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Jenna Bush Hager says her dad was ‘naive’ as president to think she could live a normal life

 August 17, 2023

Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of former President George W. Bush, has expressed how the assurance of living a "normal life" during her father's time in the White House was more of a dream than a reality, as the Daily Mail reported.

Life as the President's Daughter

Speaking candidly about the intense public scrutiny she and her twin sister Barbara faced, Jenna reflected on how this period shaped her into the resilient woman she is today.

Jenna's thoughts came during an interview with People magazine in which she openly discussed her journey through those challenging years.

The Bush twins were concluding their senior year at Austin High School in Texas when their Republican father competed against Democrat Al Gore in the 2000 election.

Recalling those days, Jenna said, "We were 18, and he knew how badly we wanted just to go to college and live normal lives."

She added, "That was his promise to us: 'Don't worry. You can live normal lives.' Which ended up not being exactly true. We were maybe all slightly naïve, to be honest."

Navigating Fame and Freedom

Jenna ignored Hollywood's attempts to connect with her, focusing on her life as a University of Texas freshman.

She even declined a call from actress Katie Holmes, who sought help for her role in the 2004 film First Daughter.

In 2001, Jenna and Barbara made international headlines when they were busted for underage drinking. Jenna shared that her father had later apologized to her for not being able to keep his promise.

Despite the intense scrutiny, Jenna credits her parents with giving her the freedom to be herself.

She said, "The world was expecting us to be perfect. But our parents did not, which is the absolute best blessing that they could have ever given us: the freedom just to be ourselves and to make mistakes."

Learning from the Scrutiny

Years of public attention left deep marks on Jenna, but they also helped her grow into a more robust, more confident individual. She believes the resilience she gained from those experiences enables her to lead a joyful life today.

In the last year, she has disclosed personal anecdotes, including going commando at a dinner with King Charles, visiting a nude beach during her father's presidency, and having her now-husband, Henry Hager, clandestinely stay over at the White House.

However, she is more cautious when it comes to sharing stories about her children, Mila, Poppy, and Hal.

She remembers upsetting Mila by reading a homesick letter she wrote from camp on the Today show, a lesson that helped her realize the importance of respecting others' privacy.

Family and Career Achievements

Jenna's accomplishments were highlighted on Today by co-host Hoda Kotb, who believes Jenna's honesty and achievements make her deserving of the People magazine cover.

Hager shared the family's lighthearted response to the spread, mentioning her husband's playful teasing about the cover line, which reads, "I'm not afraid to be myself."