Former First Lady Laura Bush Turned Jenna Bush Hager’s Sweet 16 ‘Awkward’ After Inviting Both Her Ex and Boyfriend

Today with Hoda & Jenna host Jenna Bush Hager opened up about her experience with one of her parent’s “creative” birthday surprises.

During Tuesday’s episode, Bush Hager, 41, and co-host Hoda Kotb chatted about their experiences with surprise birthday parties.

“I had a surprise party for my 16th birthday, me and Barbara,” Bush Hager recalled of the milestone occasion shared with her fraternal twin sister Barbara Bush. “We had one together and it was a pancake breakfast, which was cute.”

The Everything Beautiful in Its Time: Seasons of Love and Loss author noted that her parents, former President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, were “creative birthday party planners” who convinced her and Barbara they were going to head to school early to get their driver’s licenses as part of their sweet 16th birthday celebrations.

“Today” co-hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager discussed surprise parties on Aug. 29.

Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty

“We were going to kiss my dad goodbye for school, my mom was like, ‘Go in and tell Dad goodbye,’ ” Bush Hager recalled. “And we walked in and all of our friends were sitting there.”

“My parents were very creative birthday people, which was fun,” she said. “But then it gets kind of awkward because it’s like [they have] the old boyfriend sitting next to the new boyfriend.”

Kotb, 59, asked incredulously, “They invited both boyfriends?” before adding in disbelief, “Your parents are wild.”

laura george and jenna bush

Bush Hager seemed to enjoy her parents Laura Bush and George W. Bush’s “creative” surprises.
Nathan Congleton/NBC

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In August, the mother-of-three told PEOPLE about the “absolute best blessing” she experienced when it came to growing up in the public eye, revealing that having the “grace to fail” helped her to navigate her difficult teenage years into adulthood.

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“I had parents that really supported us and never made us feel bad about mistakes that we made,” Bush Hager said. “But yeah, it wasn’t easy. And yet I’m so thankful for all of it.”

Bush Hager and Barbara were 7 years old when their grandfather, President George H.W. Bush, was sworn in as U.S. president. When they were 13, their father became the governor of Texas.

Jenna Bush Hager (L) and Henry Chase Hager attend 'A Candid Conversation with Jane Fonda and Andy Cohen' benefitting the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention

Bush Hager, pictured with her husband Henry Chase Hager, recalled her “awkward” sweet 16th that an ex-boyfriend attended.
Gary Gershoff/WireImage

The relentless attention Bush Hager received during her young adulthood was difficult to weather but was made easier through the unwavering support of her family, which includes her husband Henry Chase Hager, daughters Mila, 10, and Poppy, 8, and son Hal, 4.

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“I think the world was expecting us to be perfect, even though our parents did not, which is the absolute best blessing that they could have ever given us. The freedom to just be ourselves and to make mistakes,” Bush Hager told PEOPLE. “Because I don’t know how I would be a mother without having the grace to fail. I think kids, teenagers are so scared of making mistakes now.”

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