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Socialite Swept Up in Petraeus Affair Scandal Finally Breaks Her Silence About 'His Dirty Little Secret'

Playing Socialite Swept Up in Petraeus Affair Scandal Finally Breaks Her Silence About 'His Dirty Little Secret'

Jill Kelley, the Florida socialite who was swept up in former CIA Director General David Petraeus' affair scandal, is finally breaking her silence.

Read: Should Iggy Azalea Marry L.A. Laker Nick Young After He Allegedly Cheated?

In 2012, it emerged that Petraeus had an affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell, who was also married with children.

The affair came to light after Kelley, who says she was close to Petraeus, received anonymous emails from someone about their friendship. When Kelley asked an FBI friend for help, it emerged that those emails were sent by Broadwell.

Kelley's name, as well as details about her life, were splashed across the news after the affair came to light.

Kelley never spoke out during the drama. Now, four years after her life was thrown into turmoil and even mocked on Saturday Night Live, she is breaking her silence in a new book called Collateral Damage: Petraeus, Power, Politics, and the Abuse of Privacy. See below for an excerpt.

"It is only fair that the American public know what happened," she told IE. 

She says she and her physician husband, Scott, were close friends with General Petraeus and his wife, Holly.

“We were really close family friends, had holiday dinners at each other's houses, his kids at my house,” she told IE.

But Kelley says she didn’t know that the general was having an affair with Broadwell, who was researching a book about his life.

“It was his dirty little secret,” she said.

Broadwell apparently became jealous of Kelley’s friendship with the general and came to believe that Kelley and Petraeus were having an affair.

Kelley, 40, and her husband then started receiving anonymous and threatening emails.

One was sent to her husband from someone called “Tampa Angel” and said: “Did you ask Jill about her promiscuous and adulterous behavior yet?”

Kelley said she “thought it was a terrorist group, a rogue agent or even organized crime” sending the emails.

Kelley went to the FBI. Agents investigated and reportedly determined it was Paula Broadwell who was sending the nasty emails. When they dug deeper, General Petraeus’ affair with Broadwell was exposed.

She said: “I was shocked, we spoke so often. How could I never even know that there was someone practically living with him in Afghanistan for six months?" 

His extraordinary career as America’s greatest living general and director of the CIA was over and he resigned.

Kelley says she was shocked when the FBI accused her of having an affair with Petraeus.

“They were trying to prove a theory that perhaps I was having an affair. They were going through my emails, digging through years of my email to find out if I was having an affair with anybody,” she recalled.

There were also reports that Petraeus admitted having touched Kelley’s thigh under the table during an Easter dinner.

He reportedly told the FBI: "Yes, there was some touching under the table."

Kelley denies that happened. She also denies they had an affair.

"I am here today, saying in person that there is no possible way," she said. “I never had an affair with General Petraeus. I never had an affair with anybody.'

Read: Former Cruz Staffer Slams Rumors They Had An Affair, Calls Trump A 'Cheater'

See below to read an excerpt from Collateral Damage: Petraeus, Power, Politics, and the Abuse of Privacy.

In the days, weeks, months and years since my name was leaked to the media, I have desperately wanted to set the record straight, to defend myself. I had many arguments with my lawyer about this. He was firm: “Say nothing. Keep your lips closed,” he said. “Pretend nothing can get out.” I had no choice but to trust him.

In the days, weeks, months and years since my name was leaked to the media, I have desperately wanted to set the record straight, to defend myself. I had many arguments with my lawyer about this. He was firm: “Say nothing. Keep your lips closed,” he said. “Pretend nothing can get out.” I had no choice but to trust him.

The Monday after my name was leaked, I walked outside to go pick up my kids from school, and my lips were pressed tight, as if to remind myself to not say anything to anyone. The snapshot of me in a yellow dress with my mouth sealed became the most viral image of me. To this day, if you Google me, there’s that damn picture, where I look like I was throwing up in my mouth.

That day, I kept telling my attorney “I didn’t do anything wrong” — I said it over and over again. “Why can’t I speak?” But my attorney insisted that when you don't speak, the media go away. Thinking it would be hours away from being over, I stayed silent. Months later, watching two journalists discussing the matter on television, I was jolted when one of them said, “If she had only spoken to the media, it would have gone easier for her. When a subject doesn’t talk, we assume she has something to hide.” So much for silence. I can’t tell you enough how much I regret listening and staying quiet.

The media hysteria was relentless as a result of the flagrant government leaks. I went from being a private person with no history on Facebook, Myspace, Twitter or any social media site — basically a ghost on the Internet — to trending online. I was the focus of every cable news show in the U.S. and on the front pages of every national and international newspaper. Billions of people across the globe saw me wrongly portrayed, with headlines referring to the “femme fatale socialite” … “the other other woman” … “the mystery vixen” … "20,000-30,000 emails," etc. Notice they were all sexist leaks to reinforce their invention that I had an affair? It was, as Petraeus had warned, a feeding frenzy.

He was indeed right about the frenzy, but wrong in his latest emails promising me that if I stayed silent it would go away. The sham grew with size and speed. I was even satirized on “Saturday Night Live.” My husband and I were in bed trying to relax and watch something that could make us forget and laugh for a bit. We clicked on SNL only to see, to our horror, a full spoof about me. I had purposefully wanted to be under the radar in order to maximize my efficacy in the diplomatic world; now I was headline news. It was all too surreal.

Watch: Where Bill Cosby Has Been Hiding Out Since Sex Scandal Emerged  

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