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Jenna Bush Hager and husband Henry’s relationship timeline, in their own words

The TODAY with Hoda & Jenna co-anchor recently celebrated 15 years of marriage to her husband, Henry Hager.
/ Source: TODAY

Jenna Bush Hager and Henry Hager's relationship spans nearly two decades.

Sparks first flew between the pair back in 2004, when Henry was working for Jenna’s dad, former President George W. Bush.

It wasn’t long before Jenna knew Henry was the one and the rest, as they say, was history.

Today, Jenna and Henry share three children, and they recently celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary.

Jenna Bush Hager Family
Jenna Bush Hager and Henry Hager have been married for 15 years and share three children, Mila, Poppy and Hal.@jennbhager via Instagram

In February 2019, Jenna expressed her continued love for Henry in a sweet letter to her husband, which she shared as part of a series called “Share Love TODAY."

“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,” Jenna wrote.

“I’d been flying most of the day and I was dehydrated, and thirsty for home, for you," her letter continued. "Your love is like that note. It is simple and solid and thoughtful.”

Here’s what to know about Jenna Bush Hager and Henry Hager’s relationship through the years.

Jenna met Henry when he was working for former President Bush in 2004

Jenna met Henry through mutual friends while he was working on former President Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign.

“He worked for my dad,” Jenna said on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna in 2019. “A friend of mine from college was like, his intern at work, and we were going to watch the Texas game, and they were like, ‘Can we bring Henry?’”

A few years ago, Jenna shared a throwback photo in her Instagram story of the first picture she and Henry ever took together, dating back to December 2004, when she was 23 and Henry was 26.

“We have been together 1 million years,” she joked in the caption.

The couple's ‘worst’ first date involved the Secret Service

As the president’s daughter, Jenna had to deal with some extra complications when dating — such as the presence of the Secret Service.

She recalled one awkward moment when Henry accidentally crashed into a Secret Service car in Arlington, Virginia, as he was driving up a hill to reach a gas station before running out of fuel.

“My worst first date involved the Secret Service, let’s just leave it at that," Jenna said on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna in 2021. “It was with Henry, and his car ran out of gas and went backwards and hit the Secret Service.”

“Were you scared or laughing?” Hoda asked her.

“I was laughing, but he was horrified,” Jenna recalled.

Henry once snuck out of the White House 'walking as fast as he could'

At one point while they were dating, Jenna said Henry had to sneak out of the White House the morning after their relationship reached “a certain level."

“Henry said he woke up (the next morning) and he looked around and he was, like, ‘Aaaaaaaah’ because he worked for my dad,” Jenna recalled with a laugh on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna in 2022

She said Henry was “walking as fast as he could” to get out of the White House while trying to play it cool.

“He said to get out of the White House was as hard to get in,” Jenna told Hoda. “The people that guard the White House are looking to see who’s running (inside). Usually, people don’t run out.”

Jenna added that Henry was wearing “his clothes from the night before, pulling on the gate.”

When she shared the funny story on-air on TODAY, Jenna revealed this was this first time she was telling her parents about the incident, too. 

“Do you think my parents are going to enjoy that? I mean, I’m 41 almost and we have three children!” she said.

Jenna knew Henry was the one for her early on: 'I was completely myself'

Jenna knew Henry was the perfect person for her pretty early on.

“I do think one of the reasons why I knew really soon Henry was the one is I was completely myself, and he loved it,” she told Hoda on TODAY in 2020.

She explained that with previous boyfriends, she had pretended to be somebody she wasn’t to impress them — like when she told a high school boyfriend she was an avid skier, even though she had never skied in her life.

“And then comes Christmas and he said, ‘Well, my family’s going on a ski trip and since you love it, too, I’d love for you to go,’” she recalled of the little white lie she told her high school beau. “And I went into my parents and I was like, ‘Mom and Dad' ... it finally caught up with me."

But with Henry, she could just be herself.

“I do think you reach a certain point where you kind of are who you are, right?” she added.

Jenna proposed to Henry first, months after they started dating: 'What are we waiting for?'

Jenna was so sure of her feelings early on, she proposed to Henry after just three months of dating

“After three months of dating — I might’ve had a Christmas cocktail — and we were dancing, and I said, ‘This is it, I know it, let’s just get married, what are we waiting for?’” Jenna shared on TODAY in February 2020.

“He smiled, and he was like, ‘I’m crazy about you, but you’re young.’"

Jenna shared more details on the proposal on TODAY in August 2023, and revealed her sister Barbara was there when the moment happened.

“I was 22 years old. My sister was standing with us, we were dancing, and Barbara started shuffling backwards. She was like, ‘What is happening here?’”

She recalled Henry saying he loved her, too, and she said, “‘Me too: Let’s get married!’” 

However, Henry didn’t take her tipsy proposal completely seriously.

“He said no, but then five years later we got married,” Jenna recalled. “He didn’t say no, he just was like (laughing).”

Henry asked President Bush for his daughter’s hand in marriage in 2007

Henry asked Jenna’s father for his blessing during a Fourth of July weekend retreat in 2007 at Camp David in Maryland.

Henry was so nervous about asking former President Bush for his permission to marry Jenna that he “read the Bible” in preparation, Jenna told TODAY guest host Justin Sylvester in August 2023.

To make the situation even more nerve-wracking, Henry had trouble grabbing a moment alone with the president. 

“He called my dad. He’s like, ‘I’d like to come speak to you.’ He’s like, ‘I’m taking a nap. Come in a couple hours,’” Jenna said on TODAY. “So (Henry) had to sit and stew.”

When Henry did finally speak to Jenna's father, he came prepared.

“And then he had like a seven-point plan of why he wanted to marry me and how he was going to take care of me, and my dad goes, ‘Henry, I said yes. You don’t need to go through anything else,’” Jenna recalled, adding that he said to her mother: “‘Laura, Henry’s proposing,’ and that was that. Good thing he did it.”

Jenna and Henry got married in 2008

Jenna wed Henry on May 10, 2008, at her parents’ Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Image: Henry Hager And Jenna Bush Wedding
Jenna and Henry tied the knot in 2008.The White House / Getty Images

She remembers a sweet moment she shared with her dad on their special day.

“I think my dad picked me up in a pickup truck, in his pickup truck, and he said, ‘You look beautiful, baby,’ and then we both just wept,” she told Hoda on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna in 2021.

She also shared that on their wedding day, Henry stood at a cross that her dad had helped build.

“It’s still there, so we have our Christmas services there that we put together, our kids have gotten to stand on it,” she said.

The couple welcomed their first child, Mila, in 2013

Jenna and Henry welcomed their first child, Margaret Laura “Mila” Hager, on April 13, 2013.

Mila is named after both of her grandmothers: former first lady Laura Bush and Henry’s mother, Margaret.

Baby Mila had been due in May, but she came early in April after Jenna went into labor at her baby shower.

“I felt like my stomach was going 'blop blop,' and somebody across me goes, ‘Girl, you’re going to have that baby right now.’ And then it was like, three, two, water break,” she recalled on TODAY in April 2023.

She said Henry went into “panic mode” when he heard her water had broken — although at first, Henry thought Jenna was pranking him.

“Henry thought we were playing a joke on him, because Barbara and I have ganged up on him,” Jenna said.

The couple welcomed a second daughter, Poppy, in 2015

Jenna and Henry’s second daughter, Poppy Louise Hager, was born on Aug. 13, 2015

Poppy was named after Jenna’s grandfather, former President George H.W. Bush, whose nickname growing up was Poppy.

“We are proud to name her after a man we so adore,” Henry told TODAY in 2015. 

Henry also shared that Poppy’s middle name was inspired by the middle names of his and Jenna’s grandmothers, Louise and Lewis.

Poppy, Mila and Henry have joined Jenna before at TODAY.
Poppy, Mila and Henry have joined Jenna before at TODAY. Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Jenna and Henry's third child, Hal, was born in 2019

Jenna and Henry welcomed their third child and first boy, Henry Harold “Hal” Hager, on Aug 2., 2019. 

On Hal’s recent fourth birthday, Jenna shared his birth story on TODAY.

She revealed that she wasn’t allowed to enjoy celebratory treats immediately after Hal’s birth because she'd had a C-section.

“I had Hal for an hour, and my sister arrived with tacos and doughnuts,” Jenna told Hoda, “and the nurse said I wasn’t allowed to eat breakfast tacos and doughnuts.”

Jenna says she also recently told Hal about the details of his birth.

“I FaceTimed him this morning and said, ‘Hal, did you know that in one hour, four years ago, you were cut out of my tummy?’” Jenna shared on TODAY.

Hal was apparently not expecting this news.

“He goes, ‘Cut out of your tummy?’” Jenna said.

“You’re so literal,” Hoda told Jenna, laughing. 

Henry celebrated Jenna’s 40th birthday with a hilarious prank on TODAY

When Jenna celebrated her 40th birthday in 2021, Henry gave her an unforgettable on-air surprise.

In honor of his wife’s milestone birthday, Henry went undercover as an NBC page and asked people on the street what they knew about Jenna — including asking people to guess her age.

One person guessed she was 32, while another person scolded Henry for asking the question in the first place, because “you’re not supposed to ask a lady how old she is.”

“That was tough,” Henry said afterwards of his brief time as an NBC page. “I’m going to get a coffee, warm up and never try this again.”

He also added a sweet message to his wife.

 “Jenna, you’re an amazing anchor. You’re so good at this job,” he said. “I don’t know how you do it. I love you. Happy birthday!”

The couple recently celebrated their 15th anniversary: 'I love him. A lot.'

Jenna and Henry’s love is as strong as ever. 

In May, Jenna celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary with a sweet Instagram post.

Jenna Bush Hager, Henry Hager
Jenna and Henry are more in love than ever.@jennbhager via Instagram

She shared photos from their wedding day, as well as a candid pic of her and Henry riding the subway together, and another cute photo showing them smiling during a boat ride.

“15 years with HH’s hand in mine,” she wrote in the caption. “I love him. A lot.”