George W. Bush gave Billy Bush some valuable advice after a leaked tape ended his job at the Today show

By Aili Nahas
May 08, 2019 10:00 AM
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In the days following the leaked tape that ended his job at the Today show in 2016, Billy Bush was unmoored.

“I fell completely apart,” Bush, 47, tells PEOPLE.

He was promptly fired after the tape, which was filmed in 2005, featured Bush laughing as then-Apprentice star Donald Trump bragged about groping women.

Continues Bush: “I went through resentment, anger and being inconsolable.”

  • For more from Billy Bush, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
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He ultimately got some advice from his first cousin, President George W. Bush that helped inform a different course of action.

“W called me three days after I got fired,” says Bush. “I asked him, ‘What do I do? I need to fight.’ And he said, ‘No, it isn’t worth it. You have an opportunity here to just live and accept the fact that you’re not extraordinary. It’s going to be fine.’ And he was right.”

Now, Bush is heading back to television news with Extra Extra, a modernized, fresh take on the current iteration, Extra, co-hosted by Mario Lopez. (The current version will continue its run through the season.)

“I’m so excited for this show,” says Bush of Extra Extra, which will premiere this fall in syndication, and focus on topics including pop culture, sports and politics. “This won’t be like anything you’ve seen before.”

Bush himself isn’t the same, either, he says.

“We all have to be able to evolve as we grow,” says Bush. “Facing adversity in some way is good. And I’m a completely changed person for the better.”

Extra Extra premieres Sept. 9 (check local listings).