“I had a boyfriend in seventh grade who broke up with me after we went swimming together after he saw me in a bathing suit,” the former first daughter, 41, revealed during the Wednesday, April 12, episode of Today With Hoda and Jenna, while discussing Ariana Grande’s recent clapback about body-shaming criticism. “It’s so interesting because people really do hit you right where it hurts.”
“I feel like, even sometimes now, when I feel great — I have three kids [who were born via] three C-sections, I feel really in my body and I think of it as a beautiful thing — I’ll walk in a pool and have a moment [of panic],” the Sisters First author — who shares daughters Mila, 9, and Poppy, 7, and son Hal, 3, with Hager, 44 — confessed on Wednesday. “There’s been times when we’ve done this show when people have written about our body and it takes you back to that moment.”
While Bush Hager tries not to sweat outside criticism, she’s been intentional to teach her three children how to be respectful humans. “All we want is loving children. We don’t need the star kid, the this, the that. We want kids that are kind,” the Texas native said during the live broadcast. “The way you do that is model it.”
During Bush Hager and her 58-year-old cohost’s candid conversation about body positivity, the Everything Beautiful in Its Time scribe opened up about teaching her children empathy, which “not everyone is born with.”
“I sometimes think of people as parents, like, ‘You know what, maybe he had news today about his child?’ Even if he’s not one, but like that kind of stress [or] imagine him holding a baby and then it helps you have empathy for whoever it is,” Bush Hager explained.
The broadcaster, who is one of the twin daughters of former president George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush, has long been candid about learning to embrace her body after years of childhood struggles.
“A friend [of mine] from camp texted me a picture of myself at camp at the same [age] as Mila [is now],” Bush Hager recalled during an August 2022 episode of Today, noting she was surprised that she wore a two-piece swimsuit at the time. “This is the thing about being a girl — and maybe being me — but I remember thinking I [could] never [wear] a bikini, thinking that I was ‘the chubby one.’ And then I look at this little person, and I’m like, ‘You weren’t chubby. You were in a bikini and you were owning it, and you loved it.’ So why do we spend our days worried about anything like that?”