The 41-year-old activist fought back tears as she made the moving admission during Thursday’s episode of Today with Hoda & Jenna, which she hosted alongside her sister as they continued to promote their new book, Love Comes First.
The duo had been talking about baby names that are making a comeback when Barbara was grilled on what it was like growing up with her name – to which she confessed that she was ’embarrassed’ by bearing the same as her famous grandma.
‘Being a Barbara Bush in the 1990s was complicated because Ganny was the First Lady, so it drew attention,’ she said.
She went on to admit that she didn’t like the attention as she was growing up but has grown accustomed to it nowadays.
‘So, in the ’90s when people say, hey, Barbara Bush, how would you feel?’ Jenna probed.
‘I would fall back’, Barbara replied, prompting Jenna to ask: ‘You were a little bit embarrassed?’
‘Embarrassed to have attention,’ Barbara said. ‘I didn’t want attention.’
She then started to choke up as she continued: ‘Of course, when Ganny passed away, I was laying bed and I felt ashamed that I felt that way, and proud that I had her name.’
Noticing her sister tearing up, Jenna pointed out: ‘Are we already crying?’
‘Probably not, but maybe,’ Barbara said.
Former first and second lady Barbara died in her Houston home at the age of 92 on April 17, 2018, one month after being hospitalized for a broken vertebrae.
She was the first lady of the United States from 1989 to 1993, as the wife of George H. W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, after previously being the second lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989.
She had six kids of her own: Former President George W. Bush; former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush; businessman Neil Bush; businessman Marvin Bush; author Dorothy Bush Koch; and the late Pauline Robinson Bush, who died of leukemia at age three.
Barbara’s husband, George H. W., died just seven months after his wife passed away, following a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Over the years, Jenna has shared many memories of her grandparents on the Today show – revealing earlier this year that her grandmother once sent her a ‘very mad letter’ reprimanding her for her bad behavior.
According to the host, however, it was her dad, George W. who was to blame – with Jenna insisting that he had been encouraging her naughty antics.
‘My grandmother once wrote us a very mad letter,’ she shared. ‘I was playing tennis and she was mad at my behavior… and my dad thought it was hilarious, so he was still cheering me on.’
Over the weekend, Jenna and Barbara enjoyed a special dinner with just their parents former President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush for the first time in ‘a decade’ while celebrating their mother’s 77th birthday.
The 41-year-old twin sisters flew to their home state of Texas without their husbands and children for the meal, which was documented on Instagram.
Jenna shared a snapshot of herself and Barbara beaming while sitting across from their mom and dad, as well as a picture of their parents cozied up next to each other.
‘Happiest birthday to our darling mama! [We’re] so happy to get to spend the night with you just the four of us! We love you so! @laurawbush AND happiest 46 years to our parents. Love you both!’ she wrote in the caption.
Jenna opened up about the memorable moment on the Today show Monday while chatting with her cohost Hoda Kotb about her whirlwind book tour in Texas, saying they made five stops in just three days.
‘We went to dinner just the four of us and what we realized is, I don’t think we’ve been just the four of us in almost 20 years,’ she explained.
‘That’s an exaggeration,’ she corrected herself. ‘But let’s say a decade, because I have had a husband for a long time, we’ve had children for 10 years, Barbara’s had boyfriends and husbands, et cetera, et cetera.’