Jenna Bush Hager was so overcome with emotion that she forgot to thank Kathie Lee Gifford for the gift live on-air

By Jodi Guglielmi
April 09, 2019 10:48 AM
Advertisement

Jenna Bush Hager had a special piece of Kathie Lee Gifford‘s heart with her when she made her Today show co-hosting debut.

Bush Hager revealed the gift Gifford handed her ahead of her first day on the show’s fourth hour, admitting she was so overcome by emotion that she forgot to mention the present live on-air.

“[Kathie Lee] left me a bracelet that says, ‘Your joy is non-negotiable,’ ” Bush Hager told Entertainment Tonight. “I can’t believe I forgot. What is wrong with me!”

And that wasn’t the only gift Bush Hager received on her first day: Hoda Kotb presented her new co-host with an engraved wine glass.

Bush Hager explained just how excited she was to join the program — and how her anticipation affected her sleep schedule the night before.

“I got in bed and I was calm. [Husband] Henry and I went out for a date night,” she said on-air, adding that they put on 60 Minutes. “I got on Instagram right before bed and I saw our new Instagram page… At first, I was like, ‘My head looks huge!’ But then I got over that.. And I just screamed and I woke him up… Then I got really hyper. And Henry said he was about to tranquilize me, and then I feel asleep.”

jenna-hager-1
Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager
| Credit: Today Show

But despite being a bit sleep-deprived, Bush Hager’s first day was filled with fun, laugher and, of course, a few tears.

The new host became emotional while watching a surprise video messages from dad George W. Bush, mom Laura Bush and mother-in-law Margaret Hager.

“Hey, Jenna, your old dad here on film to tell you how much I love you and how proud I am of you,” her father said. “I know you’ll do a fabulous job.”

Added the former first lady, “Jenna, your mother and your mother-in-law are calling to say we’re so proud of you!”

The praise continued on in the form of a sweet video featuring congratulations from Bush Hager’s sister Barbara and husband Henry Hager, as well as NBC colleagues and high school and college friends.

Today - Season 67
Credit: Nathan Congleton/NBC

“She’s earned that, [and] I hope she feels that,” Today co-anchor Savannah Guthrie said.

Bush Hager was then surprised with an adorable appearance from Henry and their daughters Mila, 5, and Poppy, 3, who came on stage in matching dresses holding roses for their mom.

RELATED VIDEO: Savannah Guthrie Says Today Costar and Neighbor Jenna Bush Hager Is ‘One of My Closest Friends’

“I’m a wreck!” a crying Bush Hager exclaimed.

Today airs weekdays on NBC.