Exactly 19 years after Monica Lewinsky met with prosecutors, her biographer recalls how the scandal took its toll on her

By Steve Helling
July 27, 2017 02:26 PM
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On July 27, 1998, a young woman named Monica Lewinsky finally agreed to speak with prosecutors about her sexual relationship with then-President Bill Clinton. That meeting would eventually lead to impeachment hearings against Clinton.

Lewinsky, then 25, had become the central figure in the biggest political scandal in modern American history. She was the punchline of late night comedians. Reporters camped out at her house. Even though the internet was still in its infancy, people dissected Lewinsky’s life on message boards and chat rooms.

Lewinsky was devastated by the attention, and went on to work with biographer Andrew Morton to tell her side of the scandal. Monica’s Story, first released in March 1999, went on to become an international bestseller.

In a rare interview, Morton speaks out about Lewinsky’s ordeal on Saturday’s episode of Scandal Made Me Famous on the Reelz Channel. He recalls the time he spent with her when the scandal was front-page news.

“She was crucified for that relationship,” Morton tells the show. “She was someone who had genuine feelings for the President of the United States. She picked the wrong man, at the wrong time, in the wrong country, in the wrong office.”

“It was an absolutely harrowing time,” Morton continues. “Not just for herself, but for her mother, for her father, for her stepmother, for her aunt, for her brother. Every single member of that family was tainted by her affair, as were many of her friends.”

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Credit: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Morton said that the constant attention began to take a mental and physical toll on Lewinsky. Her mother came to live with her at the Watergate apartments in Washington D.C. They drew the blinds shut and tried to avoid being photographed through the windows.

“They crawled from room to room,” Morton says. “They were terrified of going out. It was an absolute living nightmare. They just didn’t know what to do. They were in total meltdown.”

It has now been exactly 19 years since Lewinsky’s meeting with prosecutors. Now 44, she is still a household name, and frequently speaks out about cyberbullying.

“It’s been a difficult journey for her,” says Morton. “It’s a journey that continues. But nonetheless, there is light at the end of a very dark tunnel.”

Scandal Made Me Famous combines reenactments, exclusive interviews and never-before-seen photos and video to tell the story of infamous crimes. The show is hosted by PEOPLE Senior Writer Steve Helling.

The Monica Lewinsky episode premieres this Saturday at 9 p.m. ET on the Reelz Channel.