Entertainment Remember Monica Lewinsky? Her famous affair with former US president back in spotlight

Remember Monica Lewinsky? Her famous affair with former US president back in spotlight

Monica Lewinisky impeachment documentary
Monica Lewinsky at the Vanity Fair Oscar party in 2019. Her affair with Bill Clinton will come back into public view. Photo: Getty
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It was political dynamite at the time.

The sex scandal of the 1990s involving then president Bill Clinton and his bombshell affair with a young White House intern Monica Lewinsky made headlines around the world.

It was January 1998 when the so-called Clinton-Lewinsky affair broke, with millions of Americans watching his televised addressed to the nation, captivated by the scandal between a married – and serving president – and an ambitious 22-year-old college graduate from California.

“I did not have sexual relations with that woman … Miss Lewinsky,” Mr Clinton said at the time.

“I never told anybody to lie, not a single time, never.

“These allegations are false.”

Set for a September release, Impeachment: American Crime Story, the third instalment in the network’s award-winning limited series, will unpack the scandal that rocked the nation, teasing us with a first-look poster.

Booksmart actor Beanie Feldstein – whose older brother is The Wolf Of Wall Street‘s Jonah Hill – has been cast as Lewinsky, and has shared the first image on her Instagram this week.

Wearing Lewinsky’s instantly famous beret, signature blue dress and standing in the shadows of the White House, Feldstein was immediately swamped with “I cannot wait” messages.

She caught the attention of famous friends, even Amy Schumer, who wrote: “Oh, hell yeah heeneeee.”

The much-anticipated 10-episode series is based on Jeffrey Toobin’s book A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President.

FX says the show will explore “the overlooked dimensions of women who found themselves caught up in the scandal and political war that cast a long shadow over the Clinton presidency,” according to People.

Sarah Paulson, who won a Golden Globe in 2016 for her role in The People v OJ Simpson, has been cast as Linda Tripp, the former US civil servant whose secret tape recordings of her conversations with Lewinsky helped expose the affair.

And Paula Jones, also caught up in the scandal and who sued Mr Clinton for sexual harassment, will be played by Annaleigh Ashford (Masters of Sex).

Lewinsky and Clinton scandal makes headlines
News editors had a field day, splashing the front covers of the major US newspapers with how the affair played out before a grand jury in January 1998. Photo: Getty

Clive Owen expertly transforms into Bill Clinton, telling entertainment website collider.com in January playing someone who is still very much a public figure is “daunting”.

“I got drawn into it because I went back and looked at a lot of stuff from that time. I just think it’s fascinating to watch someone like him navigate his way through an extraordinary situation like that,” Owen said.

“It will be hugely challenging. There’s something terrifying about it, but what you do is go in there and test yourself. So, I didn’t say yes immediately.

“I’ve never been one of those actors who’s found something he wants to just repeat and hone and perfect. I’d much rather keep throwing myself into situations where I feel out of my depth enough to work hard to pull it off.”

Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky meet
Lewinsky meeting President Bill Clinton at a White House Christmas party on December 16, 1996. Photo: Getty

Impeachment over: Where is Monica Lewinsky now?

After a gruelling cross-examination before a grand jury in August 1998 and the stream of salacious revelations – including taped interviews where she described details of the affair (as well as a dress that contained samples of the President’s DNA) – Lewinsky went quiet for the next decade.

As People reported, Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives in December of that year “on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, for his earlier attempts at covering up his affair with Lewinsky”.

In February 1999, the Senate voted to acquit him and he served out the remainder of his second term in office and has remained in public life ever since.

Lewinsky re-emerged in 2014 in full swing in a Vanity Fair  first-person piece where she said it was time to reclaim her identity and “burn the beret and bury the blue dress”.

A year later in a 2015 Ted Talk, The Price of Shame, Lewinsky explained how the internet transformed her “overnight” from being a “completely private figure to a publicly humiliated one worldwide”.

Monica Lewinisky embraces Bill Clinton
President Clinton embraces Monica Lewinsky at a 1996 Democratic convention. Photo: Getty

Viewed more than 19 million times, she said: “At the age of 22, I fell in love with my boss. And at the age of 24, I learned the devastating consequences.”

“I was branded as a tramp, tart, slut, whore, bimbo, and of course that woman. I was seen by many but actually known by few.”

As a passionate advocate of the dangers of cyber bullying, she said “public shaming as a blood sport has to stop”.

“I was Patient Zero of losing a personal reputation on a global scale almost instantaneously.”

Now, with Lewinsky’s input as producer on this third instalment of American Crime Story, Feldstein tagged her August 3 Instagram post accordingly.

“Every side has a story,” the 28-year-old wrote.

Impeachment: American Crime Story will premiere on September 7.