Sharing his side. Billy Bush broke his silence in a new interview about the Access Hollywood tape scandal more than seven months after the recording was leaked.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter for an interview published on Sunday, May 21, the 45-year-old TV personality shared his thoughts about the fallout from the headline-making tape.
“I am not grateful for the moment,” he told the publication. “But I’m grateful for what I’ve gotten out of it. I’m grateful that it hit me all the way to my core.”
As previously reported, Bush was let go from the Today show — which he joined just last summer — for his behavior in a leaked 2005 Access Hollywood video clip (obtained by The Washington Post). He and Donald Trump could be heard engaging in what many considered misogynistic banter in the recording.
“It’s been a roller coaster. If you start from the day everything happened, Friday, Oct. 7, it was just instant shock. Things were happening way too fast, and a media circus developed. I’ve never been the type that the paparazzi would be interested in,” Bush explained to THR. “So that early part was just chaos. But then things progressed, and when you have a big, traumatic event, you go through stages, and it led to acceptance and understanding. And then I found myself in a place of soul searching. And I developed a commitment to become a better, fuller man.”
According to the Manhattan-born broadcaster, he never expected to receive so much backlash after the tape was made public. “I thought that we would work through it and we would address people. I put together an apology right away, the one you saw; I told people that I was ashamed and embarrassed. And I was. So in the beginning, I thought, ‘OK, we’ll go and own up to this moment,’” he explained. “Then I got home, and it started to become apparent that [I] would not be returning [to Today]. It hurt a lot, and I fell apart. But I had to put aside those feelings and get through legal things. I never had a legal team; I had never had a publicist before.”
Bush, who shares three daughters with wife Sydney Davis, also told THR that it was difficult to explain the situation to his children. “My [then] 15-year-old, Mary, called me from boarding school, and she was in tears,” he recounted. “And she said, ‘No, why were you laughing at the things that he was saying on that bus, Dad? They weren’t funny.’ It hit really hard.”
He added, “And my wife, Sydney, knows the environment and the atmosphere I was in at the time, and she knows very well the person she married. She has been very supportive from the very beginning.”
Despite the drama, Bush is looking forward to reviving his career in the near future: “I have changed in a way that I think will make me better at my job.”