The former first daughter laughed while recalling the moment, imitating her dad's reaction

By Claudia Harmata
February 18, 2020 10:20 PM
Advertisement

It’s safe to say former President George W. Bush wasn’t a fan of this particular nickname.

On Tuesday’s episode of Today with Hoda and Jenna, co-host Jenna Bush Hager shared a playful anecdote about the time one of her ex-boyfriends gave her dad, then the governor of Texas, a totally different title.

“I actually had a boyfriend once call my dad ‘Big George,’ ” Hager, 38, said on the show. She was met with audible laughs from the audience and a gasp from co-host Hoda Kotb.

“He did not!” Kotb, 55, responded.

Hager then imitated her dad’s reaction: a shocked face and trembling hands.

“I think he was the governor at the time,” the mother of two said. “And he was just like, that’s [not] how we were raised, you don’t call — I called even my godmother Regan, who I love, now I call her Regan, but I called her Mrs. Gammon for years.”

The Bushes, including Jenna Bush Hager (right), in 2008
| Credit: Shealah Craighead/The White House/Getty

The story came up while Hager and Kotb were discussing a cultural shift in the way children address people who are older than them, reflecting on how when they were younger it was customary to address someone by “Mr.,” “Ms.” or Mrs.” and their last name.

But the Today stars said they’d noticed that youngsters, including their own, now called adults by their first name.

“That has kind of gone away, like my kids call you ‘Hoda,’ ” Hager said to Kotb of her kids — daughters Poppy 4, and Margaret, 6. (She also welcomed 7-month-old son Henry “Hal” Harold last year.)

She then joked that it took having her children to stop addressing her in-laws as “Mr. and Mrs. Hager.”

“They’re lovely people and I just felt like I wanted to show them that I’m respectful,” she said of husband Henry’s parents.

Kotb added, “I think we have to start doing that with our kids, because I was even thinking that [daughter] Haley calls my sister and brother by their first.”

Hoda Kotb (left) and Jenna Bush Hager
| Credit: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty

Last week, both morning hosts tried their hand at some late-night TV when they appeared on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen on Wednesday.

During the show, Hager answered a viewer’s question about some of the “misconceptions” about growing up as the daughter of a president.

“It’s kind of hard to tell what people think about you,” she said, “but I do think it’s hard: People don’t really know my parents, know who they are as my parents.”

“It’s hard to tell what people think about me, but I think probably, maybe, that I’m not a hard worker,” Hager added. “I try to fight against that a little.”