March 7, 2009 / 3:49 PM / 10 years ago

Clinton tells how she fell for Bill "long ago"

ANKARA (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a sideshow to diplomacy, lamented on Saturday her fashion sense, divulged when she fell in love and shared how she dealt with personal struggles.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) talks with Turkish businesswoman Hayriye Ersoy (L) as she is flanked by Turkish talk show hosts Cigdem Anad (2nd R) and Aysun Kayaci (2nd L) after the taping of their talk show for Turkish broadcaster NTV in Ankara March 7, 2009. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

Appearing on a popular Turkish television chat show, Hadi Gel Bizimle (Come and Join Us), Clinton tackled a few diplomatic questions but the main focus was on her personal life, such as when she “last” fell in love.

“It was so long ago, with my husband,” she told the studio audience, adding that she first met former President Bill Clinton in the spring of 1971 when they were at law school.

“We have been talking to each other and enjoying our life together ever since,” she said.

The appearance on the show, with four female interviewers, is part of Clinton’s strategy to reach out to ordinary people through public diplomacy efforts.

She appeared on a popular television show while in Indonesia last month on a tour of Asia. During her swing through Europe and the Middle East this week, she met students on the Israeli-occupied West Bank and held a town hall meeting in Brussels. Clinton returns to Washington on Sunday.

Asked what she missed most about private life, Clinton said it was shopping for herself and sitting around in pavement cafes, drinking coffee and “people-watching.”

“I sacrificed a lot of my privacy, which I regret,” she said, adding that the benefits of public service were huge.

“You can’t have everything, you have to make some choices and I am very excited that I get a chance to serve my country in working with President Obama,” she said.

But despite her love of shopping, Clinton said she did not have good fashion sense and often told her daughter Chelsea the “fashion gene” had skipped a generation when it came to the former first lady.

But she praised current U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama for her “fabulous” fashion sense and handling of the job.

“I was a first lady and I know how important that role is. I think Michelle Obama is doing a wonderful job and she is also balancing her responsibilities very well,” said Clinton.

“She has two young children and she has put their well-being first, because it is hard when your father is elected president and you are still a child.”

Interviewers delicately asked Clinton to explain how she had dealt with bitter personal experiences, without mentioning a scandal involving Bill Clinton and a former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

“Oh, love! And forgiveness, and friendship, and family. You know, family, faith, friends are the core of my life and I don’t know anybody whose life is smooth sailing,” said Clinton.

“If you meet such a person, I want to know them. Because I’ve lived a long time and I have yet to meet that person.”

Reporting Sue Pleming; Editing by Giles Elgood

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