Billy Bush Officially Parts Ways with the Today Show After Leaked Tape Drama
A source confirmed to PEOPLE that the host will be leaving his post effective Monday. “Billy Bush will be leaving the TODAY show’s 9am hour, effective today,” the network said in a statement to employees. “While he was a new member of the TODAY team, he was a valued colleague and longtime member of the broader NBC family. We wish him success as he goes forward.”
Bush’s exit statement reads: “I am deeply grateful for the conversations I’ve had with my daughters, and for all of the support from family, friends and colleagues. I look forward to what lies ahead.”
The news comes in the wake of the Oct. 7 leak of a 2005 tape in which then-Access Hollywood host Bush and Donald Trump can be heard making lewd and graphic comments about Nancy O’Dell and Arianne Zucker while filming a segment for the entertainment program.
The same day the tape was released, Bush, 45, issued a public apology: “Obviously I’m embarrassed and ashamed,” he said. “It’s no excuse, but this happened eleven years ago — I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I’m very sorry.”
Two days later, he was suspended indefinitely from NBC talk show pending review.
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Another PEOPLE source, however, said the “locker room talk” comments Bush made in the video were out of the character for the co-host, and that Bush has always been “respectful to women and kind to his colleagues.”
“Those tapes were a decade ago and it was seven minutes of someone’s life, and all I can tell you is what I know and the person that I sat next to for the last six years, and that person for me is a totally different person,” said Hoover, adding, “The Billy that I know and a lot of people would say has the biggest heart of anybody and he is a good person.”