Former TODAY Show anchor Billy Bush is speaking out about how he felt following his termination from NBC. The network fired the talk show host in 2016 following a resurfacing of old tapes including a conversation he had with President Donald Trump.
The 47-year-old television personality — who most notably spent more than a decade as host of NBC’s entertainment news program Access Hollywood before his short stint at NBC’s morning program — said he had thought about considering suicide after he was ousted from TODAY. He talked about the situation in an interview with The Daily Beast,
“I’d never seriously do it — because I have children that matter. But when you’re really low — and this is important to include — you’re emoting at the most extreme. But I’m never ever a serious candidate for that. I would not, could not do that to those who count on me and love me and need me. Absolutely not.”
Although he said he did not previously believe he had a problem with drinking alcohol, the former TODAY anchor, who was fired by the network in October 2016, said he began to self medicate following his termination. He said he regularly felt “numb.”
As The Daily Beast noted, Bush was fired by the network after a 2005 tape resurfaced from Bush’s time on Access Hollywood with then reality star and current president Donald Trump. Trump was heard making inappropriate and misogynistic comments about women, and a 33-year-old Bush could be heard laughing along as the president talked about grabbing women’s genitals.
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) September 6, 2019
While Bush was fired by the network for his participation in the tape, Trump would notably go on to win his current seat in the Oval Office about a month later. As The Daily Beast noted, Bush held his position hosting the 9 a.m. hour of TODAY for just about two months before he was terminated by the network. Bush said the gig at TODAY was his dream job.
The entertainment news personality also commented on a slew of other hot-topic issues, including the #MeToo movement and former Sen. Al Franken’s resignation from the U.S. Senate last year following pressure from his colleagues after he faced allegations of sexual assault. Bush told the online news outlet that he believed Franken was “sacrificed” and that he felt sorry for the former lawmaker.
The interview comes as Bush prepares to make his return to television following his three-year hiatus. The former NBC reporter will soon start his role as anchor of pop culture newsmagazine show, Extra.
Extra premieres September 8 in a revamped version of the long-running show, per Time.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.