09/29/2015 09:17 am ET Updated Sep 29, 2015

Hillary Clinton: I Feared 'Losing My Identity' By Marrying Bill

"I actually turned him down twice when he asked me to marry him."
Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opened up about her marriage in an interview with actress and activist Lena Dunham published Tuesday.

"I was terrified about losing my identity and getting lost in the wake of Bill’s force-of-nature personality," she said of the former president. "I actually turned him down twice when he asked me to marry him."

"That was a large part of the ambivalence and the worry that I wouldn’t necessarily know who I was or what I could do if I got married to someone who was going to chart a path that he was incredibly clear about. My ideas were much more inchoate. I wasn’t sure how to best harness my energies. So I was searching," she added.

Bill Clinton often recalls how he proposed twice, and how he initially felt that his future wife, who is again running for president, would be more suited for a life of public service.

“I once told her, ‘I do want you to marry me, but you shouldn’t do it,’ and she said ‘that’s not a very good way to make a sale, what do you mean?’" he said in an interview with E! News. "I said well, ‘I love you and you’re endlessly interesting to me and we’ll have a good life, but I think you’re the most talented person of our generation for public service and what you should really do is go home to Illinois and run for office, or go to New York and practice law and run for office.’”

In her interview with Dunham, Hillary Clinton explained that she was worried how marriage would affect her teaching or her work at a legal-aid clinic. 

"I loved doing that. And I wasn’t quite sure how everything I cared about might fit into a marriage with him. So eventually, I said yes. It was a big leap of faith, and I think most marriages are," she said. "You really do just sort of say, 'Okay, I think I know what it’s gonna be like, but I don’t know for sure. Let’s find out.'”

Read the entire interview with Clinton here.

Hillary Clinton