Jenna Bush Hager Recalls ‘Rage’ She Felt Over Family Disagreement in Early Marriage

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Jenna Bush Hager on the 'Today' show on Nov. 7, 2023

When compromising in a relationship, accepting an old item from a partner’s childhood bedroom takes things too far for Jenna Bush Hager.

Earlier this week on NBC’s Today with Hoda & Jenna, the TV personality and former first daughter recalled an argument from the early days of her marriage to her husband, Henry Hager, while talking about relationship compromise. But the argument was not with Henry—it was with Hager’s mother-in-law, whom Hager was quick to say she loves “so much.”

Shortly into her marriage with Henry, Hager said his mother handed her a poster of a basketball player that Henry had loved when he was younger. Hager said she was instructed to hang the poster in her own home as a kind gesture for her new husband.

“I had some sort of rage that came,” Hager told her co-host, Hoda Kotb. “I said, ‘Well I don’t like that poster. And I’m not going to hang that on my wall.’ I mean, I full-out said it.”

When she received push-back from her mother-in-law, Hager stood firm.

"I said, ‘No I will not. This should stay in your home, in his childhood bedroom, where basketball posters go to die.’”

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Hager and Henry have been married since 2008. They have three daughters together. More than a decade into their marriage, Hager said she now realizes her mother-in-law was “just trying to teach me the ways of marriage,” but her reaction at the time was, “Not in this marriage.”

“I don’t know where that poster is, but it isn’t in my home,” she added.

Hager’s conversation with Kotb was inspired by a related discussion about relationship compromise that actor Matthew McConaughey and his wife, Camila Alves, had recently during a shared appearance on the Your Mama’s Kitchen podcast. Both Hager and Kotb agreed with one of the takeaways from the podcast episode, throwing their support behind the strategy of leaning on simple routines to get through an argument instead of giving one’s partner the cold shoulder.

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