"She's really, really happy," Jenna Bush Hager tells PEOPLE of her twin sister, who has started a new chapter in life

By Sean Neumann Charlotte Triggs
November 29, 2019 10:02 AM
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A lot has changed for Barbara Pierce Bush. But as she embarks on a “new adventure” after a year of marriage, the former first daughter continues to find time to spend with her family, including twin sister Jenna Bush Hager.

Bush married screenwriter Craig Coyne in October 2018 and then they moved to Boston this past summer so she could attend graduate school.

“She’s really, really happy,” Hager tells PEOPLE. “I think moving to Boston was a lot of fun because they’re kind of exploring a new town together.”

Bush and Coyne first held a sweet, sentimental ceremony at her family’s compound in Maine last fall so that President George H. W. Bush, her grandfather, could attend before he died. The pair celebrated their nuptials again earlier this year in her home state of Texas.

Though Barbara had been living in New York City, where her organization Global Health Corps is headquartered, she relocated to Boston for a year with Coyne so she could go back to school.

Still, Barbara tells PEOPLE, she makes the 200-mile trip back to her old home about every six weeks in order to see Hager — who both turned 38 this week — and to spend time with her nieces, Mila and Poppy, and her newborn nephew, Hal.

“Before then we were living four blocks from Jenna,” Barbara says of the move, adding that family is the thing she misses the most about N.Y.C. “[It] was so nice because I could see the girls all the time.”

RELATED: Why Barbara Pierce Bush Had a Second Wedding 6 Months After Her First Ceremony

From left: former First Lady Barbara Bush with her granddaughters Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Piece Bush.
LUKE FRAZZA/AFP/Getty
From left: Craig Coyne and Barbara Pierce Bush
Allison V. Smith

Life in Boston has its own perks, though.

While Barbara says the city “just didn’t seem in the cards until I got accepted into grad school,” she and Coyne soon made the most of it — relishing a routine built together in a new place, with new memories.

“Then it was fun, because my husband had been living in L.A. for the past 15 years and I was in New York, so he moved to New York the week we got married, which was very generous and sweet of him to move to where I was. But then it’s been fun to get to move somewhere as a couple where we’re meeting new people together,” she says.

RELATED: Barbara Bush Rushed to Wed So Her Grandfather Could Be There While He Was ‘Feeling Good Still’

“We’re still getting to know Boston,” she says. “So it’s fun to explore and try new places, and we go on walks all the time to get to know our new neighborhood.”

For last month’s one-year wedding anniversary, Barbara says she and Coyne had a “fun date” at a Boston restaurant.

“It ‘s fun to have a new adventure together in a city that neither of us had ever lived in,” she says. “So we’re exploring somewhere new with our first year of marriage.”

Jenna Bush Hager (left) and Barbara Pierce Bush  in New York City in 2019
Jamie McCarthy/Getty

RELATED: 5 Things You Need to Know About Craig Coyne, Who Married George W. Bush’s Daughter Barbara — Twice!

Barbara says one of the biggest adjustments has been living away from her twin sister, someone she calls “the best thing that ever happened.”

“I was born with a partner to go through everything with,” she tells PEOPLE. “She’s my reference for the world.”

The sisters have still been able to visit one another regularly — and have recently been spending even more quality time than that, with a tour to promote their children’s book Sisters First, published this month.

“It really is just like a fun road trip with my sister,” Barbara says. “We get to explore new cities and we always share a room so we have a slumber party and watch a movie — things that we don’t normally get to do in real life.”

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