How Chelsea Clinton Actually Felt About Her Teenage Years In The White House

Growing up in the White House might sound like a dream; after all, it does have a movie theater, two swimming pools, basketball and tennis courts, a bowling alley, and more. Imagine having a birthday party with all of those options! You'd have access to fun activities with none of the responsibilities of running the country.

While the amenities of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave sound idyllic, the untold truth for Chelsea Clinton and other children who grew up there is that it all comes at a cost. As the daughter of former president Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton experienced this during her dad's time in office beginning in 1993. She moved into the White House when she was only 12 and remained there until she graduated high school and moved to California for college at Stanford University. Her time in the White House was largely marked by the presence of Secret Service agents joining her everywhere she went and by the spotlight that comes with being associated with the president of the United States.

Press and privacy

People publicly made jokes about Chelsea Clinton's appearance and critiqued her in her early days in the White House. This prompted her parents, former president Bill Clinton and former first lady Hillary Clinton, to demand the media stop scrutinizing her. While Clinton was no longer the center of attention, the press' presence lingered everywhere and it was impossible to avoid the cameras and lights throughout the rest of her stay at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. "Sometimes I really wanted to fade into the background," Clinton told Variety. "I didn't want as many people looking at me, or as many bright lights glaring at me." While constantly being in the limelight was uncomfortable, Clinton went on to explain that she never felt fear because of it.

In addition to endless media presence, Secret Service agents were also a constant for Clinton. While she never thought about seeking privacy by running away from her Secret Service agents, there was an instant where she ended up out of their sight. "I once was driving with my best friend from high school and we went through a light and like the Secret Service got caught behind the other light," she said on an episode of the "People Every Day" podcast. "We pulled over immediately of course, and waited for them." She went on to say that she apologized profusely because she recognized that she was out of sight for a few minutes.

Protecting family from the limelight

The press didn't relent when Chelsea Clinton left the White House for college. Instead, they followed her; when she went to Stanford University, 250 journalists arrived in California with her. She ended up living in a high-security dorm during her time at Stanford, all of which were accompanied by Secret Service agents. Later on, her own relationships were publicized, and, eventually, the Monica Lewinsky scandal hit headlines and her family was once again the center of attention. During the scandal, Clinton used the limelight to show that she still supported her family. A popular display of this was when she took both her parents' hands to signify they were still a family.

Fast forward to now, and Clinton has three children of her own — Jasper, Aidan, and Charlotte. She does her best to uphold their privacy and keep the press away from them. "I feel such a palpable sense of responsibility because I wish more people had been standing up publicly for me," she told Variety.