By Ariana Bacle
July 19, 2017 at 02:52 PM EDT

In one of JAY-Z’s “Footnotes” videos for new album 4:44, the rapper admitted that his relationship with Beyoncé “wasn’t totally built on the 100 percent truth,” and in an essay published on Vanity Fair‘s website Wednesday, Monica Lewinsky praised him for being honest about his marriage.

“Jay-Z had a choice,” Lewinsky writes in the essay, which highlights male public figures who have strayed from masculine stereotypes in the recent past. “Having been called out publicly by his wife in her fierce 2016 album and video, Lemonade, Jay-Z knew that his fans wouldn’t have blinked if his next album skimmed past the allegations. That’s not uncommon for men to do. And it’s not as if we hadn’t seen Beyoncé and Jay-Z out in the world together since then — not to mention, welcoming their twins to planet Earth. Jay-Z could have ignored it all. But, instead, he chose a path of candor that will … move the conversation forward and help others.”

In “Footnotes,” JAY-Z recalled building a “big, beautiful mansion of a relationship” before it began “cracking.” “Things start happening that the public can see,” he continued. “Then we had to get to a point of ‘OK, tear this down and let’s start from the beginning.’ It’s hard. Remember we just talked about me: I’m from Marcy Projects. I’ve been shot at. But nothing is harder than this. By far. I’m telling you, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Most humans, us, you know what I mean? We’re not willing to put ourselves through that. Most people give up.”

Although JAY-Z doesn’t explicitly address infidelity accusations in the video, he raps “I apologize, often womanize/Took for my child to be born/See through a woman’s eyes/Took for these natural twins to believe in miracles/Took me too long for this song/ I don’t deserve you” on 4:44′s title track.

“It is a refreshing and bracing antidote to see male icons convey vulnerability in an age when Washington’s new power elite and our coarsening culture are busy projecting an outmoded caricature of manhood, 24/7,” Lewinsky continued in her essay, which also spotlights Prince Harry and Brad Pitt. “As we wrestle with gender roles and relationships between the sexes — and see issues of sexism running rampant from the tech world to politics — it’s heartening to see a crack in the implicit contract among men, their emotions, and society at large.”

Read her full piece here.

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