Bill Clinton on his affair with Monica Lewinsky: 'I did it to manage my anxieties'
London - Bill Clinton has claimed the affair with Monica Lewinsky that almost destroyed his presidency was one of the "things I did to manage my anxieties".
The former US Democrat president said his fling with the ex-White House intern was a way to take his mind off the stress of politics.
And he admits that he feels terrible about the fact that Lewinsky’s life – she was just 22 at the time – has been defined by her romance with him.
Clinton was impeached in 1988 for lying to investigators about his 1995-96 relationship with Lewinsky – but he was later acquitted and remained in power until 2001.
In a documentary about his wife Hillary – called 'Hillary' – the former president, 73, speaks candidly about the affair and the impact of it on his marriage.
Describing how it began, he says: "You feel like you’re staggering around, you’ve been in a 15-round prize fight that was extended to 30 rounds and here’s something that will take your mind off it for a while.
"Everybody’s life has pressures and disappointments, terrors, fears of whatever."
"Things I did to manage my anxieties for years. I’m a totally different person than I was," he added. In the documentary, which will be shown on US streaming site Hulu on Friday, Clinton, a former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State, reveals that after the scandal the couple had "painful" marriage counselling.
The four-hour series features extraordinary access to the Clintons’ inner circle and examines her public life from her student days to losing the 2016 election to Donald Trump.
But it also sees Clinton speak candidly about Miss Lewinsky – a topic which the couple rarely address in public.
"I feel terrible about the fact that Monica Lewinsky’s life was defined by it, unfairly I think," he says. "Over the years I’ve watched her trying to get a normal life back again."
He at times appears emotional as he recalls how he lied at first to his wife – and she believed him – but eventually told the truth. He says: "I went and sat on the bed. I told her exactly what happened. I said, 'I have no defence, it’s inexcusable what I did'."
Clinton says admitting the affair to his daughter Chelsea, then 18, "was awful".
Recalling the moment her husband confessed, Hillary says: "I was so personally hurt… I can’t believe you lied." She also tells of the "painful, painful, discussions" the couple went through during therapy.
Clinton adds: "Counselling was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do."Daily Mail