Billy Bush has opened up about how he ‘drank a lot of alcohol’ after being ousted by NBC over his infamous 2005 Access Hollywood interview with Donald Trump, saying ‘the bottle became my bestie.’
In 2016, the television host was fired from the Today show — two months after he was hired — in the flurry of the presidential election after a tape emerged of him laughing at Trump boasting that he could ‘grab’ women ‘by the p***y.’
Bush, 50, reportedly received all of his $10 million payout and retreated out of the public eye while Trump went on to win the White House.
‘I think it took me ’til recently, probably four years, to really, you know, four or five years to really get… through the PTSD,’ he told Olivia Jade Giannulli, 22, on the latest episode of her podcast, ‘Conversations With Olivia Jade.’
Billy Bush opened up about the fallout from his infamous Donald Trump interview on the latest episode of Olivia Giannulli’s podcast, ‘Conversations With Olivia Jade’
Bush, 50, told Giannulli, 22, he ‘drank a lot of alcohol’ before he started focusing on self-improvement, saying it took him about four years to get through the PTSD
In 2016, a tape emerged of Bush laughing at Trump boasting that he could ‘grab’ women ‘by the p***y’ during a 2005 Access Hollywood interview
‘Because it’s brutal, I’m providing for my family. I have a livelihood, you know? And all of a sudden you’re unhirable for three years in the business that you love.’
Giannulli’s family is close with Bush, whom she described as a ‘dear friend’ at the start of the episode. The influencer, who is no stranger to public disgrace, explained that she wanted to hear his advice about being in the entertainment industry.
Bush recalled how he first turned to alcohol and then later self-improvement in the years following his public reckoning.
‘Well, first I drank a lot of alcohol. Very hard. The bottle became my bestie. Then I put it down and just started figuring, OK,’ he said, noting that he had about 30 books on a shelf behind him while they recorded the podcast.
‘I’ve read every one of them. They were all in the self-help area,’ he explained. ‘I went to a retreat for 10 days in northern California. No phones, no electronics. Just about trying to get the first foot forward again, get walking again. Went to Tony Robbins. I mean, I did everything I possibly could.
Bush (pictured with Al Roker, James Spader, and Tamron Hall in 2016) was fired from the Today show, two months after he was hired, and retreated out of the public eye
The television host (pictured on What Happens Live with Andy Cohen in 2014) said ‘the bottle became my bestie’ as he struggled with his ousting
Bush said he read a number of self-help books and went on a 10-day retreat in northern California that banned electronics while working on himself
‘In the end, it just takes time. And what you really want to do is own your own stuff.’
Giannulli suffered her own fall from grace in 2019 after it was revealed her parents, Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli, paid $500,000 to get her and her older sister Bella into the University of Southern California under false pretenses by claiming they were rowing recruits.
Both her mother and father served time in prison for their involvement in Operation Varsity Blues, a massive nationwide scandal that involved 33 parents, while she was dropped by major brands, including Sephora and TRESemme.
Bush said he felt she could relate to his story because she understands what it is like to hit rock bottom and how that changes you.
‘The best thing for me, I finally realized, is to own my faults, own my role, own accountability for me and let everyone else, whatever they did, let them do that for themselves. Or if they’re not going to, fine. I can only be responsible for myself,’ he said.
‘I had a couple of frank conversations with my girls,’ he said of his daughters, Josie, 23, Mary Bradley, 21, Lillie, 17. ‘They know who I am’
Bush admitted that when he interviewed Trump in 2005, he was ‘a desperate little guy’ and ‘a suck-up whose lips were numb from kissing celebrity a**’
Bush (pictured with Kristin Cavallari in 2020) returned to television as the host of Extra in 2019 after replacing Mario Lopez, who ironically left the show to host Access Hollywood
‘And, frankly, in the end, I’ll tell you what it gave me. It gave me a tremendous blessing, and that is — and you can relate to this — there is a lot of value in knowing what it feels like to be down.
‘It makes you approach other people in a different way. It makes you think twice before you cast judgment on someone. It makes you kinda have a more open heart to other people, cause everybody’s going through something. We all suffer.’
Bush has three daughters — Josie, 23, Mary Bradley, 21, Lillie, 17 — with his ex-wife Sydney Davis.
They announced their separation in September 2017, nearly a year after his Access Hollywood scandal, and they divorced in July 2018, citing irreconcilable differences.
Giannulli had her own fall from grace in 2019 after it was revealed her parents, Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli, paid $500,000 to get her into the University of Southern California
Her parents claimed she and her older sister Bella were were rowing recruits as part of their bid to bribe their way into the prestigious school
Giannulli’s mother and father (pictured in 2019) both served time in prison for their involvement in Operation Varsity Blues, a massive nationwide scandal
Giannulli wanted to know how Bush’s firing affected his relationship with his family, and he explained that the main challenge was that he was ‘despondent.’
‘I had a couple of frank conversations with my girls. They know who I am. They also know that back then, 12 years before, that there was a desperate little guy that wanted to make it in the business, who was young and naïve and a suck-up whose lips were numb from kissing celebrity a**,’ he said.
‘But, of course, that’s what we want to embrace is evolution. At the time I was fired, I was a completely different man. I was not a boy, I was a man. I was a man. I controlled the set.
‘I’m on the Today show. I’m that guy that people walk in and say, “Oh, I grew up watching you with my mom” or something, and you’re a different person in the room, right?
‘You have a different weight in the room,’ he added. ‘I couldn’t have been a lighter weight back at that moment. So I think it’s, you know, I think it’s important that we let people evolve. We let people screw up. We embrace failure again.’
Gianulli (pictured with her parents at her high school graduation) was a successful YouTuber and influencer at the time, but she was dropped by major brands after the scandal broke
Giannulli made her official return to YouTube in January 2021 (pictured) after staying out of the public eye for a year
In September, she was announced as one of the celebrities competing on season 30 of Dancing With the Stars. She and her partner Val Chmerkovskiy came in eighth place
Bush returned to television as the host of Extra in 2019 after replacing Mario Lopez, who ironically left the show to host Access Hollywood.
‘I just had served my time, depending on how you feel,’ he said of the moment he realized he had done enough self-work and was ready to move on.
‘Extra was…they needed a captain, a host for the show, and I don’t think anyone would ever say that I wasn’t good at my job.’
Giannulli had a similar comeback, starting with her official return to YouTube in January 2021 after a year-long hiatus in the wake of the college admissions scandal.
In September, she was announced as one of the celebrities competing on season 30 of Dancing With the Stars. She and her partner Val Chmerkovskiy came in eighth place.
Giannulli’s new iHeartRadio podcast premiered in October and guests have included her sister Bella and fellow Dancing With the Stars contestant Amanda Kloots.