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Monica Lewinsky speaks out: 'Time to burn the beret'

The most famous White House intern ever says she wants to clear the air and stop “tiptoeing around my past.”
Monica Lewinsky in London, Mar. 19, 2013.
Monica Lewinsky in London, Mar. 19, 2013.

Monica Lewinsky -- perhaps the most famous White House intern ever -- is speaking out after years of silence.

The now-40-year-old wrote a piece in this month’s Vanity Fair describing her affair with President Bill Clinton in the mid 1990s, insisting she wants to clear the air and stop “tiptoeing around my past.”

In excerpts posted online, Lewinsky -- who recently earned a master’s degree in psychology -- writes: “It’s time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress,” adding “I myself, deeply regret what happened between me and President Clinton. Let me say it again: I. Myself. Deeply. Regret. What. Happened.” The scandal, of course, led to Clinton’s impeachment, threatened his presidency and has forever been a black eye on his administration.

Still, Lewinsky insisted in the Vanity Fair piece that the affair was consensual and that “any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position.”

So why speak out now? Lewinsky cited Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide in 2010 after being bullied for being gay and said she wanted to help others in their darkest moments. Lewinsky said she too had “strong suicidal temptations” during the investigations and after. “I, too, was suicidal,” wrote Lewinsky, then speaking about her mother’s reaction to Clementi said: “The shame, the scorn and the fear that had been thrown at her daughter left her afraid that I would take my own life – a fear that I would be literally humiliated to death.”

The Drudge Report broke the story of the affair. "I was also possibly the first person whose global humiliation was driven by the Internet,” Lewinsky wrote.

Lewinsky also weighed in on recently released archived documents, in which Clinton's friend, Diane Blair, recounted how the former first lady characterized the intern as a "narcissistic loony toon." Her reaction? Could have been worse.

"If that's the worst thing she said, I should be so lucky. Mrs. Clinton, I read, had supposedly confided to Blair that, in part, she blamed herself for her husband's affair (by being emotionally neglectful) and seemed to forgive him. Although she regarded Bill as having engaged in 'gross inappropriate behavior,' the affair was, nonetheless, 'consensual (was not a power relationship),'" wrote Lewinsky.

If Hillary Clinton does decide to run for president in 2016, it’s likely Lewinsky’s name will be popping up more frequently. Republican Sen. Rand Paul, of Kentucky, has recently cited the former president’s “predatory behavior.” And Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus earlier this year said the Lewinsky scandal is perfectly apt to bring up should the former secretary of state run.

“I think everything’s on the table,” Priebus told msnbc in February.

The entire Vanity Fair story will be available online on May 8 and on newsstands on May 13.