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Monica Lewinsky Admits Ex-President Bill Clinton Had 'A Charisma' To Him: 'I Was Intoxicated'

Sep. 8 2021, Published 10:34 a.m. ET

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Monica Lewinsky is opening up about what drew her to ex-president Bill Clinton and ultimately led to their infamous affair that shocked the world.

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Looking back on her time as a 22-year-old White House intern when Clinton was, at the time, the 49-year-old president of the United States, Lewinsky, now 48, candidly said she got lost in Clinton's charm.

"For me, at 22 there was this combination of the awe of being at the White House, the awe of the presidency and the awe of this man who had an amazing energy and charisma was paying attention to me," the activist told PEOPLE, confessing that she was "enamored with him, like many others."

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monica lewinsky admits ex president bill clinton charisma ok
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"He had a charisma to him — and it was a lethal charm and I was intoxicated," Lewinsky recalled. She went on to speculate that many people have, and still do, get caught up in similar situations with someone of a higher professional ranking.

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Lewinsky said people in their early 20s think they're in control of everything in their lives, when in reality, young adults can still succumb to the influence of those above them. "We think we're on his terra firma in our early twenties and yet we're really on this quicksand. [You think], I'm an adult now," she explained.

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Lewinsky — a producer on the new FX series Impeachment: American Crime Story, which premiered Tuesday, September 7 — added that many former presidents may have been flattered by a young intern flirting with them; however, they didn't cross the line like Clinton, 75, had.

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"You look at it through the lens or imagine other presidents who weren't involved in sex scandals, you imagine there would have been a moment of, Oh, I've still got it, and a smile to themselves and then they would have moved on and not created a sort of energetic bubble for something to happen," she speculated.

monica lewinsky admits ex president bill clinton charisma ok
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"They would not have encouraged a 22 year old. And certainly not kept things going for as long as they did," Lewinsky noted, as she threw shade at her former lover.

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After their affair made headlines, Lewinsky retreated from the spotlight in the mid-2000s. She has since returned to reclaim her story and examine what happened "between the most powerful man in the world and an unpaid intern less than half his age," as she told the outlet.

monica lewinsky admits ex president bill clinton charisma ok
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While Lewinsky continues to speak out abut their infamous affair, she maintained that she is no longer seeking an apology from the impeached president. "If I had been asked five years ago, there would have been a part of me that needed something — that still wanted something," she admitted before emphasizing that she doesn't yearn for "a sense of closure" anymore.

Last year, Clinton said in the Hulu documentary Hillary that their affair was a way for him to "manage anxieties."

Lewinsky told the outlet she couldn't speak to how Clinton viewed their relationship, but confessed: "At 22 years old, I mistakenly thought the sliver of him that I got to know was the whole of who he was. And with that, I thought I mattered more than I did."

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