Billy Bush is getting extremely candid about the infamous Donald Trump scandal that cost him both his career as a journalist and seemingly his marriage, revealing in a new interview that he felt the “ultimate degradation” after losing his job with NBC amid the drama that hit the headlines across the globe back in 2016.
After the tapes — in which the Guardian reported the current president bragged about groping women during a past interview with Billy for Access Hollywood — first surfaced in October 2016, Bush told People in a new cover feature this week that he was left feeling “ashamed and embarrassed” about the whole situation.
Speaking about being fired by NBC from his position as a co-host on the popular morning show Today, Billy told the outlet this week that he “went through stages of grieving” following the scandal after his job and marriage both dissolved. “I lost my career. For a man, that’s the ultimate degradation.”
“I was a happy-go-lucky guy,” Billy then continued of his life before the scandal become international news. “Everything is going great and I was like, ‘Hey, this is awesome!’ And then, kaboom.”
Billy also told the site in the candid new interview that he’s now taken responsibility for his role in the scandal, calling his decision to not call out Trump for his remarks at the time “bystander abuse.”
“By not doing anything you are endorsing the moment. I have to live with that,” Bush — who claimed during the interview that he was still “hopeful” he would reconcile with his wife — told People.
As for what he’s been doing during the 15-months since he lost his job at Today — and four months after he confirmed in a statement to People that he and wife Sydney Davis had separated after almost 20-years together — Bush claimed that he’s been doing a whole lot of reflecting on his life and has been working on himself both professionally and personally.
The former Access Hollywood host revealed that he’d done a lot of “self-help work” recently, which includes bible readings after staying mainly out of the spotlight over the past few months.
“I did so much exploring and figuring out,” he continued in the new interview about his new life post-scandal.
Bush then adding that he now believes he’s a “deeper person” because of the controversy that plagued 2016 and is “happy about using my knowledge for a good purpose.”
Billy previously spoke out about the scandal last year, telling The Hollywood Reporter that seeing the tapes in which Trump could allegedly be heard saying that he grabbed women “by the p***y” had left him feeling “gutted.”
Bush also claimed at the time that he wished he had changed the subject during his interview with the businessman during the piece for Access Hollywood but said he wasn’t strong enough to take control of the situation.
“Looking back upon what was said on that bus, I wish I had changed the topic,” Bush said in May 2017. “[Trump] liked TV and competition. I could’ve said, ‘Can you believe the ratings on whatever?’ But I didn’t have the strength of character to do it.”