment he told his wife, saying he explained to her "exactly what happened."

"I was just so personally hurt,'' Hillary Clinton says in the film. "I can't believe this. I can't believe you lied."

Bill Clinton then had to explain to their daughter, Chelsea, that he had an affair.

"(Hillary) said you have to go tell your daughter — that's worse than me,'' the former president recalls. "So I did that, which was awful."

Clinton blamed the strain of being president for triggering the affair with Lewinsky.

"You've been in a 15 round prize fight that was extended to 30 rounds, and here is something that will take your mind off of it for awhile,'' he said.

"Everybody's life has pressures and disappointments and terrors, fears of whatever. The things I did to manage my anxieties for years — I'm a totally different person than I was."

Hillary Clinton also explained her reasons for not distancing herself from her husband in the wake of the affair, and the "painful" conversations she had with a counselor while deciding whether to save her marriage.

"I defended and stood by him because I thought the impeachment process was wrong, but that wasn't the necessary answer to what I would do with my marriage,'' she said.

In February, the former first lady and secretary of state spoke to Ellen DeGeneres about why she decided to revisit the affair for the film.

"It was a really emotionally draining experience to go through it again, but I have to say, once I saw the whole four hours of the documentary, I hope that our talking about this, my willingness to address all of this, really does help other people," she told DeGeneres. "People need to be thoughtful about the decisions they make in their own lives, and we should be kinder and more supportive to everybody who makes the best decisions that they think they can make."

In 2018, Bill Clinton spoke to Craig Melvin about the affair on TODAY, saying that he "felt terrible" but did not feel he owed Lewinsky a personal apology.

"I've never talked to her,'' he said. "But I did say, publicly, on more than one occasion, that I was sorry. That's very different. The apology was public."

In the documentary, the former president says it was "unfair" that Lewinsky was demonized due to the scandal.

"I feel terrible about the fact that Monica Lewinsky's life was defined by it, unfairly I think,'' he said. "Over the years, I've watched her trying to get a normal life back again. But you've got to decide how to define normal."