In 1997, Kate Nason, then Bleiler, found out her husband Andy Bleiler was having two affairs: one with a colleague and another with a family friend named Monica Lewinsky.
Yes, that Monica.
“I had suspected my then-husband was having an affair with a co-worker,” Nason told The Post. “I confronted him about it and he was gaslighting me,” she said.
The co-worker showed up to their home and confirmed that nagging suspicion and more: He’d also been having a relationship with Lewinsky, then 23.
“I found out about both of them that day.”
Because of his infidelity, she would soon inadvertently find herself in the middle of a presidential sex scandal when news of Lewinsky’s affair with Bill Clinton became public in January 1998.
When the press discovered Bleiler — who worked at a Vancouver high school — and Lewinsky’s connection, her world was turned upside down — Nason’s privacy and anonymity becoming collateral damage.
“I was reeling from that discovery when January of 1998 happened,” said Nason, who was in couples therapy with her husband after she learned of his affairs. “I got a call from my mother telling me she read a blurb about the [Bleiler and Lewinsky’s] affair in the LA Times … Before the end of the day, my voicemail was filled to capacity. The press showed up to our doorstep within hours.”
In Nason’s new audio memoir “Everything Is Perfect,” she recounts that painful period in her life as the mother of two young children, and how she learned to trust her gut in relationships.
“The book is really about my 30s, and the ridiculous mistakes I made along the way by ignoring my intuition,” said Nason, adding that it’s not a lurid tell-all meant to shame or blame anyone, it’s a “deep dive and self-reckoning” with her own story.
“I was keenly aware that my big story had a big problem. How to tell my story when another woman’s story is tangled up in mine? In particular, a woman whose story has been told by herself and others. A woman who maintains a public presence and has worked to grapple with her own ghosts just as I have. And then, of course, there was an American president and a first lady. At first, I tried to write this story without them in it. In the end, the magnitude of these events in my life was so pivotal that to write them out was impossible,” she wrote in a blog for audible.
In fact, in her memoir she changed the names of Monica and Andrew to Mallory and Charlie as a method of “self preservation.”
Nason was a divorced mother of one in 1988 when she met Bleiler, who was six years her junior. Despite having some doubts, she went ahead and married him.
“My husband’s ability to lie and deceive was matched by my own to delude,” Nason said in her memoir. “I doubted myself. I denied my intuition.”
Her now ex-husband had been friends with Lewinsky, whom he’d met while he was a drama teacher. They struck up an affair in 1993 when she was 19. Lewinksy later attended Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore., where the Bleilers had also moved, and was a frequent presence in their life, babysitting their children and even calling daily from DC. In her book, Nason said she was taken with Lewinsky’s “bawdy humor. She always made me laugh, and always made me blush.”
As the scandal played out, it produced a tsunami that engulfed Washington, but its reverberations began to be felt in Portland, where the media decamped to their home.
Initially, Nason took her children to Los Angeles to hide out for a week, but the reporters didn’t leave.
“I came back and things were getting worse so we were advised to do a press conference to make them go away,” Nason recalled.
Nason, her husband and a lawyer appeared on their front porch, where Bleiler admitted his yearslong affair.
“I didn’t say anything. I stood there looking like a deer in headlights. My ex said a few words and then the lawyer took over. It seemed to last an eternity.”
In the press conference, their attorney said Lewinsky told the couple, “I’m going to the White House to get my presidential knee pads.”
Unfortunately it didn’t quench the media appetite. When one reporter chased her through a grocery store, she employed humor to disarm him. She ran to the party aisle and grabbed a pair of Groucho Marx glasses.
“I put them on and made the reporter laugh. [My kids and I] kept a few pairs in our glove compartment because it was a way we could laugh without feeling like the world was laughing at us,” she said.
“It was horrifying. Anytime there was a ripple in the case, people would show up at my doorstep. We lived six to eight months with our curtains closed. To be going through something so private and so heartbreaking and to have it so publicly aired. I feel for anyone who has gone through this.”
The pair continued couples therapy but in 1999, announced they would be divorcing.
Nason coped by focusing on her children, and said she smashed a lot of plates. She found particular comfort in praying to the Virgin Mary — and installed a statue in her backyard as a shrine.
Ten years after the scandal, Lewinsky wrote Nason an apology note, asking for forgiveness. Nason still has the note “tucked away in a box.”
But in 2013, Nason did give items used in the Kenneth Starr investigation that led to Clinton’s impeachment to an auction house. The treasure trove included Lewinsky’s black negligee and handwritten notes from the infamous intern to both Nason and her ex-husband, including a Valentine’s Day card imprinted with the phrase: “I like you a latte.”
She has no plans to watch “Impeachment: American Crime Story” about the sordid Clinton sex scandal and said she learned to truly turn the page while shopping her memoir, which she had written in present tense. Someone suggested she change it to past tense.
“It was miraculous. With each sentence, changing each verb I felt like I was set free. I was pretty done at that point.”
After two bad marriages, Nason put love on the backburner, focusing on motherhood and her slipcover-making business. But plot twists seemed to find Nason. She fell in love with artist and playwright Tad Savinar, whom she married in a 2014 ceremony in Florence, Italy, where she previously lived in her 20s.
“It took 14 years of not dating,” she said. “I have an amazing partner. I got a very happy ending.”