Of all Bill Clinton’s extra-marital encounters, one that remains curiously under the radar to this day is his short, intense relationship with willowy British actress Saffron Burrows, currently starring in Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle.
The pair met regularly in London and New York in 2002 and although the union did not go unremarked upon at the time, with the Internet in its infancy it seems to have been forgotten for all time.
Time to redress the balance. Clinton first met Burrows, who had just enjoyed movie success in shark blockbuster Deep Blue Sea in New York. Then 28, she had just split from her movie director husband Mike Figgis and shortly before meeting Bill had previously been linked in the British tabloids with Mick Jagger.
‘Bubba’ had just finished his Presidency, and with Hillary recently assuming duties as a Senator in New York and Chelsea studying for a master’s degree at Oxford, he had time to kill in Europe.
The late British left-wing politician Tony Benn, a pal of Burrows, was on hand to record an account of their first meeting in his diaries More Time for Politics: 2001-2007. In an entry on December 7, 2001, Benn wrote : “Susie Burrows, Saffron’s mother, rang me up. She told me that Saffron and she went to America for a week, visited a bar in New York, and there was Clinton, so Susie went up and spoke to him, and introduced Saffron.
“Clinton was so taken by Saffron he invited them to a concert of Irish music, and afterwards to dinner.”
They then met up in London when Clinton gave the Richard Dimbleby Lecture, an annual speech given by a prominent politician or business figure, in December 2001. Benn, who also attended the lecture at the London School of Economics, records in his diaries he told Clinton when they met, “‘You know my friend Saffron Burrows. ‘ His face absolutely lit up and he said, ‘Oh Saffron and her mother told me all about you in America last week!’ Of course, I had discovered earlier today, when I rang Saffron, that she had a phone call from Clinton, who hoped he’d see her when he was in London.
“So when I got home, I rang Saffron. Apparently, Clinton wanted to have dinner with her tomorrow night and to introduce her to Chelsea.”
The relationship escalated. In March 2002, UK tabloid The Sunday Express—then a more reputable publication than it is now—reported: “Clinton has been enjoying dates with…Saffron Burrows after she turned to him for a shoulder to cry on.”
Mike Figgis refused to comment on the alleged relationship in the article on the grounds that “it is inappropriate to ask me about this on a Saturday.” The report added, “She [Burrows] found she and Clinton had much in common, sharing similar views on privilege and class.”
A source tells Heat Street that Clinton and Burrows enjoyed intimate discussions on social inequality and the class struggle throughout 2002.
Baz Bamigboye, renowned showbiz columnist for the Daily Mail, reported in August 2002 that Clinton was influencing her movie choices—specifically her decision to go to Cuba to film The Galindez File, a movie about 1950s political martyr Jesus de Galindez, who fled Spain and the Dominican Republic.
Bamigboye reported: “Saffron took the role after discussions with one of her political mentors, and close friend, former U.S. President Bill Clinton.”
Alas, although Clinton remained smitten with Saffron, their friendship withered on the vine. After The Galindez File sunk without trace, Burrows focused her energies on re-building her career and took roles filming Peter Pan and Troy. With Chelsea graduating from Oxford in 2003, Clinton began spending less time in London.
When he returned to the English capital to launch his memoir My Life in the summer of 2004, Burrows was not present at the glitzy launch party at London’s Guildhall.
Burrows, 43, is openly bisexual and now married to Alison Balian, a writer for the Ellen DeGeneres Show. The couple had a son in 2012 and Burrows is pregnant with their second child.
Saffron is pregnant!!! Baby number 2 is coming! 💓 pic.twitter.com/FfiJOjEBCc
— SaffronBurrows Fan (@saffron_burrows) September 13, 2016
She remains committed to her causes and publicly backed the Labor Party in the 2015 UK General Election. Although she is now an American citizen, Saffron Burrows has yet to publicly endorse Hillary Clinton for President.