Lena Dunham was thrilled to have Hillary Clinton interview for her new digital newsletter Lenny (launching Sept. 29), and while they talked about major topics like feminism and the upcoming presidential election, the Girls actress couldn't help but address one personal topic with the candidate: her marriage to Bill Clinton.
"You are a woman with so many accomplishments and so many interests and you were uniting with someone who was clearly heading toward the public eye in such a specific way," Dunham begins. "Did you have anxiety about that—about the concept of losing your own identity in the process of joining forces with someone who clearly had political ambitions?"
Hillary admits without hesitation that she did, indeed, have her reservations about marrying someone like Bill.
"I was terrified about losing my identity and getting lost in the kind of wake of Bill's force-of-nature personality," she reveals to Dunham. "I actually turned him down twice when he asked me to marry him. We were in England on a trip after law school graduation. He asked me to marry him. I said, 'You know, I can't say yes. I can't do that right now.'"
But he didn't stop there. She continues, "And then, about a year later he asked me again, and I said 'No.' He said, 'Well, I'm not asking you again until you're ready to say yes.' And that was a large part of the ambivalence and the worry that I wouldn't necessarily know who I was or what I could do if I got married to someone who was going to chart a path that he was incredibly clear about."
While Bill had his mind set on exactly what he wanted to do and where he wanted to go with his career, Hillary's were a bit blurry.
"My ideas were much more inchoate," she admits to Dunham about her younger years. "I wasn't sure how to best harness my energies. And so I was searching. And I wasn't quite sure how everything I cared about might fit into a marriage with him"
However, eventually she came to the realization that he was the one for her, and somehow things would work out.
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"And so eventually I said yes. It was a big leap of faith, and I think most marriages are," she says, candidly. "I mean, you really do just sort of say, 'Okay, I think I know what it's gonna be like, but I don't know for sure. Let's find out.'"
The two married in the living room of a house they bought together in Lafayette, Ark., and the rest is history!
If there's one lesson Hillary wants young women to take from her story and her apprehensiveness to marry Bill, she says, "Don't be reluctant to make decisions, and don't rush into them. I mean, give them some thought. And then finally you say to yourself, 'I think this is right for me. I'm going to, go ahead and do it.' And you just do the best you can."
Clinton's full interview will be available to Lenny subscribers on Sept. 29.