Linda Tripp may not be the hero in American Crime Story: Impeachment, but she’s still a hero in her daughter’s eyes.
Speaking with Vanity Fair, Linda’s daughter Allison said that she was impressed with how Impeachment captured her mother. She explained,
“I do think Sarah [Paulson] did a good job. Of course, there were some inaccuracies I see as her daughter, but I think she did a good job relaying to the audience that my mother was about loyalty and integrity and doing what was right.”
“She captured a lot of my mom — just how smart and witty she was…. I had to laugh at a couple of lines because that’s how she got through the pain…the show did a good job digging deep to find out truly how she ticked.”
Allison is certainly right — Sarah Paulson did put a lot of work into understanding Linda. In preparation, she read several books, listened to interviews, and watched videos sent over by the show’s research department.
Although Allison doesn’t specifically endorse her mother’s actions, it’s clear she only has respect for her and what she did. She said,
“She lived a life that was very much about following the rules. Especially being a military wife and a government employee for so long. She had the utmost integrity in her role representing her country. And I do feel that, from what I’ve seen from the show so far. Sarah Paulson was getting that across even just from those limited scenes.”
On top of that, she truly believes that her mother wanted to help Monica Lewinsky, not harm her.
“I think my mom did try to protect Monica. She tried to play a motherly role to Monica and guide her. And she saw a little bit of self-destruction going on with Monica.”
This echoes a sentiment that Linda expressed in a rare interview she gave to Slate‘s podcast Slow Burn in 2018. She told the podcast,
“[I was] completely guilt-ridden that I was having to manipulate her, but convinced in my soul that in the end it would benefit her. That [Bill Clinton] would no longer be able to do this to hurt anyone else.”
She later added,
“I kept holding on to thinking that had that been my daughter, I would want to have had someone stop it and kind of like ripping a Band-Aid off a wound. It has to be done. It’s not something you enjoy, but you do what you have to do. But there was no enjoyment in it, none.”
Of course, these comments are contradictory to how she interacted with Monica at the time. Instead of expressing her concerns with Monica directly, Linda spoke to everyone but her. She talked to a literary agent, a reporter, and, eventually, Ken Starr. In fact, Monica claims that Linda actually encouraged the relationship and enjoyed hearing the salacious details.
Regardless, Linda always maintained that she did the right thing, even though she felt “enormous guilt,” even decades later.
Unfortunately, Linda will never be able to respond to Impeachment herself because she passed away in April 2020 at only 70 years old. But it sounds like her daughter Allison has done a great job of defending her mother and everything she believes she stood for.
American Crime Story: Impeachment airs on Tuesdays at 10 PM on FX.
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Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel and when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her obsessing over her tuxedo cat Tom or hoarding drugstore lipsticks.