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Jenna Bush Hager says when she was a teen, her late grandmother insulted her over her weight

 August 26, 2023

Jenna Bush Hager recently opened up about her youthful mischief, which once led her grandmother, Barbara Bush, to dispatch a stern letter in her direction, as the Daily Mail reported.

Revisiting Past Memories: The Infamous Letter

Bush Hager, 41, an NBC morning television personality, shared this family anecdote on an episode of Today With Hoda and Jenna. She discussed the aforementioned incident involving her grandmother, revealing how she once got into a scrape with the family matriarch following a tennis game.

She said, "My grandmother once wrote us a very mad letter. 'I was playing tennis, and she was mad at my behavior ... and my dad thought it was hilarious, so he was still cheering me on."

Bush Hager also spoke of how a text from her father brought back memories of the intense event, when he asked if she still had that particular note.

Bush Hager reminded her dad that he had initially asked her to discard it. Now however, "he said, 'I wish you had it so we could do it an interpretive reading,'" she conveyed to her co-host, Hoda Kotb.

She added, "Some things that hurt you will laugh at later."

Remembering Barbara's Candidness

This isn't the first time Bush Hager opened up about her grandmother's penchant for straightforward, unrestrained commentary.

In January, she shared an incident in which her grandma remarked that she appeared "chubby" in her teen years while wearing a bikini, a comment for which she later apologized.

Bush Hager admitted that these remarks negatively affected her self-esteem. She reminisced, "I remember being a teenager. I remember the bikini color I was wearing, a yellow bikini color."

"I was laying next to my sister [Barbara Bush], and my grandmother, who I adored, but had kind of a biting personality, said something like, 'Oh, Jenna! Looking chubby'."

However, she later realized that the former first lady might have been mirroring her own self-doubts. Barbara herself had grappled with her mother's constant comparisons to her older sister, Martha Pierce.

Life in the Public Eye

Bush Hager also shed light on her experiences growing up in the political limelight. She recalled when her father vied against Al Gore in the 2000 presidential race.

Even amidst the hectic campaign, he assured his daughters, Jenna, and her twin Barbara, that they could continue to live regular lives -- an expectation that, in hindsight, was slightly ambitious.

When her father took the presidential oath in 2001, Bush Hager was embarking on her freshman year at the University of Texas at Austin, while Barbara entered their father's alma mater, Yale.

Bush Hager's commitment to a normal student life was so fervent that she even disregarded a call from actress Katie Holmes, who sought her insight for the 2004 film First Daughter.

The former first daughter's candid nature remains a staple of her NBC daytime show, often leading to playful banter with co-host Kotb. For instance, their differing opinions on eating in bed recently took center stage.

While Kotb relished the idea, Bush Hager humorously highlighted the consequences, such as attracting critters with stray crumbs.