Footage unearthed by A&E for their new docuseries, The Clinton Affair, shows then-President Bill Clinton and then-22-year-old intern Monica Lewinsky briefly holding hands in the Oval Office when he met her family at the White House in June 1996.
After posing for pictures with Lewinsky and her father, stepmother and brother, President Clinton can be seen grasping Lewinsky’s hand for several seconds as she leaves the office. The moment took place several months before news of their affair broke and rocked the nation; by that point, the two had been secretly seeing each other for six months, Lewinsky told A&E.
Lewinsky’s father, Bernard, and stepmom, Barbara, gave a rare interview for the docuseries, with both saying something felt off about the meeting at the White House.
“When we walked in, he was friendly, very familiar with us, and that felt somewhat strange,” her father told A&E. “But we accepted it. You know, we were so proud to be there and to see the Oval Office. Not everybody gets to do that.”
Adds Barbara, “When [Clinton] was positioning us for the photo shoot it seemed a little bit odd, a little bit odd.”
Lewinsky also speaks out in the docuseries, revealing that when Clinton tried to end things with her, she threatened to tell her parents.
“He started yelling at me, like, ‘It is illegal to threaten the president of the United States of America,’ and he was so angry and I started to cry,” she recalls.
Instead of going to her parents, however, the then-intern confided in Linda Tripp — who secretly recorded Lewinsky’s private confessions and ultimately brought the affair to light in January 1998.
Lewinsky recently wrote a piece for Vanity Fair explaining her decision to participate in the documentary, saying she believes that in order “to move forward,” she must “excavate, often painfully, what has gone before … That’s exactly where we need to start to heal — with the past. But it’s not easy.