'I can [imagine] my mother’s reactions,' Linda Tripp 's daughter, Allison, says of ACSImpeachment. 'To be perfectly honest, I think she would be blown away.'
“To be perfectly honest, I think she would be blown away by that episode and how they portrayed her,” says Allison Tripp in an exclusive interview.
…I think she felt compelled to soften her appearance. Because it was always just one jagged, unflattering photo after the next. They had plenty of good photography to choose from, yet they continued to revert back to just the worst photos. At the time, the messaging was, ‘Get over it, [the criticism] is not a big deal.’ But it is a big deal. That criticism would not be allowed today.”
The episode also helped jog Allison’s memory about the impeachment era, though she’s careful to clarify that she was, up until the mid-’90s, a normal self-involved teenager.She remembers meeting Lewinsky a handful of times—and always having pleasant interactions.
She remembers a rare vacation that the Tripp family took to Lake Placid during the Lewinsky years. “We didn’t get to take vacations often between mom’s work schedule, finances, so this was a big vacation—a week in Lake Placid skiing. But somehow or another [Lewinsky] got the hotel room number and started calling. That’s when [my mom] sat my brother and I down, and said, ‘This is what’s happening. I’m sorry this is interfering with our vacation.’” At the time, Allison says, “I was young and of course, like, ‘Okay well what slope are we going on next?’” headtopics.com
Asked if she remembers the infamous tape recorder, Allison says those recollections are hazy—but she remembers seeing something attached to the phone on which her mom was making calls. “I didn’t ask questions and neither did my brother because, again with her, I always knew the path that she would take was the path that would do the right thing.”
Linda’s driving forces, as Allison remembers them, were 1) What’s the right thing to do? 2) How am I as a single mother going to be able to instill the right thing to do? 3) How can I keep my job, which means so much to me, even as I’m watching people being plucked out around me?
Speaking about the recordings her mother made of Lewinsky, Allison says, “She didn’t want to perjure herself. It wasn’t ever about writing a book. It wasn’t ever about cashing out. It was never about selling those tapes.” Allison claims her mother was offered houses and second homes to “stay on the path they wanted. But she didn’t want that.” Asked to clarify who “they” is, Allison says, “The administration. All I can say is that she was offered those things to quiet her.”
Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp (left) and Beanie Feldstein as Monica Lewinsky inImpeachment: American Crime Story.By Tina Thorpe/FX.On the subject of Tripp’s friendship with Monica, Allison says, “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. And unfortunately, people have to kind of make their own mistakes in life, right? She felt that she was going to be forced to testify and didn’t want to perjure herself. She knew she needed hard evidence. And a lot of certain evidence had been removed from her office [after Foster’s death]. So, for whatever reason, she felt the need to do this. But again, it needs to continually be stressed that it was not for the motive painted back then.” headtopics.com
After Linda’s death, Allison wanted to find a way to honor her mother and establish a legacy apart from the political scandal and all the “white noise,” as Linda referred to it. Horses had been a through line in Allison’s relationship with her mother—dating back to when the family lived in Holland, and Linda enrolled a five-year-old Allison in lessons. Allison took to it immediately, and when the family returned to the U.S., she says her mother made sacrifices so that Allison could continue with the expensive sport in spite of Tripp’s government salary. Though Linda rarely hopped into the saddle herself—“she didn’t give herself enough credit athletically”—she committed completely as a mother, helping Allison clean out horse stalls, tend to the animals, and cheer her on at shows. “She had a big commute into D.C. and had to wake up quite early to take a long bus ride over and back,” says Allison. “So it was exhausting. She didn’t have time for anything else, but that was fine with her because that’s what she wanted. Her life was children and work.”
Allison says that neither she nor her mother took part in traditional therapy following the scandal, but rather found healing through family and horses. “She was a very private person,” says Allison. “I live 10 minutes down the road from the farm so we would have dinner together all the time, lunch together. She would help me with the kids. But being out in nature on this gorgeous farm with horses, being able to drive up her driveway and see these horses just loving life, eating grass, being in the barn—that was her therapy too.”
Earlier this year, Allison created theLinda Rose Foundation, a charitable equine therapy program to help children heal from trauma by working with horses. The farm is located in The Plains, Virginia, and has already begun offering classes. “It’s geared toward lower-income families that don’t have the means to go out and take lessons—to get them out and experience the horses, the care, and purpose that they give. My mom was so supportive of me and I’ve seen so many instances where horses have brought therapy.”
In her later years, Linda apologized to Allison and her brother about the media scandal that engulfed the family. “I didn’t feel like she needed to apologize though,” says Allison, tearing up. “Because as your mom that is your worst nightmare to put your child through that…it brings me a great sense of pride to be her daughter. I’m just very thankful for the time I had with her, for all she did teach me, and my kids.” headtopics.com
Allison recorded the first episode ofAmerican Crime Storyand plans to let her children—ages 16, 13, 11, and six—see it. “My 16-year-old is pretty savvy. She’s done research,” says Allison. “But my kids have always been very proud of her, and standing up for what is right.”
Allison hopes that the limited series continues to “humanize my mother. So far, again only in episode one, they’ve shown her as a hard-working, loyal, gritty woman who has a lot of integrity.” That portrayal alone—even if it amounts to a small part of the ensemble episode—is more than Allison feels her mother got in her lifetime. “I can [imagine] my mother’s reactions in my head,” says Allison. “To be perfectly honest, I think she would be blown away by that episode and how they portrayed her…she always said that the truth eventually does come out.”
“That’s the biggest thing, and that’s why it saddens me,” says Allison. “My mom didn’t get to see this story finally coming out in a more realistic lens and not a vilifying lens. At least my children will get to see it because they too have seen and heard about a lot of that hurt through the years. Hopefully the series will continue on this path. But it gave me a sense of pride to watch her being portrayed this way. I know it will give my children that as well.”Read more: VANITY FAIR »
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Love how her daughter says her mother always did the right thing, as though taping private phone conversations with a “friend” wasn’t breaking the law. HollandTaylor She was stunning in that role. Amazing Linda Tripp was a horrible person!
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