As the White House Turns
Will Monica Lewinsky ever get over the Big Creep?
"I worry about her," says a Washington friend of the 25-year-old former intern fatale, who began the dalliance on Nov. 15, 1995, by flashing her thong underwear at Clinton and wound up testifying in August under an immunity deal. "She has to sit down and figure out why she's so lonely and insecure. Even the grand jurors told her that she needs to figure out why she's sleeping with married men."
Presumably she will confront some of the psycho-nitty-gritty—and, with a $600,000 deal, knock off a chunk of her $2 million in legal bills—in her forthcoming tell-all. Due out in February (barring legal snags), the book is being written with Andrew Morton, biographer and friend of Princess Di. Lewinsky and Morton, who meet for a few hours each day at her new L.A. condo, "are getting along very well," says a family friend. In October, Monica moved out of the Watergate apartment where the media had kept her under virtual house arrest, bidding goodbye to her neighbors there—including former Sen. Bob Dole—with a personally signed letter apologizing for any inconvenience her presence caused. "I felt sorry for her," says Dole, who also took pity on the press, sharing his weekly delivery of Dunkin' Donuts (he did a 1997 ad for the company) with reporters. Lewinsky now splits her time between L.A. and her mother's home in New York City. Although she lost her temper at a Manhattan restaurant in November—snapping at fellow diners for eavesdropping on her cell phone conversation—"I think she has some discipline in her life right now," says the family friend. "She's getting it together." In October she signed up for a weight-loss course. Her tastes in fashion, however, remain the same. Recently she slipped into a trendy Santa Monica boutique and bought—what else?—a black beret.
Lewinsky's affluent mother, Marcia Lewis, 50, a sometime writer, has also tried to move on. She married her second husband, millionaire media magnate R. Peter Straus, in April, not long after spending two days before the grand jury. "She wanted Monica to live a fancy, well-connected life," says Steven Schragis, who published Lewis's gossipy 1996 bio The Private Lives of the Three Tenors. "They didn't expect this."
Can Paula Jones find happiness back in Little Rock?
For the past five years, the onetime data-entry clerk has been living in Long Beach, Calif., with husband Steve Jones and their two young sons, supported by the likes of wealthy conservative activist Susan Carpenter-McMillan. Now, says Carpenter-McMillan, "Paula wants to buy a little home in Arkansas." Last month, Jones, 32, finally received an $850,000 settlement (but no apology) in her sexual harassment suit against Clinton. The experience left her with huge minuses ($3 million in debts, likely to be met with help from conservative supporters) as well as pluses (a makeover that included a nose job on her oft-mocked proboscis). "Doesn't Paula look beautiful?" says Carpenter-McMillan. "She's in very good spirits."
Will showbiz break Gennifer Flowers's heart?
The self professed love of Clinton's life, who in 1992 first told the nation of what would turn out to be his Achilles' heel (or other body part), is now living in Las Vegas, where the singer claims Clinton supporters have repeatedly shot down attempts to book her nightclub act. "So many people have told me, 'Why don't you get on with your life?' " says Flowers, 48. "Well, I'm trying, but it's awfully damned hard when things like this continually happen." She has had success with foreign gigs, including a talk show appearance in Santiago, Chile.
Vernon Jordan, 63, the respected Washington lawyer-lobbyist-adviser, whose attempts to land Lewinsky a cushy job exposed him to harsher media glare than he was accustomed to, has quietly slipped back into his role as Friend of Bill. "He's just so cool," says presidential biographer David Maraniss. "He comes out totally untouched." This year he also played small roles in two movies, The Gingerbread Man and Rounders. Suspicious, isn't it, Gennifer?
How will Linda Tripp fill up those empty hours?
Monica Lewinsky's phone pal, a federal employee who made it her personal mission to keep a close, suspicious eye on the goings-on in the Clinton Administration, may have finally realized that life offers more fulfilling hobbies. Tripp, 49, now enjoys the pleasures of exercise, taking aerobics classes and vigorous walks near her home in Columbia, Md., and has lost at least 25 pounds. "It was time to take care of herself," says her lawyer Joe Murtha. "She's partaking in life rather than hibernating." She is also still considering shopping a book, although not through her friend Lucianne Goldberg, the tough-talking Manhattan literary agent who urged her to tape Lewinsky's conversations about the indignities of dating a married world leader. Although Goldberg, 63, sometimes gets heckled on the street ("One lady said, 'Why are you doing this to Chelsea?' I was like, 'Hello? Chelsea's not my kid' "), she admits she has enjoyed her part. "It's better than being invisible," she says. "At least it has been telegraphed to the world: 'Do not mess with this woman.' "
Will William Ginsberg ever shut up?
Any guesses? Monica's first attorney, an L.A.-based malpractice lawyer and Lewinsky family friend, 55, turned out to be a media gadfly who made a dog-and-pony show of defending his client. Sacked in June, he recently told The New Yorker that he suffered posttraumatic stress syndrome from the case. Returning to court in July, he promised one jury, "I won't talk about sex.... I've had enough of that, I assure you." He won. But there he was, just last month, telling jokes about Ken Starr in a celebrity stand-up contest in Washington, D.C. This time he didn't win.
Who killed Kathleen Willey's cat?
Willey, 52, the former White House volunteer who told the grand jury that Clinton had groped her in the Oval Office in 1993, has stayed out of the spotlight since repeating her story to 60 Minutes in March. Her account has been clouded by claims that she asked a friend to lie to back up her story, as well as by charges that White House supporters pressured her to back down. (Two days before her testimony, the Richmond, Va., widow says she was accosted by a strange man in her driveway who asked about her car—nails had been driven into the tires—and the family feline, who later turned up dead.) Still, "she's a strong person," says Willey's friend Tommy Gilman, sergeant at arms in the Virginia Senate. "Always has been."
Will Betty Currie's secretarial duties lighten?
They already have. Clinton's personal aide no longer has to schedule Monica's visits or retrieve the chief's legally troublesome little gifts to the ex-intern. Currie, 59, continues to report each day to her desk, 20 feet from the Oval Office. "She's still the West Wing den mother," says a White House friend. "She's always there to sew up your skirt when the hem rips." She plans to retire after Clinton leaves office.
Is Chelsea Clinton on course for true romance?
The First Daughter, 18, a Stanford University sophomore, no longer dates swimmer Matthew Pierce but has recently been dining out with Matthew Reed Wilsey, a poli-sci major and the son of a margarine magnate. Despite her father's topsy-turvy career, "Chelsea looks, well, very normal," says one student. "Smiling, yes. Happy."