By WILLIAM C. MANN
WASHINGTON – Every woman has a right to change her mind, Paula Jones says in explaining why she agreed to pose nude for Penthouse magazine after promising she would “never … never” do that for any men’s magazine.
Jones, whose allegations that then-Gov. Bill Clinton of Arkansas made a sexual advance toward her led eventually to his impeachment, said she was used by both sides in the dispute.
“They used me to get out on TV to voice their opinion, one way or the other, what they felt about Bill Clinton,” Jones said today on NBC’s “Today.” “Now, nobody’s around. Everybody’s gone. Nobody talks to me. They’re gone now.”
She said financial obligations as a single mother with a looming tax bill and two young sons were major considerations that led her to take the assignment with Penthouse. The magazine published the spread, titled “Perils of Paula Jones,” on Tuesday, in its December issue.
Asked how much she was paid, the former Arkansas state employee replied, “That’s supposed to be confidential.”
Was posing in scanty or no attire embarrassing? she was asked Tuesday night on CNN’s “Larry King Live.”
“No, not really. I am an adult woman and made the choice to do so,” Jones said. “I thought it was the best thing to do for me and my children. Of course the money had something to do with it.”
Jones saw a videotape of Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione saying in May that negotiations were under way for her to pose, and a deal was almost cut. A second tape from a few days later showed her denial of Guccione’s statement and her no-nudity vow.
“I meant it at the time, but I changed my mind,” she said. “Any woman, anybody in the world, has a right to change her mind, and I meant it then.”
She said the magazine shoot “was an adventure, a once-in-a-lifetime thing. … It was a point in time in my life that I needed to pay taxes. I’m a single mother now and need to support my two little boys. I need to send them to college.”
Jones accepted an $870,000 settlement in November 1998 from Clinton, and said on NBC that she received only $151,000 of that. “All the lawyers needed to be paid so that’s all I got and I had to pay taxes out of that money as well,” she said.
Her eight-year marriage to Steve Jones ended last year and she moved from California to Cabot, Ark., near her mother.
Jones was asked by a female telephone caller on CNN whether, considering that she presented herself as a good woman who had been wounded by inappropriate advances by the president, her reputation is damaged by the photo spread.
Jones said she does not understand how “one thing has anything to do with the other thing. I made this decision as adult woman. How can that have anything to do with something that Bill Clinton did to me, and I had no choice?”
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