Former Playboy model Karen McDougal told CNN Thursday that she was intimate with President Donald Trump “many dozens of times” during an alleged 10-month long “loving relationship” that ended in 2006, but that she is happy to kill the story.
“I can tell you we saw each other a minimum five times a month, up to bigger numbers per month,” McDougal said in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
The White House has denied all allegations of the affair, and beyond entries in her diary, McDougal says she did not keep evidence of her story. (RELATED: Former Playboy Model Suing To Speak Freely About Alleged Affair With Trump)
“This is an old story that is just more fake news,” an anonymous White House spokesperson told The New Yorker, which broke the story in February. “The president says he never had a relationship with McDougal.”
McDougal said she hoped at times during 2006 that the affair would blossom into something more long-term even though Trump was married to Melania, who had just given birth to Barron Trump.
When asked if she kept any evidence of the relationship, McDougal said “Let me just say this. If you’re in a loving relationship, do you try to collect evidence?”
WATCH: Playboy model describes alleged affair with Trump
The model, who described herself as a “die-hard Republican,” said she didn’t consider telling the story until Trump began his campaign for president and other people who knew about the alleged affair began to leak into the press.
After conversations with lawyers and friends, McDougal decided to speak about the affair around the time of the GOP primary. McDougal says her lawyer Keith Davidson, who also represents Stephanie Clifford, better known by her porn name Stormy Daniels, told her American Media, Inc. (AMI) may be willing to pay “many millions” for her story, but that amount never materialized.
She took the story to AMI, which owns the National Enquirer and other publications, but they weren’t interested in buying her exclusive story, saying they didn’t find it credible. She then tried taking the story to ABC for no remuneration, but said that after speaking with reporters she got “cold feet” and refused to go on the record.
When Trump won the Republican nomination in July 2016, AMI became interested again, and offered her $150,000 and a two-year contract for modeling and a fitness column so she could rebrand and launch a second career. She also agreed to sell AMI the rights to her story about the Trump affair.
WATCH: McDougal says she was glad to have Trump affair hidden
McDougal filed a lawsuit against American Media Inc. Tuesday for not giving her the columns and the two magazine covers as promised in the settlement, but says she now realizes the company was trying to protect Trump.
“They wanted to squash the story,” McDougal told Cooper. “You’re saying they wanted to protect Donald Trump?” Cooper said. “I’m assuming so, yeah,” McDougal replied.
McDuogal said she more than happy to sign the agreement with AMI and never have to speak about the affair, even though she claims that earlier she thought it important to get ahead of the story. “I never wanted to come forward,” she said. “I looked at it as I was doing work, and I’m getting paid for that. It was more about the way it was presented. It was about we don’t want to tarnish your image an deep your brand wholesome.”
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