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Jenna Bush Hager Tears Up Over Video Messages From Her Parents During 'Today' Debut

Posted on 22 March, 2019 by Carlotta
85 out of 100 based on 612 user ratings

Jenna Bush Hager Tears Up Over Video Messages From Her Parents During 'Today' Debut

Jenna Bush Hager is finally stepping into Kathie Lee Gifford's shoes!

On Monday, Bush Hager made her debut as Hoda Kotb's co-host on Today With Hoda & Jenna, the newly-titled fourth hour of the morning show.

Bush Hager's co-hosting gig comes after Gifford departed the show on Friday, marking 11 years on Today with an extravagant goodbye show that featured a cruise for all audience members, a performance by Barry Manilow and appearance by John Cena.

The episode began with Kotb and Bush Hager hanging out in their dressing room with Kotb jokingly asking, "Am I supposed to be the calming force?" before the duo made their way down a hallway lined with photos of themselves to start their first show.

Once they made their way out to the new set, Kotb and Bush Hager revealed their new pre-show catchphrase -- "Let's go, y'all!" -- and debuted their personalized wine glasses.

Bush Hager revealed that she spent the night before her big day out with her husband, Henry Hager, and was getting ready for bed until she unexpectedly discovered the show's new Instagram page, which made her "really hyper."

"And then Henry said he was about to tranquilize me and then I fell asleep," she quipped.

The special show continued with sweet video messages from Bush Hager's parents, former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush.

"Hey Jenna, your old dad here on film to tell you how much I love and how proud I am of you," the former president said. "I know you'll do a fabulous job."

Her mom added that she's "so proud" of her daughter. Both videos made Bush Hager cry and exclaim, "Is this what's going to happen? Am I just going to cry all the time?"

She also revealed that her dad had texted her that morning to say, "You go, girl. You've got them, girl. Very proud dad."

Bush Hager's twin, Barbara Bush, also sent a sweet video message for her sister's first day.

"To me, being born a twin was the luckiest thing because our day-to-day was very normal, but we were obviously born into circumstances that were pretty unusual," she said. "So it was incredible to have someone to walk through life with. She had a huge imagination, which made our lives so much fun because we then created this imaginary world together."

"I'm so proud of my sister and I'm so excited for her on this new adventure," she continued. "I'm thrilled that she and Hoda will get to work together because Jenna is such a good sister to me, but, in many ways, such a good sister to her colleagues and friends."

Bush Hager's friends described her as the "class clown," "very smart," "mischievous" and "fun," while one of her former students called her "caring."

Additionally, her husband told the story of Bush Hager proposing to him right after he said, "I love you" after two months together. 

Meanwhile her daughters -- Margaret, 5, and Poppy, 3 -- declared, "Congratulations, mommy, on your new show! Can we be in it?"

Following the messages, Bush Hager's husband and kids came out to surprise their mom with red roses. "I'm a wreck," Bush Hager admitted through tears following the surprise.

Ahead of her very first day of co-hosting, both Bush Hager and Kotb took to Instagram to express their excitement.

"OMG. THIS is happening. I couldn’t be more honored and thrilled to be a part of something new," Bush Hager, 37, wrote alongside a photo of her and Kotb. "And yes, excited... and nervous in the most beautiful way. Oh, and I get to sit next to the force that is @hodakotb!"

Bush Hager concluded her caption with some hilarious hashtags, writing, "#PleaseLetMeSleep #AlreadyInBedAndSawThis #ScreamedAndWokeUpHusband"

Meanwhile, Kotb, 54, shared a quote that read, "And so the adventure begins." In the caption, she dedicated the post to Bush Hager.

"Hey, @jennabhager! This quote is for you xoxo happy Monday," she wrote.

Bush Hager was named Gifford's replacement back in February, but even before it was official, Hager was the favorite for the job.

"It would mean... it would be great," Bush Hager told ET prior to landing the gig. "I feel like I have the best job. I get to sit next to these incredible humans, I get to travel the world and meet incredible people who are doing extraordinary things and so we'll see. We'll see."  

Once Bush Hager was officially announced, Kotb couldn't help but gush over her new co-host. "Jenna is full of depth and wisdom and humor," Kotb told ET last month of the former first daughter. "For a person who spent her life in front of [the world], she's so strangely down to earth."

"I'm so excited, not for just me but for everybody, to learn more and more about her," she added.

Though Kotb admitted that the show would certainly be different without Gifford, she said that it would be no less special.

"Pretend like you were dating someone for 11 years and it ended amicably, and then all of a sudden you started dating someone else," she said. "You're not gonna go to the same restaurants or talk about the same things or, you know, you'll make it different, but I think you have to figure out what that is by being together."

"So I think, as we go through it together, we'll figure out where are magic moments are," she added.

Some things, though, will always stay the same.

"The wine has to stay! I mean it's a party, it will always be a party," Kotb exclaimed. "I mean, things will change but the wine will stay."

Watch the video below for more on Bush Hager.

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