The Truth About Jenna Bush Hager's Marriage

Former First Daughter Jenna Bush Hager is part of American history. After all, while America might not have a royal family all its own, we do have political dynasties like the Clintons, the Kennedys, and the Bush family — the Texas oil industry oligarchy that's been lucky enough to have not one family member ascend to the presidency, but two. That's certainly an impressive family bragging point!


Although Jenna Bush Hager has not thrown her hat into any presidential races (yet), she's still a central member of the Bush clan. The daughter of George W. Bush and Laura Bush is a host on Today, and is happily married to Henry Hager, as noted in her biography on Harper Collins Publishers. She's also a published author and is active with UNICEF, working to decrease childhood mortality around the world.

Folks who tune into Today regularly know that Bush Hager shares many of the intimate details about her personal life, including about her marriage, which from the looks of it is #RelationshipGoals. Want to find out more? Read on to discover the truth about Jenna Bush Hager's marriage to Henry Hager.


Henry Hager and Jenna Bush Hager met on George W. Bush's re-election campaign

The Hagers' story begins all the way back in 2004, during George W. Bush's second presidential campaign. At the time, Jenna Bush Hager had just graduated from college at the University of Texas, and she had taken a job teaching at the Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., according to the The Washington PostAs for Henry Hager, he graduated from Wake Forest University in 2000, and he worked for Karl Rove before joining Bush's 2004 presidential campaign team. That's when the future couple met for the first time, and they instantly hit it off.


Some folks suspected that their relationship had fizzled two years later, when Bush Hager went to Latin America on a UNICEF project and Hager enrolled at the University of Virginia in an MBA program. But clearly the sparks were still flying, as she mentioned him in the acknowledgements section of her book Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope, calling him "my patient Henry" in 2007. Aw! 

Jenna Bush Hager's now-husband had a girlfriend when they met

The Hagers first laid eyes upon each other in a campaign office, according to Jenna Bush Hager and sister Barbara Bush's book Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life. But they really got to talking for the first time at a football game, where friends introduced the pair. "Henry and I had mutual friends that kind of set us up," she explained on an episode of Today. "A friend of mine from college was his intern at work, and we were going to watch the Texas game, and they were like, 'Can we bring Henry?'" She said yes, and they did. And thus the stars aligned in their favor.


Intriguingly enough, there was a little bit of taboo at the beginning of their romance, as Henry Hager worked for Bush Hager's father, something she's still a little embarrassed about to this day. Additionally, Hager had a girlfriend at the time as well, which means their friends knew they were disrupting an existing relationship. But obviously, the match was meant to be, as they're still together to this day.

Jenna Bush Hager kissed Henry Hager the first time they hung out

When Jenna Bush Hager saw her future husband for the first time while watching football game with friends, one specific adjective popped to mind. "He was cute," she gushed in an episode of Today. And when co-host Hoda Kotb asked if Henry Hager asked her out on a date during the game, Bush Hager didn't say yes. Rather, she admitted that they shared their first kiss that evening, after the game was over. Talk about instant sparks!


That's not to say that they moved in together that very night, or even spent the night together. Bush Hager shared that she and Hager kissed while a Lil' Troy song was playing, though which one she couldn't say on air, as she noted, "I believe it has an expletive." So that surely made the mood especially, uh... romantic.

After that, the couple started dating regularly, and they were spotted out together at a variety of high-profile events, according to The Washington Post. They were officially an item!

In 2005, Jenna Bush Hager's mother didn't think Henry Hager was a serious prospect

It wasn't long into the relationship that Jenna Bush Hager realized that Henry Hager was her forever person. That wasn't a big surprise to Hager's mother, Maggie, who believed that her son's relationship with Bush Hager was destined for marriage. "They have been great, great friends all this time," she shared in an interview with The Washington Post. Sounds like they were all on the same page!


However, that wasn't the opinion of Laura Bush, who literally went public about how her daughter and Hager weren't heading to the altar together. "This is not a serious boyfriend — I hate to have to be the one to say it on television," she said in a televised interview at the time. "But he's a very nice young man."

Obviously, in the end, Laura was mistaken. It makes you wonder if that ever gets brought up during the holidays!

Jenna Bush Hager's now-husband asked her father for her hand in marriage

Despite Laura Bush's perception that her daughter wasn't serious about Henry Hager, it was clear that the relationship was indeed destined for nuptials. To that end, in 2007, Hager decided to ask Jenna Bush Hager's father for her hand in marriage. The gesture was something his mother, Maggie, insisted upon out of respect for both tradition and the family. "Anybody raised in this family follows the rules," she explained in an interview with The Washington Post. And although it may be a bit old-fashioned, it's also pretty sweet.


According to Bush Hager's book with her sister Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life, asking the president of the United States for permission to marry his daughter was a bit of a nerve-wracking experience for Hager. But before he could even get his entire speech out, President Bush interrupted him to voice his approval. "Nope, I don't need the reasons. Let's get Laura out here," he said. "Laura, Henry's proposing!" He added that he loved his daughter, even though "she can be a pain in the a**." For real, George?

Jenna Bush Hager thought Henry Hager was proposing in 2006

About a year before Henry Hager decided to take their courtship to the next level, Jenna Bush Hager mistook one of his romantic gestures for a proposal, according to The Washington Post. The pair were out dining at Asia Nora when, at one point, the waiters brought glasses of champagne to their table. And there, affixed to one of the glasses was a note, which Bush Hager thought was the big ask. But when Hager clarified that he wasn't proposing, she was understandably surprised. "I thought you were proposing!" she exclaimed in the middle of the restaurant. "I nearly [soiled] my pants!"


So what was really happening? Apparently Hager had requested fortune cookies with a message inside, and instead got a champagne toast with a garbled version of what he'd intended to say, according to her book with her twin sister Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life. The whole experience was all the more embarrassing when Bush Hager read about it in The Washington Post the next day, as a patron in the restaurant told the newspaper what happened. Talk about awkward! 

Henry Hager proposed to Jenna Bush Hager on top of a mountain in 2007

Although the Asia Nora incident was mortifying for both Jenna Bush Hager and Henry Hager, the real proposal came about a year later when the couple was camping out in the mountains. Bush Hager was admittedly cranky on the trip, as she wasn't getting enough sleep, which had a negative impact on her mood. "I kept calling my parents, and they knew what was going to happen," she revealed on Today. "So they kept checking in, and Barbara kept saying, 'I mean, she is so grumpy, he is going to break up with her! Why would he propose to her?'"


But, of course, he did propose, and, of course, she happily said yes. "He woke me up at four in the morning, and we hiked to the first place that the sun hits the United States on the east coast, Cadillac Mountain," Bush Hager continued. "And he proposed with a secret service man in tow!" What a great story!

Jenna Bush Hager and her now-husband got married in 2008

On May 10, 2008, Jenna Bush Hager married the love of her life in a private ceremony on the Bush family ranch in Crawford, Texas. Bush Hager wore a gown made by Oscar de la Renta, accented with minimal accessories and soft, natural makeup, according to People magazine. It sounds like quite the romantic affair!


At the time, President George W. Bush was over the moon about the nuptials, and he shared that sentiment with reporters while boarding Air Force One in Waco. "Our little girl, Jenna, married a really good guy, Henry Hager," he gushed in an interview with NBC News. "The wedding was spectacular. It's just — it's all we could have hoped for." Aw, dad got sentimental!

Additionally, the former president said the day couldn't have been any more perfect for the newlyweds. "The weather cooperated nicely," he continued. "Just as the vows were exchanged, the sun set over our lake and it was just a special day and a wonderful day and we're mighty blessed."

Henry Hager and Jenna Bush Hager are inspired by other couples

It can be inspiring to see couples who have been together a long time, through good times and bad, who still find beauty in their partnerships throughout the years. That's something that both Jenna Bush Hager and Henry Hager have observed in the couples around them, and something they celebrated on their big day. "At our wedding we did something," she shared in an episode of Today, "where we had three couples that we wanted to emulate, three couples that we just adore ... read, their pick, at our wedding, whatever they wanted to." That way, they each brought their own unique love wisdom into the pair's union.


The three couples consisted of Bush Hager's cousin and her husband, Hager's parents, and, of course, Bush Hager's grandparents, who, at the time, had been together for over 70 years. "We always ask my grandparents, whenever we get a chance, to talk about their love and how they've kept it going," she continued. "What they say ... and I see this, it's true, it's not just words: go 75 percent of the way. You can't both go 50." That's some pretty sagely advice!

Jenna Bush Hager and her husband became parents in 2013

In 2013, about five years after Jenna Bush Hager and Henry Hager tied the knot, the couple became parents for the first time to a baby girl. Former President George W. Bush made the announcement on social media the day after she was born, clearly tickled by the arrival of his granddaughter. "Laura and I are thrilled to announce the birth of our grandchild, Margaret Laura 'Mila' Hager," he wrote in a post on his Facebook page. "Mila, daughter of Jenna and Henry Hager, is named for her grandmothers." Congrats, grandpa!


The former president also shared the specifics on where baby Mila was born, which surprisingly was not in either Texas or Maine. "She was born last night, April 13, at 8:43 pm in New York City," he continued. "We met our beautiful granddaughter today. Jenna and Mila are healthy. And our family is elated."

Henry Hager and Jenna Bush Hager had their second child in 2015

The Hager family once again grew larger on Aug. 13, 2015, when the couple's second child, another daughter, was born. "Welcome to the WORLD Poppy Louise Hager," Jenna Bush Hager wrote in a post on her Instagram page. "Named after my darling Gamps who went by Poppy during his childhood. We are in LOVE." Congrats, you two!


The decision to name their baby after George H.W. Bush was an easy one, as both of the Hagers looked up to him and wanted to carry on his legacy. "We are proud to name her after a man we so adore," Hager mused in an interview with Today. "We are thrilled."

Poppy's birth came after a summer of reflection for Bush Hager, who wanted to savor the last days of being a family of three together. "I want to enjoy every moment of our last summer as just the three of us," she wrote in a blog post for the Today Parenting Team. She added, "Once 'baby sissy' arrives things for SURE won't be boring. Exhausting yes, boring no!"

Henry Hager and Jenna Bush Hager celebrated ten years of marriage in 2018

On May 10, 2018, Jenna Bush Hager and her husband celebrated a significant milestone together: They had officially been married for a decade, which Bush Hager commemorated on social media. "TEN years with this one by my side," she wrote in a post on her Instagram page. "[I] could never imagine on that day in May how beautiful life would be. Love you H."


Bush Hager took to Instagram a few hours later to share what Henry Hager had gotten her as an anniversary gift, too. "The best anniversary gift from my husband: pictures from 10 years ago of my grandparents at our wedding," she wrote in the caption. "A reminder: Life is precious and goes by too fast." How sweet can you get?

Bush Hager also opened up about the occasion on Todaywhich took place just one day after her husband's 40th birthday. "It goes by so fast!" she exclaimed, adding, "I'm a lucky human." 

Jenna Bush Hager leaves love notes for her husband

One thing that Jenna Bush Hager likes to do in order to honor her relationship with her husband is to give him handwritten love notes, a tradition she inherited from her grandparents. George H.W. Bush was known for sending such letters both to his wife and to other friends and loved ones, a practice that Bush Hager honors to this day.


Bush Hager opened up about this family ritual in 2019 at a bookstore as part of the Today show's "Share Love TODAY" series, reading aloud a note she'd previously written to Henry Hager. "Your love is like the Post-it note with stick figure drawings of ships passing you left for me on the bathroom mirror when I returned home late," she wrote in the note. "I'd been flying most of the day and I was dehydrated, and thirsty for home, for you." Awww!

The note wrapped up with a brief summation, rounding out the sweetness. "Your love is like that note," she continued. "It is simple and solid and thoughtful."

Jenna Bush Hager and Henry Hager welcomed their son into the world in 2019

The Hagers became parents a third time over on Aug. 2, 2019 at 9:02 a.m., when their very first son was born. "We are overcome with joy to welcome Henry Harold 'Hal' Hager into this world," Jenna Bush Hager gushed in an interview with People magazine. "He is named Henry after many on his father's side including his dear dad and his paternal grandfather. Harold comes from my maternal grandfather, Pa, who I loved dearly and was unable to keep a son long enough to name." What a sweet way to honor both of their family's legacies!


In addition to the Hager couple being over the moon, Hal's two siblings were also excited to welcome him into the family. "His sisters are thrilled to have a little brother and already nicknamed his nickname, exclaiming 'welcome to the world Hal Pal,'" she continued. It sounds like all is well at Chez Hager.