New book says Hillary Clinton blamed husband's infidelity on abuse as a child
POSTED: Friday, August 1, 2014 - 8:40am
UPDATED: Monday, August 4, 2014 - 10:39am
(CNN) — Hillary Clinton told an interviewer in 1999 - the year after the Monica Lewinsky scandal rocked Bill Clinton's presidency - that the President's infidelity issues stemmed from his abusive mother and led to a sex addiction for the former president.
The comments come from an upcoming book by Lucinda Franks, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, whose book - "Timeless: Love, Morgenthau and Me" - is set to hit bookshelves in late August. Clinton's comments come from an interview she granted Franks, at the time a writer for the short lived Talk magazine.
"He was abused," Clinton told Franks. "When a mother does what she does, it affects you forever."
Clinton continued: "I am not going into it, but I'll say that when this happens in children, it scars you. You keep looking in all the wrong places for the parent who abused you."
Franks does not specify the nature of the abuse in the the book passage and writes that the then-first lady "declined to give me details."
Franks does, however, write the Hillary Clinton acknowledged that Bill Clinton had a sex addiction because of the abuse.
"I asked her when she thought Bill's sexual addiction began," Franks writes. "Did she know about it when they married?"
"She shook her head no," writes Franks, "and then became more animated as she started to talk about his mother."
Hillary Clinton told Franks that Bill Clinton's mother "was a doozy," according to the book, which was first reported on by the New York Daily News.
The interview, however, never was run in full and Franks left out much of the stuff Hillary Clinton said about Bill Clinton and abuse. Instead, Franks ran this quote attributed to Hillary Clinton:
"He (Bill Clinton) was so young, barely 4, when he was scarred by abuse. ... There was terrible conflict between his mother and his grandmother. A psychologist once told me that for a boy being in the middle of a conflict between two women is the worst possible situation. There's always a desire to please each one."
Tina Brown, the publisher of Talk Magazine, said that the New York Daily News story was the "first I heard that the story was watered down and there were all these quotes."
"Obviously wish I had known," she said in an email to CNN. "The story made enormous news at the time with the 'it was a sin of weakness' quote but it seems there was a lot more not revealed by Lucinda then for some reason."
In the book passage, Franks reflects on why she never published part of the story.
"Abuse is a non-specific concept that can refer to any number of behaviors, some more severe than others," Franks wrote. "In any event, it was not Bill's memory, it was Hillary's - and she wasn't even there."
Franks continues: "So, for the article, I wrote up one part of the interview that she had given me on the plane and described the abusive atmosphere in the President's childhood home and the constant conflict between his mother and his grandmother over him."
Later in the book, Franks writes that she "did not regret the judgment call we had made."
It has long been known that Bill Clinton was raised in a complicated and abusive household.
Bill Clinton never knew his biological father Bill Blythe, who died in a car accident months before his son was born in 1946.
While the death left Virginia Kelley to raise young Bill, for the first few years of his life, Kelley had little to no role in Clinton's upbringing.
When Bill was one-year old, Kelley decided to move to Louisiana and get a degree in anesthesiology, leaving her young child in the care of her parents.
When Kelley returned to Arkansas three years later, she quickly married Roger Clinton, Sr., a man her parents disapproved of, and someone who turned out to be an abusive alcoholic.
"Bill protected me and took responsibility at such an early age," Kelley once said of her son. "There is no way I can describe to you what he has meant to me."
After a quick divorce when Bill Clinton was 15, Kelley and Clinton got back together in 1962. Bill Clinton was strongly against the remarriage and according to a 1994 Washington Post profile, he told Kelley she was "making a big mistake, mother."
Once remarried, however, Bill Clinton - at that time known as Bill Blythe - took the Clinton last name as a way to support his mother.
Hillary Clinton has also long blamed her husband's infidelity on issues with his upbringing.
In a conversation with Diane Blair in 1998, Blair claims Hillary Clinton mentioned that she and Bill Clinton spoke with a psychologist who dealt with family therapy and sexual infidelity problems.
"Most men with fidelity problems raised by two women and felt conflicts between them," Blair wrote in a diary about her conversation with Clinton. The psychologist had "read about Bill's bio; grandmother despised Virginia, tried to get custody of Bill; Bill adored by his mother; but she left him, etc. etc."
Blair's writing on personal conversations with Hillary Clinton were part of recently discovered archives at the University of Arkansas. Blair, who was a longtime friend and confidant of Hillary Clinton's, kept detailed notes of her interactions with the first family at the hopes of one day publishing a book about them.
CNN requested a comment on the book from Hillary Clinton's spokesman, but never received one.