You're a braver woman than I, Hillary

What Hillary has shown me is that there is nothing to be ashamed of when you love a cad

HILLARY CLINTON has at last offered an explanation of what she thinks of her husband and his philandering. And her explanation, as outlined in an interview given to the new American magazine, Talk, has brought a torrent of ridicule upon her from critics accusing her of everything from insincerity to credulity.

To me, she emerges as a heroine. Even more so after reading the long catalogue of sins of her husband detailed in a new book on this, the best and worst of marriages about which we know too much and understand too little.

The book, by Christopher Anderson, does much to feed our hunger for ever more sordid details about this master of the universe who cannot keep his tap turned off.

The infamous Monica was one in a long line. On his wedding day, Bill was so happy he was found by a friend, kissing a young woman and fondling her breasts. There was the long affair with lounge singer Gennifer Flowers; the Paula Jones allegations; the affair with Susan McDougal (dubbed "Hot Pants" by the press, and the wife of Jim McDougal, one of Bill's best friends); the pretty nurse, Juanita Broaddrick, who claims Bill raped her and bit her lips so hard they were left swollen and bleeding (being a gentleman, he advised her to put some ice on them before he departed); his long-standing mistress, Dolly Kyle, who he screwed in an open Cadillac in full view of the neighbourhood when they were teenagers; the 25-year-old he seduced on the night of her engagement (which he had attended), and the other women who were brought to him and whisked away during the years he has been in the White House. We also know how badly Chelsea has been affected by this behaviour, and how she has been rushed to hospital three times owing to stress-related conditions.

Knowing all this makes the Talk interview even more extraordinary. Hillary still feels a kind of love for Bill. But more than that, she pities him. She makes excuses for the fact that he is "such a hard dog to keep on the porch". He does what he does because his own father died before he was born and his stepfather was a brute. Worse than that, he was caught between his mother and grandmother who were forever quarrelling. This is why the poor lad is a sex addict.

Of course, derision has been poured on these simplistic psycho-cliches. I think Hillary is far cleverer than those who laugh at her. By dousing her husband in this kind of hollow understanding, she has found the perfect way of humiliating him while ennobling herself. Sure, some feminists will spit blood at these pathetic assertions; others will think she is a Lady Macbeth figure who would sell her heart to the devil to get power. But I think that this might be the perfect revenge for a sorely tried woman who is an intellectual giant but who also has complex views about marriage and love.

I wonder if people really understand what it feels like to be with an adulterous man, when you could be free if you wanted because you are independent (both in mind and pocket), but when you feel an almost religious attachment to the vows you made and the children you chose to have.

I lived in such a marriage once and I loved the said chap immeasurably. So much so that I turned a blind eye to what he did and at times paid back in kind, something which is always sordid and inexcusable. I know that during those years I felt unattractive and unworthy.

I remember giving him a copy of She Came to Stay by Simone de Beauvoir which is a biting portrayal of an open relationship, much of which feels intensely autobiographical. My scribbled message inside the front cover spoke of how I felt poisoned by our lifestyle. But I still believed in what we had and wanted to keep it going, especially as we had a son we both loved very much. When my ex-husband left I was hysterical with pain and carried on like a Bollywood actress on speed. It was not good, it was not dignified. Sadly, I was not like Hillary.

What Hillary has shown me is that there is nothing to feel ashamed of when you love a cad. We are all capable of falling for worthless but charming men. I understand why she cannot allow herself to think of the other women, even though she should. She no longer pretends that she is immune from normal emotions. She says she is angry, lonely, betrayed and humiliated. And yet, for now, she is going nowhere alone.

She has not given up easily on a long relationship, and she is fighting to keep faith for the sake of her only child. I can only admire such courage, which hangs in there in spite of knowing that the man is not worth it.

Arts and Entertainment
British author Helen Macdonald, pictured with Costa book of the year, 'H is for Hawk'
booksPanel hail Helen Macdonald's 'brilliantly written, muscular prose' in memoir of a grief-stricken daughter who became obsessed with training a goshawk
Arts and Entertainment
Tom DeLonge has announced his departure from Blink-182

music
Arts and Entertainment
The episode saw the surprise return of shifty caravan owner Susan Wright, played by a Pauline Quirke (ITV)

Review: Broadchurch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ava DuVernay and David Oyelowo are teaming up for a Hurricane Katrina drama

film
Arts and Entertainment
Just folk: The Unthanks

music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
In the picture: Anthony LaPaglia and Martin Freeman in 'The Eichmann Show'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Kirkbride and Bill Roache as Deirdre and Ken Barlow in Coronation Street

tvThe actress has died aged 60
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Marianne Jean-Baptiste defends Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The frill of it all: Hattie Morahan in 'The Changeling'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny may reunite for The X Files

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
TV
News
A young woman punched a police officer after attending a gig by US rapper Snoop Dogg
people
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Arts and Entertainment

Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated

Arts and Entertainment
Damian Lewis shooting a scene as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall
TV

Arts and Entertainment
A history of violence: ‘Angry, White and Proud’ looked at the rise of far-right groups

tv

An expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle

Arts and Entertainment

art

Lee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Keaton in the 1998 Beetlejuice original

film

Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TV

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

    Greece elections

    In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
    Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

    Holocaust Memorial Day

    Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
    Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

    Magnetic north

    The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
    Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

    Front National family feud?

    Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
    Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

    Pot of gold

    Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
    10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

    From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

    While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
    Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

    'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

    Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
    DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

    The inside track on France's trial of the year

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
    As provocative now as they ever were

    Sarah Kane season

    Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

    Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore