Lewinsky was born in San Francisco, California, and grew up in an affluent family in Southern California in the Westside Brentwood area of Los Angeles and in Beverly Hills. Her father is Bernard Lewinsky, an oncologist, who is the son of German Jews who escaped from Nazi Germany and moved to El Salvador and then to the United States when he was 14. Her mother, born Marcia Kay Vilensky, is an author who uses the name Marcia Lewis. In 1996, she wrote her only book, the gossip biography, The Private Lives of the Three Tenors. During the Lewinsky scandal, the press compared Lewis' unproven "hints" that she had an affair with opera star Plácido Domingo to her daughter's sexual relationship with Clinton. Monica's maternal grandfather, Samuel M. Vilensky, was a Lithuanian Jew, and Monica's maternal grandmother, Bronia Poleshuk, was born in the British Concession of Tianjin, China, to a Russian Jewish family. Monica's parents' acrimonious separation and divorce during 1987 and 1988 had a significant effect on her. Her father later married his current wife, Barbara; her mother later married R. Peter Straus, a media executive and former director of the Voice of America under President Jimmy Carter.