Monica Lewinsky “came very close” to attempting suicide amid the media onslaught following her affair with Former President Bill Clinton, she said during an interview with The Guardian. “I think some young people don’t see suicide as an ending, but as a reset,” she said.
Lewinsky kept a low profile – or tried to – for years following the scandal, but later embraced her inadvertent celebrity to champion anti-bullying efforts.
Her most recent Facebook message is this open thank you note to all who viewed her Ted talk on the topic a year ago:
Earlier this year she launched a new series of anti-bullying emojis, meant to give people a quick way to lend support to a friend.
“Cyberbullying, trolling, and online harassment can ensnare public officials and celebrities but also private citizens, whether teens or college kids or adults,” she wrote at the time in a piece for Vanity Fair, where she is a contributing editor. “Thousands of people are bullied online—daily.”
She had previously broken her silence with a piece in Vanity Fair titled “Shame and Survival.”
“In 1998, when news of my affair with Bill Clinton broke, I was arguably the most humiliated person in the world,” she wrote. “Thanks to the Drudge Report, I was also possibly the first person whose global humiliation was driven by the Internet.”
The more recent Guardian piece revisits the turmoil that followed her after she ended the world’s most notorious internship.
“I felt like every layer of my skin and my identity were ripped off of me in ’98 and ’99,” she said. “It’s a skinning of sorts. You feel incredibly raw and frightened. But I also feel like the shame sticks to you like tar.”
The interview touched on the current political scene but didn’t harp on the bizarre circumstances from Lewinsky’s perspective – Hillary Clinton, the wife of Lewinsky’s one-time paramour, could one day occupy the office where the infamous dalliances occurred.
Asked about GOP hopeful Donald Trump’s assertion that bringing up the episode was fair game this political season, she replied simply: “I’m not going to answer that.”