Skip to Content

Happy birthday to Barbara Bush!!  The former first lady is celebrating her 90th birthday today!

In an interview with her granddaughter Jenna Bush Hager on the Today show, Barbara shared her secret to graceful aging.

Barbara Bush Birthday

"You’re known for your pearls," Jenna remarked to her grandmother.

"The pearls are to cover the wrinkles, which they no longer do," she said. "You can’t wear pearls all over your face,” Mrs. Bush joked.

Barbara is known for aging without shame.  She divulged why she never dyed her hair:

"I wanted to play golf, I wanted to play tennis, I wanted to swim. And my hair turned, as I’m sure someone else will tell you, orange, green, yellow, depending upon how much chlorine in the pool. So I decided to go white." 

To celebrate her big nine-oh, she is re-releasing her 1994 memoir, Barbara Bush: A Memoir, which features forwards from each of her five children.

In his foreword, her oldest son, former President George W. Bush, detailed her as a fearless and quick-witted women who taught him how to “love, love, and laugh.”

He wrote, "Mom has a sharp and quick wit. She is not afraid to speak her mind. She is self-deprecating.”

"She can spot a phony before most. She deflated the pompous and arrogant. She is a pro at putting people at ease because she herself is at ease." 

George’s younger brother and former Florida governor Jeb Bush called his mother a “national treasure” who taught him the art of being a good parent and instilled a love of reading.

He also told the audience Barbara’s family nickname: the Enforcer.

"God help you if she ever caught you acting arrogant," Jeb stated. "You would get that Barbara Bush look and then you would be hit with her very quick and sharp wit that would put you in your place." 

When Jenna brought up “the Enforcer” in the interview, Barbara laughed. She responded, "If you do something bad, I point it out to you.”

Barbara also reminded Jenna that she defended her when she was a little girl: "I stood up for you when you stuck your tongue out at all the press.”

In addition to sticking up for little girls behaving badly at the White House, Barbara is known for her maternal and caring nature. Her son Neil Bush explained how she helped him when he struggled with reading as a child.

"Mom felt my pain and worked hard to find a diagnosis and solution. She stood by me, lifted my spirits, helped me find joy in things I did well, and made sure my life wasn’t mired in self-doubt," he wrote. 

Barbara Bush’s Foundation for Family Literacy was inspired by Neil’s later dyslexia diagnosis.

The foundation is a non-profit organization that advocates for literacy across America.  Even at 90-years-old, Mrs. Bush still does work for the organization.

The Foundation for Family Literacy will be holding a 90th birthday bash for the former first lady.

The only things Barbara might love more than reading are her children and husband. Speaking about her husband, she told Jenna, "I could hardly breathe, I thought he was so beautiful.”

Several of her children have commented about their parents’ 70-year marriage and devotion to each other.

"No doubt her number one love was Dad," George W. Bush wrote in his foreword, calling his father "the love of [his mother’s] life." 

Her youngest son, Marvin Bush wrote, “Growing up, we had a front row seat at one of the greatest love stories that ever existed. My parents can’t get enough of each other.”

“Their love has grown stronger with each passing year. They laugh at each other’s goofy jokes, hold hands when no one is around, and generally look at each other like teenagers in love,” he added.

In fact, just this past November, George and Barbara Bush were caught on a kiss camera.

Barbara’s only daughter, Doro Bush, added that her mother is dedicated to caring for her ailing husband, who is confined to a wheelchair due to Parkinson’s disease. 

"While his memory is fading, his love of others, especially my mom, is powerful," Doro writes, "and Mom does everything she can to color his world."