What Life Is Like For Billy Bush Today

Billy Bush's life changed on October 7, 2016, when The Washington Post published leaked audio of then-candidate Donald Trump bragging about grabbing women by a certain part of their anatomy. The tape was recorded on the set of "Access Hollywood," and Bush can be heard on tape egging on the future president's lewd behavior. When the audio clip was posted, Bush was on a plane; he later told Men's Health that he cried the entire flight back to Los Angeles.

Melania Trump blamed Bush for what her husband said on mic, telling CNN, "[Trump] was led on — like, egged on — from the host to say dirty and bad stuff." Ultimately, Trump was elected president anyway, while Bush lost his job.

In the years since, Bush has endeavored to come back from the brink. "I've moved on completely," he told Men's Health, and in some senses that's true. He has a new job, a different family life, and plenty of other things going on aside from thinking more about his involvement in one of the most consequential presidencies in American history. However, not everyone is ready to let Bush move on from that moment. He's endured another handful of scandals, too, and the "Access Hollywood" tape seems to follow him wherever he goes. This is what life is like for Billy Bush today.

This story contains references to addiction and suicide.

Billy Bush became a critic of Donald Trump

When the "Access Hollywood" tape was initially released in October 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump acknowledged that he was the one who'd said those disgusting things about women. "This was locker room talk," Trump insisted during a presidential debate (via NBC). "I'm not proud of it, I apologize to my family, I apologize to the American people ... but this is locker room talk." By May 2017, Trump had been elected president, and he evidently decided that he'd now be able to deny what he had once admitted. "We don't think that was my voice," Trump reportedly told a senator, according to The New York Times.

That didn't fly with Billy Bush, the man who was actually there when those infamous words were uttered. In fact, by that point, Bush had suffered more consequences for what happened than the president had. To correct the record, Bush wrote an op-ed for The New York Times, reminding Trump that he had, indeed, been the one to brag about the access that he felt his celebrity gave him to women's bodies.

"Of course he said it," Bush wrote, summarizing the accusations of the numerous women who have credibly accused Trump of assault. "... I will never know the fear you felt or the frustration of being summarily dismissed and called a liar, but I do know a lot about the anguish of being inexorably linked to Donald Trump," he added. "You have my respect and admiration."

He struggled with addiction after the tape

In the wake of the "Access Hollywood" tape, Billy Bush found himself without a job. In his op-ed for The New York Times, Bush said that in those early days, "I wasn't processing anything productively." As a result, Bush turned to alcohol to cope. In an appearance on Olivia Jade Giannulli's podcast, "Conversations with Olivia Jade," Bush confessed that he drank too much around that time. "I think it took me til recently, probably four years, four, five years ... to be through the PTSD," he reflected. "It's brutal ... I drank a lot of alcohol. The bottle became my bestie."

At a certain point, Bush realized he needed to make a change to get his life back on track, so he put the bottle down. "I went to a retreat for [10] days in Northern California, no phones, no electronics, just about trying to get the first foot forward again," he recalled. Nowadays, Bush isn't fully sober, but he told Giannulli that he was experimenting with what he called "Damp January." He explained, "Only on weekends."

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Bush experienced suicidal ideation, too

A few years after the "Access Hollywood" scandal broke wide open, Billy Bush opened up in several interviews about how dark things got for him in the ensuing months. In 2019, he told the Daily Beast that he experienced depression. "Suicidal thoughts pop into your head," he said, clarifying that he never had plans to act on these tendencies because of his children. However, he wanted to open up about what he went through anyway. "When you're really low—and this is important to include—you're emoting at the most extreme," he said, expressing hope that he's been able to come through that period of his life better-equipped to handle challenges to his mental health in the future. "I hope I'm conditioned to take a deep breath, acknowledge the feelings," he said, "and know that they're not here to stay."

Speaking with Men's Health, Bush acknowledged that his public fall from grace served as a wake-up call. "I'm afraid that event was important for my development as a broadcaster, as a journalist, as a man, as a person," he reflected. "I needed to have my a** handed to me."

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org

He got a new gig on Extra

In 2019, Billy Bush made his return to television on "Extra," an entertainment news program not dissimilar to "Access Hollywood." "I think they were very nervous about hiring me, even after all this time," he told Men's Health. Producers brought him on for a year, but after just a few weeks on air, the show got picked up for longer thanks to high ratings. "There's not a person I've ever talked to who didn't say that he got a raw deal," executive producer Lisa Gregorisch-Dempsey told the Associated Press. "Life is about second chances."

Now that he's on television again, Bush told the AP that he feels his experience will help him be a better interviewer, especially for other celebrities who are going through a public backlash. "I've already connected with several people I'm watching right now getting the flogging and the public shaming and the cancel culture and all that," he explained. Because he's been there, Bush said he reaches out and tells stars, "You know you're in good hands with me."

Another leaked tape caused more scandal

Billy Bush nearly had his career ended by leaked audio from the set of his show, so you might expect he would be extra careful whenever he's around a microphone. That doesn't seem to be the case, because, in 2023, the Daily Beast published audio of Bush making a sexual joke about Kendall Jenner on the set of "Extra." It was Halloween, and Jenner dressed like Jessie from the "Toy Story" films. "Kendall goes as Jessie and, believe me, there were a lot of woodies," Bush joked, a pun on Jessie's cowboy counterpart Woody as well as a slang term for a particular appendage.

Sources told Page Six there was "no malicious intent" in the joke. The production company behind "Extra" supported him, too, telling The Hollywood Reporter that it was simply a joke cut from the broadcast. "The show's creative process allows the flexibility to try different jokes and banter," Telepictures said in a statement. "In the end, some material lands on the cutting room floor." Unlike his public contrition after the "Access Hollywood" tape, Bush did not address the leaked joke from "Extra."

He was the last person to interview Lisa Marie Presley

As part of his "Extra" gig, Billy Bush served as a correspondent on the red carpet of the 2023 Golden Globe Awards. He spoke with Lisa Marie Presley, chatting with Elvis' daughter about Austin Butler's performance in the biopic about her father. While she spoke, she turned to her companion, Jerry Schilling, and said, "I'm gonna grab your arm." She held on to him for support throughout the interview.

Presley died two days later, making Bush the last interview of her life. He told Fox LA that he could tell something was very wrong, even at the time. Bush initially invited her onto a raised platform to conduct the interview, but she wasn't able to make it up the steps. "She was very uneven in her balance. The speech was very slow," he recalled. "When the interview was over, I turned to my producer next to me and said, 'Something's off here.'"

Bush pointed out that her father also died young, and she had recently experienced the loss of her son as well. Bush added, "Just very, very sad."

Billy Bush was upset the Today Show ignored him

After the "Access Hollywood" tape was released, Billy Bush was suspended and then fired from his hosting job at "Today." He'd had the gig for only two months. Announcing his departure on air, Matt Lauer told viewers, "A statement Billy released separately last night read in part, 'I look forward to what lies ahead.' And, of course, all of us here at 'Today' wish Billy the best." Bush struggled in the wake of his firing, especially because it left him feeling unable to care for his family. He told People, "I lost my career. For a man, that's the ultimate degradation."

A few years later, Bush was able to move on with his new job at "Extra." However, he seemed unable to move past his brief stint with "Today." When his former employer put out a 70th anniversary video in early 2022, Bush was reportedly furious that he was left out of the montage. A source told the New York Post, "Billy was livid they included everyone except him." After all, the montage included Lauer, who was himself later fired from the show amid accusations of sexual assault. "When they chose to include Matt Lauer — who was accused of ... raping a young staff member while on a work trip," the source pointed out, "but chose not to include Billy, you know something is very wrong."

Bush still spends time with his ex-wife

Billy Bush's professional life wasn't the only thing that took a hit after the "Access Hollywood" tape. Less than a year after the leak, Bush's representatives told People that he and his wife, Sydney, were taking time apart. "They love each other and their children deeply and are committed to a bright future," the statement read. The following year, Bush told People that their marriage was already in trouble before the scandal though he had hope they might be able to figure out a path forward together. "We get to explore and take our time," he said. "She's been so awesome through everything. I love her very much." Ultimately, the split was for good, with the pair finalizing their divorce in 2019. 

Still, according to photos posted to his Instagram, Bush spends a lot of time with his family. The whole family, including his ex-wife and daughters, spent Thanksgiving 2023 in France. He even teased the family group chat with fake "White Lotus" spoilers, posting screenshots that show he jokes around with his ex. Even if they're no longer together, it seems they have found the bright family future they once hoped they'd someday be able to have.

The Extra host was criticized for body shaming Tara Reid

In late October 2023, Billy Bush once more found himself in hot water with fans over comments he made about a woman's body. This time, Bush said his comments directly to her. Tara Reid appeared on "Extra" to promote her participation in the reality show "Special Forces." The show required her to compete in obstacle courses and challenges themed around military exercises.

In the interview, Reid addressed comments from viewers speculating that she has an eating disorder because of her skinny appearance. "It's been going on for years," Reid said. "There's no eating disorder. Like, zero. I've never had one." Reid pointed out that she's known Bush for decades, asking him if her appearance has changed over time. "You want my honest opinion?" Bush said. "I think you look a little too skinny."

Viewers on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, were not happy with Bush's comments. "He shouldn't be talking to her about her body," one person wrote. "It's really not his place." Another linked Bush's behavior to the "Access Hollywood" tape, suggesting that he hasn't learned to refrain from commenting about women's bodies. "Maybe Billy Bush needs to pipe down about any woman considering the s*** he's pulled," they said.

If you need help with an eating disorder, or know someone who does, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).

Despite a scary injury, he still plays golf

In 2017, Billy Bush was hospitalized after being hit in the head by a golf ball. He shared a snap of himself in a hospital bed on Instagram, joking in the caption, "FORE!" After thanking the doctors and nurses who cared for him, Bush wrote, "I think I dodged a bullet...but sadly not a golf ball. Scan is clear, let the jokes begin." Thankfully, it seems the golf ball hit a part of his head that didn't cause long-term damage, but things could have been much, much worse. When he appeared on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," Bush explained, "The doctor told me, 'If it was a half an inch higher, you might have died.' And I said, 'I'm finally lucky.'"

The incident hasn't put him off the sport; he still posts golfing photos all the time. He hit the links in 2022 for his birthday, according to an Instagram post. In 2023, he golfed with Bruins hockey players David Pastrňák and Kevin Shattenkirk, and, in a separate video, he posted himself goofing off on the green with former NFL player Reggie Bush. For the record, there's no relation, though Billy joked in the caption, "You're still mom's favorite."