Monica Lewinsky
Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky meeting President Bill Clinton at a White House function Getty

Monica Lewinsky has revealed she felt suicidal following the worldwide attention she received in the wake of her affair with former US president Bill Clinton.

Speaking publicly about the affair for the first time in 10 years, Lewinsky said it was time to "burn the beret and bury the blue dress" and discuss her past in an article for Vanity Fair.

Lewinsky's affair with the president started in 1996 when she was a 23-year-old intern at the White House. By 1998, the scandal had broken and Clinton was impeached after publicly denying ever having had a sexual relationship with her.

Lewinsky, now 40, described how she regretted what happened.

"Let me say it again: I. Myself. Deeply. Regret. What. Happened," she saidd.

Describing why she decided to give her side of the story after a decade of self-imposed silence, Lewinsky said she was motivated by the suicide of Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old US college student who killed himself after he found out his flatmate had secretly filmed him kissing another man in 2010.

Lewinsky said that incident had left her mother in tears because it reminded her of a period in 1998 when "she wouldn't let me out of her sight".

She added: [My mother] was replaying those weeks when she stayed by my bed, night after night, because I, too, was suicidal. The shame, the scorn, and the fear that had been thrown at her daughter left her afraid that I would take my own life - a fear that I would be humiliated to death."

After Clementi's death, she said, "my own suffering took on a different meaning".

She said: "Perhaps by sharing my story, I reasoned, I might be able to help others in their darkest moments of humiliation. The question became: How do I find and give a purpose to my past?"

Lewinsky said she would speak publicly about online harassment and humiliationto help others. She said that because of the Clinton affair, not only did she feel she was the most humiliated person in the world, but thanks to US news aggregator website Drudge Report - which broke the story in 1998 - she was also possibly "the first person whose global humiliation was driven by the internet".

The full interview will be featured in the June issue of Vanity Fair.