Jenna Bush Hager Begins First Day of “Today” Show With Special Surprises From Her Famous Family


Just hours before she would take a seat alongside Hoda Kotb for the first episode of Today with Hoda & Jenna on Monday (April 8,) Jenna Bush Hager headed to her Instagram page to share her excitement and nervousness with her fans.

“OMG. THIS is happening,” she wrote on Sunday (April 7.) “I couldn’t be more honored and thrilled to be a part of something new. And yes, excited and nervous in the most beautiful way. Oh, and I get to sit next to the force that is Hoda Kotb!”

But yes, it ended up being a long night for the television co-host.

“I got in bed and I was calm,” she recalled on Monday. “[Husband] Henry and I went out for a date night. I got on Instagram right before bed and I saw our new Instagram page. At first, I was like, ‘My head looks huge!’ But then I got over that. And I just screamed and I woke him up. Then I got really hyper. And Henry said he was about to tranquilize me, and then I feel asleep.”

[RELATED: Jenna Bush Hager To Replace Kathie Lee Gifford on “TODAY” with Hoda Kotb]

Fans will recall that on Friday (April 5,) long time Today co-host Kathie Lee Gifford said goodbye to the post that she had held for 11 years. Once on set though, Hager seemed to get more comfortable with the idea of filling the shoes of the broadcasting giant, especially when her family came to surprise her on set.

The show also included welcome greetings to Hager from a slew of loved ones, including her dad and former President George W. Bush, mom Laura Bush, mother-in-law Margaret Hager and a special message from sister Barbara.

[RELATED: Jenna Bush Hager Returns to “Today” Following Grandfather George H.W. Bush’s Death]

“I’m so proud of Jenna. I never would have expected her life to roll out this way,” her sister Barbra said. “She was a teacher when we graduated from college and that was her path. I’m so proud that she had the courage to pursue a different career path and say yes to something that wasn’t comfortable for her at the beginning because it was unexpected. Look how far she’s come. It’s so incredible to me that she has found her voice and loves using it. She shows her real self every single morning, which is wonderful.”