Published:

6:52 AM PDT, October 10, 2023

Jenna Bush Hager, co-host of Today With Hoda & Jenna, found herself in hot water after a playful on-air discussion about her fondness for men who read books took an unexpected turn. The incident occurred during a prerecorded episode of the popular morning show on Monday.

During the segment, Hager and her co-host, Hoda Kotb, candidly shared their appreciation for men who read, describing it as an attractive quality. The conversation seemed lighthearted until Hager, who has been married to Henry Hager for 15 years, made a comment that raised eyebrows.

“It’s hot,” Kotb, 59, remarked when discussing the appeal of seeing a man engrossed in a book.

Hager, 41, concurred with her co-host’s sentiment, jokingly claiming that she becomes “dehydrated” when she encounters a man reading. However, things took an unexpected turn when Kotb posed a hypothetical scenario.

“OK, you see a man with a book sitting on a park bench in Central Park reading, what is the first thing you’re thinking?” Kotb asked.

Hager quickly added, “If they have little eyeglasses too, just sitting reading, and if they’re reading something I respect? I mean that could be a means for an affair.”

Realizing the gravity of her comment and the potential misinterpretation, the mother of three immediately backtracked, emphasizing that she was only joking. “I would never,” she reiterated, “Henry and I are very happy, and he reads.” Kotb questioned why Hager was getting “defensive” about the comment.

Hager admitted, “Because I shouldn’t have said that! I went too far.”

After the awkward moment, the duo quickly shifted the conversation away from Hager’s personal preferences and instead gushed over several celebrities, including Ryan Reynolds and Michael B. Jordan, who have been photographed with books. They both agreed that a lack of interest in reading would be a “turn-off” in a potential partner.

Jenna and Henry have been married since May 2008, having met during her father, George W. Bush’s, presidential campaign in 2004. The couple shares three children together: daughters Margaret “Mila” Laura, 10, and Poppy Louise, 8, and son, Hal, 4.

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