Nearly two decades after her name became synonymous with scandal, impeachment and one infamous blue dress, Monica Lewinsky is writing publicly about her affair with President Bill Clinton for the first time.
“It’s time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress," Lewinsky writes in the upcoming issue of Vanity Fair, explaining that she doesn't want people “tiptoeing around my past — and other people’s futures. I am determined to have a different ending to my story."
The revelation of Lewinsky's affair with Clinton created a firestorm in American politics, and led to the president's impeachment.
“I, myself, deeply regret what happened between me and President Clinton," Lewinsky writes.
"Let me say it again: I. Myself. Deeply. Regret. What. Happened.”
The full essay will be published in the June issue of Vanity Fair, on newsstands May 8.
“Sure, my boss took advantage of me," Lewinsky continued, "but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship. Any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position."
The 40-year-old former White House intern says, "the Clinton administration, the special prosecutor’s minions, the political operatives on both sides of the aisle, and the media were able to brand me. And that brand stuck, in part because it was imbued with power.”
Lewinsky, who says she turned down offers of $10 million "because they didn’t feel like the right thing to do," was inspired to end her 10-year "virtual silence" on the topic by Tyler Clementi, the 18-year-old Rutgers freshman who committed suicide in 2010 after he was secretly streamed via Webcam kissing another man.
"Perhaps by sharing my story," Lewinsky writes, "I might be able to help others in their darkest moments of humiliation."
It's not the first time she's opened up about her humiliation at the hands of the president. In 1999, Lewinsky cooperated for “Monica’s Story," an authorised biography by Andrew Morton.
The essay's publication comes ahead of a potential 2016 presidential run by Hillary Clinton, who it was revealed in February once characterized Lewinsky as a "narcissistic loony toon."
"Yes, I get it," Lewinsky writes. "Hillary Clinton wanted it on record that she was lashing out at her husband’s mistress. She may have faulted her husband for being inappropriate, but I find her impulse to blame the Woman — not only me, but herself — troubling.
"Courageous or foolish, maybe," Lewinsky adds, "but narcissistic and loony?"
Some members of the GOP have hinted they plan to revisit the Lewinsky scandal during the 2016 presidential cycle if Clinton runs to provide a different perspective on the Clinton White House.
In January, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul called Bill Clinton's affair with Lewinsky "predatory."
"This isn't having an affair," Paul, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, said on "Meet the Press."
"Someone who takes advantage of a young girl in their office? I mean, really. And then [Democrats] have the gall to stand up and say, 'Republicans are having a war on women'? So, yes, I think it's a factor. Now, it's not Hillary's fault. But it is a factor in judging Bill Clinton in history."