Florida socialite Jill Kelley has finally broken her silence over David Petraeus affair since the scandal erupted three months ago and said she never met Paula Broadwell, who tried to “blackmail, extort and threaten her”.
Jill Kelley – who has been described as the “other other woman” in David Petraeus affair – has been accused of many things since the scandal erupted.
The Lebanese-born socialite was accused of having an affair with David Petraeus as they exchanged more than 30,000 emails, that she had an affair with General John Allen and that she used cancer charity funds for entertainment purposes.
Jill Kelley, 37, said from the moment the blackmailing email was sent to an account she shared with her husband Scott, her life was turned upside down as she went from wealthy Tampa socialite to a maligned, scamming mistress.
She said she was terrified by the anonymous email and admitted in the barrage that followed there was “blackmail, extortion, threats”.
She would later learn they were from biographer Paula Broadwell, whose affair with David Petraeus triggered his resignation as CIA director.
Speaking to The Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz, Jill Kelley said she had no idea who Paula was or of her relationship with Petraeus.
When Jill Kelley complained to a friend in the FBI, she had no idea of the chain of events she was about to set in motion – including finding herself accused of having an affair with General John Allen, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, which both flatly deny.
“I knew I was being stalked. I did what anybody else would have done when they were feeling threatened, to go seek protection from somebody I could trust,” she said.
In the interview, Jill Kelley mainly dwells on the impact the scandal has had on her husband and children, recounting a party she threw soon after for her daughter’s seventh birthday.
“It was devastating. To have your privacy invaded is truly…there are no words to describe it,” she said.
“Instead of enjoying a family birthday party, I had paparazzi storming my front lawn, pushing down the door. There are no words to describe the panic and fear at that moment.
“As much as I appreciate that [the media] want to be the first one to come out with a headline, regardless of whether they did any fact-checking, they have to consider the impact they have on our life and our children’s lives,” Jill Kelley says.
“Just because it’s repeated doesn’t make it true. It was living a nightmare.”
Jill Kelley said a lot of reports in the media were not true, or greatly exaggerated, including that she had exchanged as many as 30,000 emails with Gen. John Allen.
While she did not provide an estimate, she said it was probably somewhere in the hundreds.
When asked about her relationship with John Allen, whom she met when she hosted a birthday party for David Petraeus’ wife Holly,
“We’re friends, good friends,” she said.
That friendship continued by email when Allen was sent to Kabul.
The general’s promotion to be commander of NATO forces is on hold while investigators examine the email traffic between him and Jill Kelley – but sources have described it as flirtatious and potentially inappropriate.
But she contests this, saying they were sent from an account she shared with her husband and that sometimes John Allen’s wife was even copied in.
Jill Kelley said it has been particularly difficult for her cancer surgeon husband, who she deems “an honorable guy” but what she wants the public to know is simple.
“I’m a dedicated mother, a loving wife. We have a very happy, close family. I support the troops. I take pride in feeding the homeless in our community. This whole situation is just very sad.”
In the fallout from the Petraeus scandal, which cost the decorated former General his job as CIA director, Jill Kelly also lost her title as an Honorary Consul to South Korea.
She was also banned from visiting MacDill Airforce base in her role as a social liaison officer and told to remove vanity license plates that carried the title “Honorary Consul”.
Jill Kelley, a mother of two, has never spoken publicly about her involvement in the scandal but is believed to be writing a tell-all book.