On This Day: Bill Clinton's famous denial over Monica Lewinsky affair

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Watch: On This Day - Bill Clinton's famous denial over Monica Lewinsky affair

This article is part of Yahoo's 'On This Day' series

They were words spoken 24 years ago, but many of us remember them like they were yesterday.

When US president Bill Clinton insisted, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman," little did he know that it would become the sentence he was best known for.

The famous denial came after Clinton was engulfed by a scandal in 1998 when it was claimed he had had an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, between 1995 and 1997 when she was in her 20s.

Lewinsky had been hired as an intern during Clinton's first term in 1995 and went on to become a White House employee.

President Bill Clinton shakes his finger as he denies improper behavior with Monica Lewinsky, in the White House Roosevelt Room.
Clinton categorically denied having an affair with Monica Lewinsky. Speaking in the White House Roosevelt Room with his wife by his side on 26 January 1998, he famously said: "I did not have sexual relations with that woman". (Getty)

She later confided in Linda Tripp, a colleague at the US Defense Department, about her relationship with the president, unaware that her friend was secretly recording their phone conversations and later delivered them to special counsel Ken Starr, who was investigating Clinton on other matters.

When the revelations emerged, Clinton was engulfed in the scandal, prompting him to hit back in a now-famous speech on 26 January 1998.

Speaking at a public engagement where he appeared with his wife, the president stated: "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.

"I never told anybody to lie, not a single time. Never. These allegations are false and I need to go back to work for the American people."

A photograph showing former White House intern Monica Lewinsky meeting President Bill Clinton at a White House Christmas part December 16, 1996. (Getty)
A photograph showing former White House intern Monica Lewinsky meeting president Bill Clinton at a White House Christmas part 16 December 1996. (Getty)
Monica Lewinsky, a former White House intern and Department of Defence employee who reportly has had a year long affair with President Bill Clinton.
Monica Lewinsky had confided in friend Linda Tripp about her affair with Clinton, not realising she was secretly recording their phone conversations. (Getty)

Clinton was impeached by the US House of Representatives in December 1998 on the grounds of perjury and obstruction of justice as a result of Starr's report, but was acquitted on 12 February 1999.

He was later held in contempt of court in a civil case after it was ruled he had given misleading testimony about Lewinsky in another court case.

He remained in office until the end of his term in January 2001, when George W Bush was inaugurated as the new US president.

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In 2021 an FX series was released about the scandal, dubbed Impeachment: American Crime Story.

Ahead of its release Lewinsky, who was a producer on the show, said Clinton should "want to apologise" to her for their infamous affair, but said she didn't need an apology.

She said: "There was a long period, before my life changed in the last six or seven years, where I felt a lot in terms of there not being this resolution.

"I'm very grateful that I don't have that feeling anymore. I don't need it."

This 12 February image taken from C-SPAN television shows Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott(L),R-MS, and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle(R), D-SD, presenting an award of the
Clinton was impeached but was acquitted by the Senate on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. (Getty)
Monica Lewinsky at a red carpet event for the documentary
Monica Lewinsky at a red carpet event for the documentary Impeachment: American Crime Story in September, 2021. (Getty)

She added: "He should want to apologise in the same way I want to apologise any chance I get to people my actions have hurt."

In the interview ahead of the show airing, Lewinsky said she was nervous for viewers to see "some of the worst moments of her life.

She said: "I do not recommend watching your early 20s be dramatised on TV, especially in this instance where the truth really was stranger than fiction."

Asked if she wanted Clinton to watch the show, she said: "I don't even know how to really answer that."

Watch: Impeachment: American Crime Story allows producer Monica Lewinsky to tell 'her story'

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