“When we were dating, I was leaving Washington D.C. and I kind of — in a dramatic fashion you may or may not recognize — said, ‘If you don’t want me to leave for Latin America, we need to get engaged,’” Jenna, 41, told cohost Hoda Kotb on the Tuesday, February 14, episode of Today With Hoda & Jenna. “It was a manipulative ultimatum. Real manipulative. And [I said] ‘You know, there are very handsome men over there, but we could get engaged?’”
Despite her requests, Henry, 44, told the Texas native that he “wasn’t going to marry me.” However, a night out on the town together around Valentine’s Day made Jenna — wrongly — wonder if he’d changed his mind.
“They brought two glasses of champagne at the end of the meal and tied around one was the fortune, which they got wrong. It was supposed to say something like, ‘Go and when you come back, I’ll be here.’ But all it said was, ‘Don’t go.’ With champagne,” she said. “And Henry is not a champagne fella, so I was like, ‘Yes! I will marry you!’ And his face dropped. He could have cried.”
While Jenna initially hoped the awkward moment could be swept under the rug, her past came back to haunt her when the Washington Post published an article about the situation after another couple at the restaurant overheard their conversation.
“So in The Washington Post, there was an article that was like, ‘On a date night, Jenna thought she was getting engaged but turns out no she wasn’t. Restaurant eaters heard her say, ‘I nearly [s—t] my pants’ — it said the word ‘soiled,'” she explained while cringing at the memory.
Luckily for the Give producer, her beau found the situation hilarious and. even purchased a copy of the article, framing it for her Valentine’s Day gift. He didn’t, however, get down on one knee until years later.
“[My grandmother] Barbara [Bush] kept telling my mom – cause I would call and be kind of grumpy. She’d be like, ‘I don’t think he’s going to do it. He’s going to back out. There’s no way it’s happening,'” Bush Hager recalled.
Eventually, Henry popped the question and the twosome tied the knot in May 2008 after four years of dating. They went on to welcome three children together: daughters Mila and Poppy and son Hal in 2013, 2015 and 2019, respectively.
The Sisters First: Stories From Our Wild and Wonderful Life author has often gotten candid about the bumpy moments in her relationship over the years — especially when her father, George W. Bush, was President of the United States.
“My worst first date involved the Secret Service, let’s just leave it at that,” she said during a February 2021 episode of her talk show. “It was with Henry and his car ran out of gas and went backward and hit the Secret Service. … I was laughing, but he was horrified.”