Billy Bush Speaks Out About Donald Trump ‘Access Hollywood’ Tape for the First Time

Billy Bush reveals where he’s been, how he’s soul-searched, and where he plans to go after his lewd, 11-year-old discussion with Donald Trump was unearthed by The Washington Post during the 2016 presidential election.

Bush speaks exclusively with The Hollywood Reporter in their May 24 issue about everything that’s happened since the public was exposed to the video in which he entertains the current president’s commentary about grabbing women “by the p***y.” Bush says that he was taking off on a flight from New York to Los Angeles when the news leaked and has only seen the video three times as, each time, it leaves him “totally and completely gutted.”

“Looking back upon what was said on that bus, I wish I had changed the topic,” Bush says with regret. “[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.”

He says that his 15-year-old daughter Mary was the most distraught member of his family after the story went public, asking him, “Why were you laughing at the things that he was saying on that bus, Dad? They weren’t funny.”

“I am not grateful for the moment,” Bush says. “But I’m grateful for what I’ve gotten out of it. I’m grateful that it hit me all the way to my core.”

After he was fired by NBC News the next week, Bush embarked on a reflective journey in the months that followed. He completed The Hoffman Process in Napa, California, which was recommended by his brother, and he spent time with motivational speaker, Tony Robbins. Currently, he’s working to kickstart his career once again and is developing a series that is designed “to show audiences a deeper and more empathetic side to him.”

Bush says that he and NBC agreed that he would be able to issue a personal apology right after the tape was released, but he never had the opportunity to do so. If he could have addressed his audience, he says that he would have told him that he is “deeply embarrassed.”

“I sit before you every morning, and I have on a different show [Access Hollywood Live] many mornings, and I hope you know the person you’re looking at and have developed an opinion about is [the real me],” he says in his hypothetical apology. “You aren’t wrong about that. I am ashamed. Going forward, you can be sure that I will not participate in anything like that. And I will keep my eyes out and do what I can to stop it from happening.”

Bush says that he hasn’t spoken with Trump, who he calls a “provocateur,” after it was announced that he was running for president. Read more about what he has to say about Trump, his character, and the scandal over on THR.com.