On October 11, 1975, William Jefferson Clinton marries Hillary Rodham in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Bill and Hillary met in 1972 while both were studying law at Yale University; both also worked on George McGovern’s 1972 presidential campaign. After marrying, they settled in Arkansas, where Clinton immersed himself in politics and practiced law until he decided to run for governor of the state in 1978. He won and became the youngest man ever to hold the position of governor in any state. In 1992, he ran for the presidency against Republican incumbent George H.W. Bush. He won, becoming, at age 46, the youngest president since John F. Kennedy, who took office at age 43.
Clinton’s two terms (1991 to 2000) were marred by one political scandal after another and in 1998 he became the first president since Andrew Johnson to be impeached by the House of Representatives. The impeachment trial was the culmination of a slew of scandals involving the president and first lady, which included investigations into allegedly improper Arkansas real-estate deals, suspected fundraising violations, claims of sexual harassment and accusations of cronyism. All this was capped off by Clinton’s affair with a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky. The president’s attempt to cover up the affair, to which he later admitted, enabled House Republican leaders to begin the impeachment process for perjury and obstruction of justice. A divided House of Representatives impeached Clinton on December 19, 1998; the issue then passed to the Senate. After a five-week trial, Clinton was acquitted.
Hillary, both during Clinton’s first presidential campaign and during her time in the White House, earned the ire of conservatives for her outspokenness and her involvement in public policy. Refusing to, in her words, “stay home and bake cookies,” Hillary devoted much of her time to lobbying for universal healthcare. When Clinton’s affair surfaced, many expected Hillary to leave him; she did not and instead spoke out against what she called a “right wing conspiracy” to unseat her husband. As Clinton’s tenure in the White House came to an end, Hillary set her sights on her own political career.
In 2001, the couple moved to Chappaqua, New York, a suburb of New York City. While Bill Clinton embarked on a new career of consulting for humanitarian and public policy groups, Hillary ran for and won a seat in the United States Senate. In the run-up to the 2008 presidential election she made a bid for the Democratic nomination but was defeated by Barack Obama. In 2009, President Obama appointed her secretary of state. She ran again for president in 2016 but was defeated in the Electoral College by Donald Trump.
Hulu Developing Alt-History Hillary Clinton Series
Based on Curtis Sittenfeld’s book “Rodham,” the series tells the story of an idealistic young woman living in the latter part of the 20th century.
Hulu is developing an alternative history series in which Hillary Rodham never marries Bill Clinton. Based on Curtis Sittenfeld’s book “Rodham,” the series tells the story of an idealistic young woman living in the latter part of the 20 th century.
Rodham will be written and executive produced by Sarah Treem, who will be joined by Warren Littlefield, who produced The Handmaid’s Tale. The series will follow the Clinton documentary Hillary, which debuted on the streaming service in March.
“Rodham,” which was published in May, was a New York Times bestseller. The fictionalized account begins in 1971 when Hillary Rodham, a student and women’s rights activist, is attending Yale Law School. After meeting Bill Clinton, who is planning a career in politics, they begin an intense relationship that ends in a devastating breakup after Hilary rejects Bill’s marriage proposal.
By changing the course of history, Sittenfeld allows Hilary to blaze her own trail. Although she eventually meets Bill again, her life takes a much different path as an independent woman who is not tied to one man’s dreams. Described as a "brilliant badass who has found her voice and knows how to use it" by O: The Oprah Magazine, the titular character in “Rodham” displays Hilary’s brilliance in a world in which she plays second fiddle to no one.
Rodham is expected to weave fiction with actual historical events. Sittenfeld also wrote “American Wife,” a fictional tale loosely based on the life of First Lady Laura Bush. It is unclear if the new series will have Hilary Clinton’s approval or if it will break away from the events in the book, expanding on its source material in the same way that The Handmaid’s Tale has.
Treem, who was previously the co-creator and showrunner on Showtime’s The Affair, was also a writer and co-executive producer on the first season of House of Cards and the writer on all three seasons of In Treatment, both on HBO. She has also been tapped to write and executive produce an Apple series about Hedy Lamarr starring Gal Gadot.
Mark Lugris is a Contributing Writer at TheRichest. After graduating from the University of Connecticut, he's worked as a lifestyle and technology writer and editor for the past twenty years in Boston, Madrid and Zurich. Now, he's chosen the less stressful life of freelance writing at home with his dog, where he can focus on his pop culture passions like film, television, games and sports.
Q&A: What Would Have Happened If Hillary Clinton Had Never Married Bill?
What can be said about Hillary Rodham Clinton that hasn’t already been said? After all, Amazon suggests that approximately 700 books have been written about her and Bill. But that didn’t scare Curtis Sittenfeld, whose latest novel, Rodham, tackles the imagined inner life of one of the world’s most discussed human beings.
In the book, Sittenfeld—a Minneapolis-based writer and former Washingtonian who once taught English at DC’s St. Albans—decided to ask a provocative question: What if Hillary had never married Bill? The result is a vivid alternate history in which Hillary’s different life choices are borne out in fascinating ways.
Rodham is a sequel of sorts to Sittenfeld’s 2008 book, American Wife, a fictional first-person account of the life of former First Lady Laura Bush. But this time, the parallel-universe nature of the premise adds a significant wrinkle, raising intriguing questions about fate and chance. “I’m endlessly fascinated by the ideas of inevitably versus free will,” Sittenfeld says. “Do we all have potential other lives? What about our lives is inevitable and what’s arbitrary?”
Where did the idea for this book come from?
There were a few things, but I found myself thinking about how, for kids who were in elementary school during the 2016 election, a lot of them had no idea who Bill Clinton was, let alone that he had been President, let alone that there was all this baggage attached to him. So I started to think: What if adults had that sort of absence of baggage that children have in how we perceive Hillary Clinton?
Did you have any of that baggage yourself?Photograph by Josephine Sittenfeld.
I graduated from high school in 1993, and I remember when I first read about Hillary Clinton and thinking she sounded really interesting. That’s, like, 1992. Then around 2007, I was writing my third novel, American Wife, which is sort of a fictional retelling of the life of Laura Bush. For that, I read Hillary Clinton’s memoir, Living History, just to read another First Lady’s perspective. I started thinking about how I once had a favorable impression of both Bill and Hillary Clinton, and over the years I had a much less favorable opinion of them.
Well, that’s what reading that book made me think about. Has my opinion of Hillary Clinton shifted? Has it become more negative because of things she’s done? Or because of things I’ve read about her that actually may or may not be grounded in fact? It was this eye-opening experience for me at that time. Initially, as a high-school student, I thought she seemed really cool and smart, and then it just felt like, wow, a lot of scandals have attached themselves to both Clintons. Then I came out the other side of that and thought, “Wait, I think I was right the first time.”
Once I had the idea to write this alternate history, like 400 pages of thoughts about Hillary Clinton came flowing out. The question for me was: What’s it like to be Hillary Clinton? Or to be Hillary Rodham?
I put the book down with a feeling that I understood Clinton better than I’ve ever understood her. I mean, this isn’t something I’d necessarily want in print, but . . .
. . . reading about the main character’s diarrhea, for instance, before a debate . . .
Right, right. It happens to all of us!
I don’t know if this was the intention, but I walked away with the idea, certainly incorrect, that now I really “know” her.
That’s my goal. Because I do think there’s something strange about this widespread idea that Hillary has been part of our public life and political life for 30 years, and yet many people feel like they don’t know her. One of my goals is to make people think, “How does the world look to her?” Not “How does she look to us?” I also should say I did a ton of research, but the great majority of the book is made up. It’s not Hillary Clinton’s memoir—it’s my novel. Definitely artistic license is taken, like on every single page—probably in every single paragraph.
Could Bill have won the presidency without her? You lay out, in what’s basically a one-paragraph thesis, why America needed Hillary in order to accept Bill.
There’s this joke where Bill and Hillary stop at a gas station and a man comes out and pumps their gas. They keep driving, and Hillary says, “Oh, I used to date that guy.” And Bill says something like, “Well, aren’t you glad that you married me and now you’re First Lady?” And she says, “Oh, if I had married him, he would have been President.”
I think a lot of views of them are simplistic, and I’m drawn to writing novels because they allow you to examine the full complexity of human beings. I would never try to lay out a case that Bill Clinton would not have become President without Hillary. Some people will say they reinforced some of each other’s worst impulses, and then some will say they brought out the best in each other.
If someone heard the premise of the book, they could say, like, “Whew, you clearly don’t like Bill Clinton.” But it’s much more complicated than that. I certainly understand why she married him. And I feel like if it were 1975 and I were Hillary and if Bill Clinton really wanted to marry me, there’s about a 99-percent chance I would say yes.
I was struck by how much emphasis there was on the portrait of a young Hillary as a sexual being. Your writing considers the cultural archetype that portrays her as androgynous. Did you want us to see her as distinctly sexual?
I don’t think I go into writing with a particular agenda or a wish to prove a particular point. So in that sense, no. I mean, presumably she has some sexual side the public is not privy to. I would see it as appropriate that the public does not really know, doesn’t have a handle on, Hillary’s sexual anything. That just seems like a reflection of human or political protocol and not a reflection of Hillary.
I do feel that she occupies a unique spot in the public imagination. One time, there was this news cycle, when she was a senator, that she was showing cleavage on the Senate floor. It was such a nothing story—to me, it seemed like it was about people’s unfamiliarity with women in positions of power and women senators, because she was wearing something totally appropriate for a senator to wear.
I find most of the public discourse on her to be ridiculous. It’s like a conversation that the culture is having with itself, and it’s not thinking of her as a very specific individual. The conversation doesn’t own up to how much we think we’re talking about her specifically, but we’re really talking about gender.
Even though you may not know it from the end result, I did try to approach the question of sex delicately. If the question is, like, did you feel a little weird about including it? Yes, of course I felt a little weird about including it, and I also felt there were reasons to do it.
Going back to your point about young people: To some of them, she’s become this anti-fun, matronly stereotype. It’s wormed its way into the culture.
I think there are a lot of perspectives on her. It’s almost that optical illusion: From this angle, a beautiful young woman! And from this angle, a hag! I almost feel like when different people look at Hillary, they’re almost literally not seeing the same person. To many people, she’s a feminist icon, and I understand that she has a huge number of critics. I don’t think I was writing to persuade her critics to think differently. I’m not sure that’s my goal, or my responsibility, at this point.
I won’t ruin it for people, but Trump factors into the book with a presence that’s seen and unseen. The message seems to be that our worlds are more tenuous than we can imagine—and that even our enemies today, if things had gone differently, might not be quite so adversarial.
I do think sometimes that if certain things had been a little bit different, it could have led to dramatically different outcomes. There are rumors that Bill Clinton encouraged Donald Trump to enter the Republican presidential race. That’s one of many things where I don’t know if it’s true. I suspect you also know that Bill and Hillary were at Donald Trump’s wedding to Melania, which is also kind of mind-bending. I think about parallel universes and chance and fate and inevitably and tenuous connections. I think about all of that.
This interview, which has been edited and condensed, appears in the June/July 2020 issue of Washingtonian.
An independent path in politics
In Sittenfeld’s telling, Hillary Rodham has moved to Arkansas and followed Bill Clinton through the early stages of his political career. When he proposes marriage, she agrees at first. But then increasing reports of his infidelity raise doubts, and she breaks off the relationship. On her own, she builds a successful career as a political activist and professor of law at Northwestern University in suburban Chicago, near her parents’ home.
When she runs for the United States Senate in 1992 to replace Alan Dixon, her path to the White House opens up. And from that point on, her story and Bill Clinton’s sharply diverge. Clinton loses his bid for the governor’s mansion and sets out for Silicon Valley. There, he amasses a fortune as a tech investor. Meanwhile, Rodham serves for three terms in the Senate. And in 2004 she launches her first, unsuccessful run for the Presidency. Many more surprises follow. And not just in Bill and Hillary’s lives, but in the nation’s.
Summer TV 2020: Premiere Dates for New and Returning Shows (Photos)
Summer is in full swing, and everyone is staying at home as much as possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Luckily, dozens of new and returning shows are premiering this summer. The list includes some big titles like "The Twilight Zone" and "The Umbrella Academy," plus original shows for new streaming services HBO Max and Peacock.
Series: “The Chi” Net: Showtime Premiere: Sunday, June 21 Time: 9 p.m.
Series: “Perry Mason” Net: HBO Premiere Date: Sunday, June 21 Time: 9 p.m.
Series: “Yellowstone” Net: Paramount Network Premiere Date: Sunday, June 21 Time: 9 p.m.
Series: “NOS4A2” Net: AMC/BBC America Premiere Date: Sunday, June 21 Time: 10 p.m.
Series: "B90 Strikes Back!" Net: TLC Premiere Date: Monday, June 22 Time: 8 p.m.
Series: “Greenleaf” Net: OWN Premiere Date: Tuesday, June 23 Time: 9 p.m.
Series: "Celebrity Show-Off" Net: TBS Premiere Date: Tuesday, June 23 Time: 10 p.m.
Series: “Doom Patrol” Net: HBO Max/DC Universe Premiere Date: Thursday, June 25
Series: “Search Party” Net: HBO Max Premiere Date: Thursday, June 25
Series: “The Twilight Zone” Net: CBS All Access Premiere Date: Thursday, June 25
Series: "Dark" Net: Netflix Premiere Date: Saturday, June 27
Series: “Black Monday” Net: Showtime Premiere Date: Sunday, June 28 Time: 8 p.m.
Series: “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” Net: HBO Premiere Date: Sunday, June 28 Time: 10 p.m.
Series: "Unsolved Mysteries" Net: Netflix Premiere Date: Wednesday, July 1
Series: “Marriage Boot Camp” Net: We TV Premiere Date: Thursday, July 2 Time: 9 p.m.
Series: "Carl Weber's The Family Business" Net: BET+ Premiere Date: Thursday, July 2 Time: 9 p.m.
Series: “The Baby-Sitters Club” Net: Netflix Premiere Date: Friday, July 3
Series: “Hanna” Net: Amazon Prime Video Premiere Date: Friday, July 3
Series: “Outcry” Net: Showtime Premiere Date: Sunday, July 5 Time: 10 p.m.
Series: "Stateless" Net: Netflix Premiere Date: Wednesday, July 8
Series: “Tough as Nails” Net: CBS Premiere Date: Wednesday, July 8 Time: 9 p.m.
Series: “Close Enough” Net: HBO Max Premiere Date: Thursday, July 9
Series: “Expecting Amy” Net: HBO Max Premiere Date: Thursday, July 9
Series: "Cannonball" Net: USA Premiere Date: Thursday, July 9 Time: 8 p.m.
Series: "Chrisley Knows Best" Net: USA Premiere Date: Thursday, July 9 Time: 9 p.m.
Series: “Greatness Code” Net: Apple TV+ Premiere Date: Friday, July 10
Series: "Little Voice" Net: Apple TV+ Premiere Date: Friday, July 10
Series: “P-Valley” Net: Starz Premiere Date: Sunday, July 12 Time: 9 p.m.
Series: “Brave New World” Net: Peacock Premiere Date: Wednesday, July 15
Series: “The Capture” Net: Peacock Premiere Date: Wednesday, July 15
Series: “In Deep With Ryan Lochte” Net: Peacock Premiere Date: Wednesday, July 15 Time: N/A
Series: “Intelligence” Net: Peacock Premiere Date: Wednesday, July 15
Series: "Married at First Sight" Net: Lifetime Premiere Date: Wednesday, July 15 Time: 8 p.m.
Series: "United We Fall" Net: ABC Premiere Date: Wednesday, July 15 Time: 8 p.m.
Series: "Indian Matchmaking" Net: Netflix Premiere Date: Thursday, July 16 Time: N/A
Series: "Killer Camp" Net: The CW Premiere Date: Thursday, July 16 Time: 8 p.m.
Series: "Cursed" Net: Netflix Premiere Date: Friday, July 17 Time: N/A
Series: "Absentia" Net: Amazon Prime Video Premiere Date: Friday, July 17
Series: "The Alienist: Angel of Darkness" Net: TNT Premiere Date: Sunday, July 19 Time: 9 p.m.
Series: "The Andy Cohen Diaries" Net: Quibi Premiere Date: Monday, July 20 Time: N/A
Series: "Die Hart" Net: Quibi Premiere Date: Monday, July 20 Time: N/A
Series: "Love on the Spectrum" Net: Netflix Premiere Date: Wednesday, July 22 Time: N/A
Series: "Corporate" Net: Comedy Central Premiere Date: Wednesday, July 22 Time: 10:30 p.m.
Series: “Room 104” Net: HBO Premiere Date: Friday, July 24 Time: 11 p.m.
Series: "Wynonna Earp" Net: Syfy Premiere Date: Sunday, July 26 Time: 10 p.m.
Series: "Helter Skelter: An American Myth” Net: Epix Premiere Date: Sunday, July 26 Time: 10 p.m.
Series: "Don't Look Deeper" Net: Quibi Premiere Date: Monday, July 27 Time: N/A
Series: "Last Chance U" Net: Netflix Premiere Date: Tuesday, July 28
Series: “The Dog House" Net: HBO Max Premiere Date: Thursday, July 30
Series: "Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy" Net: Netflix Premiere Date: Thursday, July 30
Series: “The Frayed” Net: HBO Max Premiere Date: Thursday, July 30
Series: “Muppets Now” Net: Disney+ Premiere Date: Friday, July 31
Series: “The Umbrella Academy” Net: Netflix Premiere Date: Friday, July 31
Series: "Real Housewives of Potomac" Net: Bravo Premiere Date: Sunday, Aug. 2 Time: 8 p.m.
Series: "Taskmaster" Net: The CW Premiere Date: Sunday, Aug. 2 Time: 8 p.m.
Series: "Fridge Wars" Net: The CW Premiere Date: Sunday, Aug. 2 Time: 9 p.m.
Series: "The Fugitive" Net: Quibi Premiere Date: Monday, Aug. 3
Series: "Catfish" Net: MTV Premiere Date: Wednesday, Aug. 5 Time: 8 p.m.
Series: "Coroner" Net: The CW Premiere Date: Wednesday, Aug. 5 Time: 9 p.m.
Series: "Star Trek: Lower Decks" Net: CBS All Access Premiere Date: Thursday, Aug. 6 Time: N/A
Series: "Selling Sunset" Net: Netflix Premiere Date: Friday, Aug. 7
Series: "Surviving Jeffrey Epstein" Net: Lifetime Premiere Date: Sunday, Aug. 9 Time: 8 p.m.
Series: "Mapleworth Murders" Net: Quibi Premiere Date: Monday, Aug. 10
Series: "Hard Knocks" Net: HBO Premiere Date: Tuesday, Aug. 11 Time: 10 p.m.
Series: "Ted Lasso" Net: Apple TV+ Premiere Date: Friday, Aug. 14
Series: "World's Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji" Net: Amazon Prime Video Premiere Date: Friday, Aug. 14
Series: "Lovecraft Country" Net: HBO Premiere Date: Sunday, Aug. 16 Time: 9 p.m.
Series: "Dead Pixels" Net: The CW Premiere Date: Tuesday, Aug. 18 Time: 8 p.m.
Series: "Lucifer" Net: Netflix Premiere Date: Friday, Aug. 21
Series: "Ravi Patel's Pursuit of Happiness" Net: HBO Max Premiere Date: Thursday, Aug. 27 Time: N/A
Series: “Love Fraud” Net: Showtime Premiere Date: Sunday, Aug. 30 Time: 9 p.m.
Series: "A.P. Bio" Net: Peacock Premiere Date: Thursday, Sept. 3 Time: N/A
Series: "Away" Net: Netflix Premiere Date: Friday, Sept. 4 Time: N/A
Series: "The Boys" Net: Amazon Prime Video Premiere Date: Friday, Sept. 4 Time: N/A
Series: "Woke" Net: Hulu Premiere Date: Wednesday, Sept. 9 Time: N/A
Here’s when 75 broadcast, cable and streaming series debut and come back
Summer is in full swing, and everyone is staying at home as much as possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Luckily, dozens of new and returning shows are premiering this summer. The list includes some big titles like "The Twilight Zone" and "The Umbrella Academy," plus original shows for new streaming services HBO Max and Peacock.
A Short History of Hillary (Rodham) (Clinton)'s Changing Names
What name will be on the Democratic ballot for president in November?
It’s not a rhetorical question. It’s not even a question about Bernie Sanders, whose numbers seem to have plateaued. It’s a question about how the Democratic frontrunner identifies herself.
On Monday, both the Associated Press and New York Times announced they would begin referring to her not as “Hillary Rodham Clinton” but simply as “Hillary Clinton.” That’s the culmination of a long, politically charged, and politically important evolution in how the candidate refers to herself.
Hillary Rodham was a product of the women’s liberation movement. When she agreed to marry Bill Clinton—the third time he asked—she decided to keep her own name. Bill didn’t seem to have a problem with that. His mother did. Virginia Clinton Kelley recalled in her autobiography that when Bill told her, the day of the wedding, she began to weep. “I had never even conceived of such a thing. This had to be some new import from Chicago,” she recalled.
Hillary Rodham’s decision seemed evidence not only of her roots in a city up north, but also of the future. The couple was married in 1975, smack in the middle of a decade when women’s use of their maiden names surged. (“Maiden name,” ironically, is an indelibly sexist and patriarchal label.) But in Arkansas, the move was still pretty edgy. When Bill first ran for governor in 1978, his opponent in the Democratic primary made a major issue of his wife’s name. When The New York Times profiled the newly-elected Governor Clinton, it noted that he “is married to an ardent feminist, Hillary Rodham, who will certainly be the first First Lady of Arkansas to keep her maiden name.” The Arkansas Democrat reported, “Despite the fact that she keeps her maiden name, the wife of Arkansas’s new governor, Bill Clinton, claims she’s really an old-fashioned girl.” (I’m indebted to Karen Blumenthal’s forthcoming biography for these anecdotes.) Clinton himself later told The New Yorker’s Connie Bruck, “Hillary told me she was nine years old when she decided she would keep her own name when she got married. It had nothing to do with the feminist movement or anything. She said, ‘I like my name. I was interested in my family. I didn’t want to give it up.’”
Bill Clinton lost reelection in 1980, but decided to run to reclaim his seat two years later. That’s when Hillary Rodham decided it was time to take on Bill’s name, to assist the effort. Here’s how Bill Clinton explained it to Bruck:
When she came to me and said she wanted to change, I could see in her eyes that she had made the decision to do it. And I said, “I do not want you resenting me. I would a lot rather lose the election than lose you.” She said, “I’m not going anywhere.” I said, “I know, but I don’t want you to resent this for the rest of your life. You made this decision when you were a child. I like it. I approve of the decision. I don’t care about it.” And she said, “Look, Bill, we cannot—this is stupid! We shouldn’t lose the election over this issue. We shouldn’t run this risk. What if it’s one per cent of the vote? What if it’s two per cent? You might win or lose the election by two per cent.”
That was, Bruck wrote in 1994, an essential moment in Hillary Rodham Clinton’s transformation into a politician—the moment when “she surrendered the notion that she could do things in her unvarnished way and she set about repackaging herself—changing her name, her appearance, and her public demeanor.”
Over time, many people became more receptive to women using their maiden names. “Almost twenty years after the fact, my response probably seems laughable,” Virginia Clinton Kelley wrote. Yet the number of women keeping their names dropped in the ’80s, returning to pre-1970 levels. Hillary Rodham Clinton, meanwhile, stuck with the triple-barreled name, as her husband won back his job, won two more terms, and then was twice elected president.
Something interesting happened in 2000, when she decided to run for Senate in New York. The name that appeared on the ballot when she won the race was “Hillary Rodham Clinton.” But the branding for her campaign emphasized something else: simply “Hillary!” As my colleague Peter Beinart points out, that wasn’t just a one-time choice: Even her top surrogate, the outgoing president, carefully referred to her as “Hillary” on the stump. She, like Vice President Al Gore, was wrestling with how to use the legacy of a lame-duck president who was at once highly popular yet also deeply scandal-tainted. It was even more complicated for his wife than for his former No. 2—though she, unlike Gore, won.
The change the AP and Times are making on Monday largely just ratifies a change that took place along ago. By the time Hillary Clinton ran for president in 2008, she had almost entirely dropped “Rodham” she appeared on primary ballots as “Hillary Clinton.” As in 2000, her signs read “Hillary” her website lived at hillaryclinton.com. In discussions of the race in the media (including here) she is referred to simply as “Hillary Clinton,” “Hillary,” or “Clinton.” The super PAC supporting her was “Ready for Hillary.” Her presidential campaign now calls itself “Hillary for America,” and her logo is a simple H with an arrow. As the Times notes, “Hillary Clinton” is also the name the candidate has used in filing for the ballot this year. (As Hadas Gold notes, however, aides often refer to her as “HRC.”)
The transformation from Hillary Rodham to today’s Hillary Clinton seems to tell its own story about women’s power in the United States. Ironically, she is giving up the last vestiges of “Rodham” in her public persona at a time when maiden names are once again on the rise (more than one in five women now keeps her name in this decade) so that Clinton’s decision seems to be a bittersweet moment, and evidence of the age gap between her and younger Americans. Yet the fact that “Hillary” has become a powerful, instantly recognizable mononym—to say nothing of the fact that Clinton is the odds-on favorite for her party’s nomination—seems to show just far women have come in politics since the days when Hillary Rodham’s decision that she liked her name and had no desire to change it could scandalize the Arkansas establishment.
Hillary Rodham Clinton’s family tree: Bill, Chelsea and more relatives
In the 1990s, however, investigations into Bill’s family revealed that he had two other half-siblings, who were children of his late father, William Blythe. In “My Life,” Bill says he and his mother did not know about his father’s other marriages and children until the news stories circulated.
“The stories confirmed the things my mother and I knew,” he wrote. “They also turned up a lot we didn’t know, including the fact that my father had probably been married three times before he met Mother, and apparently had a least two more children.”
Bill learned that his half-brother was Leon Blythe Ritzenthaler and his half-sister was Sharon Blythe Pettijohn.
Roger Clinton Jr. has two children. He is most known for being convicted for conspiracy to distribute cocaine in 1985, and attempting to win pardons for his friends.
We all know Hillary, Bill and Chelsea Clinton. But what about the extended Rodham and Clinton families?
Both Clintons have family members who haven’t been talked about much recently, and the family is expanding, with a second grandchild born this year.
Here’s a look at the Democratic presidential candidate’s family and marital roots.
What If Hillary Clinton Hadn’t Married Bill? Rodham Imagines a Bizarre Alternate Reality
H illary Rodham&rsquos private and public lives became entwined the day she met Bill Clinton. From then on, her political aspirations would forever be tied to her charismatic partner &mdash when it came to both his triumphs and his missteps. But even before she met Bill, Hillary had already learned to be stoic. In the recent Hulu documentary Hillary, she reflected on her time in 1970s law-school classrooms dominated by men: &ldquoYou got points for not being emotional. When you train yourself like that and then you fast-forward into an age where everybody wants to see what your emotions are … it&rsquos really a different environment.&rdquo So when scandal broke during Bill&rsquos first presidential campaign, she compartmentalized her private life.
For years, pundits have called Hillary a cipher. At least some of this criticism is steeped in sexism &mdash the dreaded &ldquorelatability&rdquo trap that women must be as warm and friendly as they are accomplished. Clinton has opened up professionally: she&rsquos a policy wonk, a pragmatist and&mdashunlike some politicians who rely mostly on charm &mdash she thinks before she speaks. Supporters have interpreted those moments when the wheels spin in her head as thoughtfulness. Critics have called it calculation.
For all the speculation, Hillary Clinton is still widely perceived to be unknowable. She&rsquos one of the most documented people on the planet, yet we&rsquore resorting to fiction to try to understand her. In the highly anticipated Rodham, arriving May 19, best-selling author Curtis Sittenfeld doesn&rsquot novelize Clinton&rsquos life as it is but instead fantasizes about what could have been: What if Hillary hadn&rsquot married Bill? No spoilers, but Sittenfeld&rsquos answer is likely to alternately elate and enrage readers of all political affiliations. She spins a wild political tale that involves a certain lascivious New York City billionaire, a bizarre leg-shaving scandal and Silicon Valley orgies.
The author, who broke out with her 2005 debut Prep, has tackled a similar project before: in 2008, she published American Wife, in which a First Lady named Alice Blackwell &mdash reminiscent of Laura Bush &mdash attempts to explain why she, a book-smart woman who was raised a Democrat, stands silently by her militant President husband as the Iraq War spins out of control. Then on the eve of the 2016 election, Sittenfeld released a short story, &ldquoThe Nominee,&rdquo told from the perspective of Hillary Clinton as she&rsquos interviewed by a combative journalist.
But Rodham, her seventh book, gleefully abandons biographical analysis for thought experimentation. Unlike American Wife, which delved into traumas the real Bush experienced early in her life to explain her psychology, Rodham introduces a Hillary almost fully formed, at law school. Sittenfeld does not detail the childhood moments that might have shaped her politics, her religiosity or her ego. The reader must divine the origins of her ambition from her pillow talk with Bill.
Certain early passages read like cringe-inducing fan fiction: it would be one thing to encounter veiled approximations of Bill and Hillary getting hot and heavy in law school. It is quite another to read sex scenes that invoke the real names of one of America&rsquos most prominent couples. Sittenfeld even goes so far as to imply that Bill is a sex addict, crumpled under the weight of an unstoppable affliction. (No doubt the publisher has a great legal team.)
While these carnal episodes will certainly serve to scandalize book clubs, they also are meant to solve this mystery: Why would a woman with such promise stay with a man torpedoing toward scandal?
Sittenfeld blends reported facts with imagined details. Fictional Hillary, she asserts in Rodham, was often spurned by romantic interests for being too intellectual or too assertive, and she felt flattered by charismatic Bill&rsquos attentions. That&rsquos a theory likely born from comments real-life Hillary has made over the years about her husband being &ldquomore attractive&rdquo than she is. As journalist Amy Chozick observed in her book Chasing Hillary, Clinton&rsquos assessment of how her looks compare to those of her husband &ldquoisn&rsquot really true.&rdquo But, Chozick added, it &ldquoalways told me a lot about Hillary that she thought it was.&rdquo
Yet flirtation and flattery do not a power couple make. In Rodham, as in real life, these two share an intense intellectual connection. But it&rsquos that very intellect that Sittenfeld argues would eventually drive Hillary away from Bill. In the book, the red flags Hillary identifies are far from subtle: early on, when the couple meets at a diner for a date, she marvels at Bill&rsquos ability to both seduce her and gobble down french fries at the same time. &ldquoBill, apparently, could be hungry for multiple things at once,&rdquo she notes. Her instinct that Bill&rsquos appetites will get them both into trouble quickly comes to fruition. Their breakup feels inevitable &mdash although, of course, the real Hillary stayed.
In a year when our attentions might more naturally be drawn to Joe Biden and Donald Trump, Sittenfeld isn&rsquot alone in her continuing fascination with the Clintons. The aforementioned four-episode documentary Hillary, which premiered to much fanfare at Sundance in January, hit Hulu in March. Then the April season premiere of the CBS All Access legal procedural The Good Fight imagined an alternate universe in which Hillary Clinton won the presidency in 2016. And the next installment of Ryan Murphy&rsquos popular miniseries American Crime Story, currently in preproduction, will focus on the Clinton impeachment.
Each of these projects, like Sittenfeld&rsquos novel, obsesses over the consequences of Bill and Hillary&rsquos relationship. In the Hulu doc, filmmaker Nanette Burstein asks both Clintons to recount Bill&rsquos confession to his wife during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Bill tears up, but it&rsquos Hillary&rsquos clipped response that disarms the viewer: &ldquoYou have to go tell your daughter.&rdquo The line suggests a woman exhausted by her circumstances and unwilling, or unable, to express her outrage.
In The Good Fight&rsquos alternate reality, the #MeToo movement never takes hold. Trump is never elected President, so there is no Women&rsquos March. But the show also suggests that President Hillary Clinton, who defended her husband against accusations of assault, would prove an imperfect beacon for survivors. (She awards major donor Harvey Weinstein the Presidential Medal of Freedom.) And the writers for American Crime Story: Impeachment have said that the show, which will be produced by Lewinsky and told from her perspective, will not feature Hillary Clinton as a significant character because the First Lady declined to participate in the feminist debate over the scandal at the time. Three very different television series, but in each Hillary finds herself hamstrung by her husband&rsquos misdeeds.
Considering Hillary is Hillary and Bill is Bill, I don&rsquot think it&rsquos giving too much away to say that after breaking up early in Rodham, the characters do not retreat into quiet lives of academia. As they both run for office, Sittenfeld theorizes that when it came to their political ambitions, Bill always needed Hillary more than Hillary needed Bill.
Sittenfeld, an admitted Hillary Clinton fan, reflects on real-life Hillary&rsquos outsize role in Bill&rsquos capturing the presidency through compelling vignettes. In her reimagining of the infamous 1992 60 Minutes interview &mdash the one in which a confident- Hillary defended her husband amid allegations of infidelity, ultimately saving his candidacy &mdash a different wife, meek and teary-eyed, sits beside Clinton and dooms his campaign. Meanwhile, in this fictional world, Hillary still faces sexism and defamatory rumors, including a murder for hire. But without Bill&rsquos baggage, she&rsquos able to handle controversy more deftly and answer questions more openly without worrying she may appear hypocritical.
And yet even as Sittenfeld grants Hillary the ability to finally do and say whatever she pleases, Rodham doesn&rsquot always satisfy. For one, Sittenfeld never pinpoints a clear motivation for her hero&rsquos desire to enter politics. Real-life Hillary notoriously switched her campaign slogans with abandon, which some took as proof that she could not articulate her reasons for running. Where supporters saw a woman responding to the call to service, critics accused her of being power hungry. Sittenfeld, despite the freedom of her format, lands on neither theory &mdash nor does she offer a convincing alternative.
If her aim was to offer new insight into Hillary&rsquos mind, she doesn&rsquot succeed. But who cares? Even if the character isn&rsquot compelling, her mission to break the glass ceiling is. For a certain reader, the chance to dwell in an alternate reality will be enough. For others, there&rsquos always the orgies.
'Rodham,' a Hillary Clinton Alternative History Show, Is Coming to Hulu
It'll explore what her life would be like if she had never married Bill Clinton.
- A new alternative history series imagining Hillary Clinton's life if she had never married Bill Clinton is coming to Hulu.
- Titled Rodham, the series is adapted from and named after Curtis Sittenfeld's novel, which was just released in May.
- Sarah Treem (The Affair,House of Cards) will write and executive-produce.
What would Hillary Clinton's life look like if she had never accepted Bill Clinton's marriage proposal? Such is the premise of Curtis Sittenfeld's new novel, Rodham, which is now being adapted into a series for Hulu. The alternative history drama "tells the story of an ambitious young woman, developing her extraordinary mind in the latter part of the 20th century, moving from idealism to cynicism and all the way back again," Deadline reported.
Though it's too early to confirm details on casting and release date, we do know that Sarah Treem&mdashco-creator of The Affair and co-executive producer for House of Cards&mdashwill be writing and executive-producing the series. Sittenfeld will also executive-produce.
Rodham was published in May and became a best seller. Book editors at OprahMag.com wrote of the novel, "Sittenfeld's Hillary is both a player in the Game of Thrones and a romance novel heroine. She's a brilliant badass who has found her voice and knows how to use it. She's whoever she wants to be."
This isn't Hulu's first project on the former First Lady. Earlier this year, the streamer released Hillary, a documentary series that followed her life, career, and presidential bid over four hour-long installments.
Bill And Hillary Rodham U.S. Politicians Clinton
Bill (William Jefferson) Clinton was the 42nd president of the United States, in office from 1993 until 2001. Hillary Clinton was the First Lady during that time, and was a Democratic Party candidate in the 2008 presidential elections.
William Jefferson Clinton was born on August 19, 1946, as William Jefferson Blythe III, in Hope, Arkansas. His father, William Jefferson Blythe, Jr., was a traveling salesman who died in a car accident some three months before his son was born. After his death, his widow, Virginia Dell, married Roger Clinton, who was a partner in an automobile dealership, and when he was 14, Bill adopted his stepfather’s surname. It was meeting John F. Kennedy and listening to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I “Have a Dream” speech in 1963 that convinced him that he should enter politics.
Bill Clinton went to the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, receiving a bachelor of science in foreign service in 1968. He then was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University in England. On his return to the United States, Clinton went to Yale Law School, where he met Hillary Rodham. They were married on October 11, 1975, and their only child, Chelsea, was born on February 27, 1980.
Hillary Diane Rodham was born on October 26, 1947, at Edgewater Hospital, Chicago, Illinois. She attended Maine South High School and grew up in a conservative Republican family. At the age of 16 she campaigned for Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. Hillary Rodham then went to Wellesley College, where she developed liberal inclinations and graduated in 1969. In 1971 she worked for Senator Walter Mondale’s subcommittee on migrant workers and in 1972 started working for Senator George McGovern’s 1972 presidential election campaign.
The Clintons returned to Arkansas after completing their studies at Yale, and Bill became a law professor at the University of Arkansas. In the following year, 1974, he ran for the House of Representatives but was defeated. In 1976 Clinton was elected attorney general of Arkansas without opposition. Two years later he was elected governor of Arkansas and, at the age of 32, was the youngest governor in the country. He spent his first term as governor working on improving schools and roads, but became unpopular over the motor vehicle tax and the escape of Cuban prisoners. In 1980 Republican Frank D. White defeated Clinton. However, in 1982 Clinton was reelected as governor and remained in office until 1992. He used these 10 years to transform Arkansas by dramatically improving the education system and introducing welfare reforms.
By 1988 Clinton was being suggested as a possible presidential candidate, given his high profile in American liberal circles. He decided not to run, although he did speak at the Democratic National Convention, gaining a much wider national profile. Following the defeat of the Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis in the 1988 elections, some Democratic Party organizers felt that Clinton should run in 1992. In that election it was thought that the incumbent George H. W. Bush would win easily because of his recent victory in the Gulf War. Clinton managed a major victory in the New York primaries, and even defeated California governor Jerry Brown in his home state. The result was that Clinton easily won the Democratic Party primaries.
In 1994 the Democratic Party lost control of Congress at the midterm elections, the first time in 40 years they lost control of both houses. It was the start of a bitter battle between Clinton and his new adversary Newt Gingrich. Despite losing control of Congress to the Republican Party in the middle of his first term, in 1996 Clinton easily won the presidential election, becoming the first Democrat since Franklin D. Roosevelt to be reelected.
Clinton’s second term in office was preoccupied, on the foreign policy front, by his attempts to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. In July 2000 Clinton brought both Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority chairman Yasir Arafat to Camp David, but the negotiations failed. On the economic front, Clinton managed to balance the federal budget for the first time since 1969. His second term in office was overshadowed by the controversy over Clinton’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Hillary Clinton stood by her husband throughout the crisis. The Republican controlled House of Representatives voted to impeach Clinton for lying under oath in his denial of the affair, but the Senate voted to acquit Clinton, and he remained in office until the end of his term, which he ended with a popularity approval rating of 65 percent. The result of the Monica Lewinsky affair was that Bill Clinton had to abandon his plans for reforms of the health-care system, which had been heavily supported by his wife.
Throughout his presidency, Bill Clinton did much to improve the life of African Americans, who became some of his most loyal supporters. Certainly Clinton saw as one of his major successes the implementation of majority rule in South Africa, with the election of the Nelson Mandela government after a peaceful transition of power. Clinton’s secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, was also able to engage with North Korea and reduce tensions in Northeast Asia.
After completing his second term as president, Bill Clinton opened his office in the Harlem district of New York, showing his affinity for African Americans, and helped Hillary Clinton when she campaigned for a Senate seat for New York State. Since then, Bill Clinton has been active in campaigning for measures to prevent climate change, speaking at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal, Canada, on December 9, 2005, in which he was critical of the Bush administration. Through the William J. Clinton Foundation, he has also raised money for HIV/AIDS research through the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative (CHAI).
Hillary Clinton was elected to the U.S. Senate on November 7, 2000, winning 55 percent of the vote to 43 percent for her Republican opponent, Rick Lazio. During her time as First Lady, many Americans openly hated Hillary Clinton, with large numbers of Internet hate sites being established. However, her election victory proved that she was popular in her own right. She not only won in the traditionally Democratic Party base of New York City by a large majority, but she also carried suburban Westchester County and even did well in Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse, with Lazio winning in his home-base area of Long Island.
In the Senate, initially Hillary Clinton took a low profile. After the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Hillary Clinton was active in gaining funding for rebuilding projects. Hillary Clinton urged for the United States to take strong military action against Afghanistan, also highlighting the ill-treatment of women in that country by the Taliban. She voted in favor of the Iraq War Resolution, but subsequently came to disagree with the prosecution of the war in Iraq.
On domestic issues, Hillary Clinton followed the same liberal traditions that had characterized her husband’s presidency. On January 20, 2007, Hillary Clinton announced that she was forming a presidential exploratory committee to run as a candidate in the 2008 presidential elections and later officially pursued her electoral bid.
‘Rodham’ Alt History Drama Series About Hillary Clinton In Works At Hulu From Sarah Treem, Warren Littlefield & Fox 21
Hulu is developing Rodham, a provocative take on one of the most famous female American politicians of the past two decades, Hillary Rodham Clinton. The drama series, based on the book by Curtis Sittenfeld, comes from The Affair co-creator Sarah Treem, Fox 21 Television Studios and studio-based the Littlefield Company.
Your Complete Guide to Pilots and Straight-to-Series orders
Rodham imagines an alternative history where Hillary Rodham never marries Bill Clinton and asks what would have happened to her life and our country, if she had made a different choice. A modern parable about choices, feminism and why this country has such a complicated relationship to women in power… Rodham tells the story of an ambitious young woman, developing her extraordinary mind in the latter part of the 20th century, moving from idealism to cynicism and all the way back again.
Treem will write the adaptation and will executive produce with Littlefield and Sittenfeld (left).
This marks the first major sale under the overall deal The Affair co-creator, executive producer and showrunner Treem recently signed with Fox 21. .
It also marks Treem’s second collaboration with Littlefield, joining the untitled Hedy Lamarr limited series starring Gal Gadot, which has been ordered by Apple.
Before her five-year stint on The Affair, Treem wrote and co-exec produced the first season of Netflix drama House of Cards and wrote all three seasons of HBO&rsquos In Treatment. She started her career in theater, most recently writing When We Were Young and Unafraid, starring Cherry Jones and directed by Pam McKinnon.
At Hulu, Littlefield also has Emmy-winning drama series The Handmaid’s Tale and the upcoming Dopesick starring Michael Keaton as well as the upcoming series The Old Man starring Jeff Bridges for FX on Hulu.