TV personality Jenna Bush Hager will never forget the conversation she had 20 years ago with dad George W. Bush. The politician talked to her about drinking and she says that completely changed the way she parents her kids.
“I’ll never forget I was in Maine for my cousin’s wedding,” Jenna, 38, recalled to Hoda Kotb on the Wednesday, February 19, episode of the Today show. “We went for a walk, and he said, ‘I just want to talk to you about drinking — and I found in my life it got in the way of the things that mattered most — and I want to make sure that you just know that it can and be aware of it.'”
At the time, Jenna was still in her 20s, but she understood where her father was coming from. “I think at the time I probably was like, ‘I’m not even that hungover,”’ she explained. “But I do think it was such a model to me about how I want to parent, which is to be transparent about either things that have happened in our family’s past, or things that you know that can happen to your kids.”
The former U.S. president opened up about his drinking in his 2010 book Decision Points. George, 73, wrote he quit alcohol after wife Laura Bush gave him an ultimatum — his kids or the drug.
“He said, ‘I just want you to know that there was a point in my life where I thought like this is interrupting what’s beautiful,”’ Jenna recalled. “He just knew that it was interrupting his dreams and interrupting his parenting. I always appreciated it, and I still do.”
Since choosing fatherhood, George never took another sip of alcohol. His decision to stop drinking meant more to his kids than he could ever know.