During the summer of 2003, she traveled to Africa with her parents for the launch of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PREPFAR), and it was an experience that would prove to be life-changing. Speaking to Elle magazine, Bush explained that seeing “thousands of people lining the street waiting for drugs that they needed to live, that we had in the United States, was something very hard for me to wrap my brain around.”
However, Bush has also been open about her support for the 2016 election’s Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, and the platforms Clinton champions. Shortly before the election, a photo of Bush alongside Clinton aide Huma Abedin began circulating on social media. The snapshot, which also included outspoken Democrats like actress Dakota Fanning, was captioned with the Clinton-slogan hashtag #werewithher (though the hashtag was later deleted).
She also explains that although she had a “very real obsession with vamp nail polish and Courtney Love,” she never actually took action on her mischievous, rebellious inclinations. Can I get a shout-out to my fellow aspiring “bad girls,” since we all liked the idea of being “bad” but were too scared to actually do anything? High-fives of docile solidarity all around!
Speaking of awkward moments, the public’s recognition of her namesake — her grandmother, Barbara Bush — led to some mix-ups and awkward experiences. As she notes in Sisters First, her parents had decided before she and Jenna were born that the girls would be named after their grandmothers, and that they would be named alphabetically in order of birth (the firstborn would be Barbara, and the second would be Jenna).
When asked who was the better cook, neither had to think long before bestowing the title upon Jenna. “Probably me, because I cook,” Jenna said, to which Barbara agreed. “If you cooked, you might be good,” the more culinary inclined twin posited. Putting up zero fight, Barbara backed Jenna’s suggestion, saying, “Maybe we would know, but we don’t know.” To which Jenna drove the point home with, “We don’t know, because she’s never cooked.”
Yikes! Her punishment? Scraping gum of the sidewalks after school.
In Sisters First, Bush notes that when she was 24, she and her mother, Laura, were visiting Italy for the Olympics. They wound up going to lunch with Silvio Berlusconi, who was then the Italian prime minister, and who proceeded to get incredibly creepy in his conversation with Barbara.
And while she bears no physical scars from the crowd-surfing gone awry, Bush insists she is still haunted by the incident to this very day. “My mom found out somehow, I’m not totally sure how,” she said, casting a glance at Jenna. “I mean, someone in our household told her, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t my dad.” Suffice it to say, their mother Laura has yet to forget it, either. “My mom brings it up every quarter basically,” Bush shared, laughing. “Like, I ran a half marathon and I saw her and I was like, ‘I’m kinda sore.’ And she was like, ‘I know. That Pearl Jam concert.'”
If you spend any amount of time watching the Bush twins interact, it’s abundantly evident that the pair is practically inseparable. So it may come as a particular shock that not only did they branch away from each other during their formative years, but it was Barbara’s idea.
In her joint memoir with twin sister Jenna, Barbara Bush reveals a side of her and her famous family that we never would have imagined.
Bush and Hager are fraternal twins, with Bush being born a few minutes before her sister. The two are both 36 years old and recently released a book titled Sisters First.
As for her support of Clinton, it’s really not as surprising as it seems given both Bush’s mindset and the closeness of the Clinton and Bush families. Oddly, ever since Clinton defeated the elder George Bush in the 1992 election, the two families have been on friendly terms, to the point where George W. Bush has called Bill Clinton his “brother from another mother” and referred to Hillary Clinton as his “sister-in-law”.
However, the relationship ended in tragedy. Over the summer, Bush contracted mononucleosis and spent the summer quarantined in her room and away from Kyle. Upon getting a phone call from Kyle, Bush let it ring because she didn’t want to have the boy she liked seeing her at her worst. Instead, she opted to rest in hopes of feeling better the next morning so she could attend a party she knew he was supposed to attend.
So when she got back to Yale for her senior year, she took health classes. After graduating in 2004, she got a job at a South African hospital, working with children fighting AIDS.
Barbara Pierce Bush is the daughter of President George Bush, the granddaughter of President George H. W. Bush, and the sister of Today Show contributor Jenna Bush Hager.
Barbara Bush for HRC’s NYers for Marriage Equality Barbara Bush supports marriage equality. Do you? Learn more at http://www.HRC.org/MarriageEquality View more New Yorkers for Marriage Equality at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2C7FA9CB6A6287D2 2011-01-31T18:15:50.000Z
Here’s what you need to know:
Former President Bush passed away just one month later.
But Kyle never made it to that party. That night, he hanged himself, a revelation that jarred Barbara so much that it initially didn’t register with her that he was gone. Instead, she thought at first that Kyle had been reached in time and was in the hospital. Soon after, she realized the truth and has since focused on doing whatever she can to keep Kyle’s memory alive. In that same chapter, she reveals that every wish she has made since Kyle’s death has been for him to go to heaven.
Barbara Pierce Bush is Jenna Bush Hager's fraternal twin sister and the daughter of President George W. Bush. She is a Yale graduate and health care advocate.