More than two decades after her record-breaking interview with Barbara Walters on “20/20,” Monica Lewinsky is reacting to the tragic news of the veteran broadcaster’s death.
Lewinsky, 49, took to social media on Friday night and posted a short thread remembering the iconic journalist, who died Friday at her home in New York. She was 93. Lewinsky, whose March 3, 1999 interview with Walters on ABC drew a whopping 74 million viewers, recalled meeting Walters at just 24 years of age amid Kenneth Starr’s investigation, which ultimately uncovered President Bill Clinton’s affair with Lewinsky, then a White House intern.
“i knew barbara for over half of my life. we met in the spring of 1998, in the midst of the starr investigation; i was 24,” she tweeted. “i remarked that this was the first time i’d ever been in serious trouble. i’d basically been a good kid – got good grades, didn’t do drugs, never shoplifted etc. without missing a beat barbara said: monica, next time shoplift.”
Lewinsky revealed she stayed in touch with Walters over the past 25 years, while adding that the last time they saw each other was for lunch a few years ago.
“Of course, she was charming, witty and some of her questions were still her signature interview style,” Lewinsky continued. “‘so tell me, monica, how do you feel …etc etc.’ she was the very first person with whom i ever sat for a television interview… and will certainly be my most memorable. barbara will be missed by many — including me. sending love to jackie, george + her other friends. #RIPBarbara.”
Following the tribute, a fan commented, “A lovely tribute. Glad you have some positive memories of that horrible time. I have tremendous respect for you. Your picture should be in the dictionary next to “Grace.” Lewinsky responded with a folding hands emoji.
Lewinsky would go on to serve as a consultant on Ryan Murphy’s “Impeachment: American Crime Story”, the third season of the FX true-crime anthology series. Beanie Feldstein portrayed Lewinsky.
In a 2019 email to Vanity Fair, Lewinsky explained her reasons for signing on to produce the show.
“I was hesitant, and truthfully more than a little scared to sign on. But after a lengthy dinner meeting with Ryan, I came to understand even more clearly how dedicated he is to giving a voice to the marginalized in all of his brilliant work,” Lewinsky wrote. “I’m privileged to work with him and the other talented people on the team, and I’m privileged to have this opportunity.”
She continued, “People have been co-opting and telling my part in this story for decades. In fact, it wasn’t until the past few years that I’ve been able to fully reclaim my narrative; almost 20 years later.” The opportunity to produce the series, she explained, “allows people like me who have been historically silenced to finally reintroduce my voice to the conversation.”
Before the limited series, Lewinsky had only participated in the 2018 docuseries, “The Clinton Affair”, talking very little about the scandal in public.
In her 1999 interview with Walters, Lewinsky broke her silence about the political scandal more than a year after being hounded by the media looking to score the big scoop that ultimately went to Walters. According to Variety, the two-hour special was watched by nearly 50 percent of all TV sets in the country that night.
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