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Bill Clinton Opens Up About Lewinsky Affair, Says It Was To 'Manage My Anxieties'

In a surprisingly frank moment, former President Bill Clinton revisited the affair that almost cost him his presidency in 1998 for a new documentary series about his wife, Hillary, for Hulu.

The documentary series "Hillary" provides unparalleled access to both Hillary Clinton's ill-fated presidential campaign and her marriage.

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Filmmaker Nanette Burstein had access to 2,000+ hours of footage taken behind the scenes of Hillary Clinton's campaign, but that footage only made her more curious about Clinton's life and career.

So, Burstein conducted interviews with former campaign staff, old college friends, and of course, Hillary and her family, to gain all the insights she could.

One of the most compelling moments in the series comes when the Clintons revisit that fateful January in 1998, when news of the affair broke and Hillary had to make a choice about whether or not to leave the president.

The former president recalled initially lying to Hillary about the affair.

Sitting on the edge of their bed in the White House, he told her "There's going to be a story in the newspaper," but at first admitted only to flirting with Monica Lewinsky. Hillary recalled his story as "convincing."

However, when matters accelerated and the president had to address a grand jury, he knew he would have to confess to a sexual relationship, so he had to come clean with his wife.

"I was just devastated," Hillary said.

"I could not believe it. I was just so personally hurt."

When a producer asked the former president why he would take such a foolish risk as having an affair with an intern, Clinton replied that "Nobody thinks about that. Nobody thinks about why did I take that risk.

"That's not why people do stupid things. That's not what happened. Nobody sits down and thinks 'I think I'll take a really irresponsible risk that's bad for my family, bad for my country, bad for the people that work for me."

Clinton said that the pressures of the office led him to make a poor choice, chalking it up to "things I did to manage my anxieties."

"Here's someone who's going to take your mind off it for a while. That's what happened...It's not a defense. It's an explanation. I feel awful. I feel terrible about it."

The pair stuck it out, but not before going through counseling, which Clinton called "one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, but it was necessary. She deserved it, Chelsea deserved it, and I needed."

Clinton also said he regretted how the affair affected Lewinsky.

"I feel terrible about the fact that Monica Lewinsky's life was defined by it, unfairly I think," he said. "Over the years I watched her trying to get a normal life back again. But you gotta decide how to define normal."

Hillary premieres March 6 on Hulu.

h/t: The Daily Beast, NY Post, Hollywood Life