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In Vanity Fair essay, Monica Lewinsky praises 'grit and grace' of Chelsea and Hillary Clinton

Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, who had an affair with former President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, has penned an essay for Vanity Fair magazine, titled "Emerging from 'The House of Gaslight' in the age of #MeToo." (Getty Images)

Marking the 20th anniversary of the infamous Ken Starr investigation expanding to include her, Monica Lewinsky shared her thoughts on the #MeToo movement in an essay for Vanity Fair on Sunday and included a compliment to Hillary and Chelsea Clinton.

The former White House intern, who had an affair with former President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, used her platform to reflect on her past experiences as the nation looks back on the scandal through a different lens.

What did she say about Hillary and Chelsea Clinton?

Although Hillary Clinton had once called Lewinsky a "narcissistic loony toon," Lewinsky praised both the former first lady and her daughter in the Vanity Fair piece.  Giving a nod to Chelsea and Hillary Clinton, she said the pair were able to move through the scandal "with grit and grace."

Lewinsky acknowledged that some have questioned whether her White House experiences have a place being shared in the #MeToo movement, since her relationship with President Clinton was consensual and not a sexual assault. But she credited the #MeToo and Time's Up movements for "speaking volumes against the pernicious conspiracies of silence that have long protected powerful men when it comes to sexual assault, sexual harassment, and abuse of power."

Now an anti-bullying activist, the 44-year-old Lewinsky told of how she was silenced during the investigation and felt alone during that time. But in light of the #MeToo movement, Lewinsky said she doesn't believe she would have felt so isolated if it had happened in today's climate.

What happen when she met Ken Starr?

Lewinsky began by telling the story of finally meeting Ken Starr through happenstance for the first time just a few months ago. She described their exchange, noting that he asked several times if she was "doing OK," recalling his demeanor to be "somewhere between avuncular and creepy."

Although she said Starr made her "uncomfortable" because he "kept touching (her) arm and elbow," Lewinsky said "a stranger might have surmised from his tone that he had actually been worried about me over these years."

Before revealing that she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after the trauma she endured from the investigation two decades ago, Lewinsky said Starr had made her life a "living hell."

Noting in her essay that Starr did not apologize, she told him, "Though I wish I had made different choices back then, I wish that you and your office had made different choices, too."

Lewinsky wrote that Starr responded, "I know. It was unfortunate."

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