Where Is Billy Bush Now?

Billy Bush saw his life and career change forever in October 2016 when a video of him engaging in "locker room talk" with now-President Donald Trump leaked to The Washington Post. The video, recorded in 2005 during an interview for Bush's then-stint at Access Hollywood, featured Trump being crude and lewd in a conversation about women, including Nancy O'Dell, and featured the now infamous "grab 'em by the p***y" line.

The stark contrast in the aftermaths for Bush and Trump was astonishing: Trump went on to be elected the leader of the free world, while Bush became a pariah, fired from his job at Today and deprived of a platform with which to explain himself. The one-time anchor spoke out for the first time in May 2017 about the incident and what his plans are moving forward.

He's likely persona non grata at NBC ...

A source told Page Six that Bush peeved his NBC colleagues by boasting about the tape before its release. "Billy was bragging about the tape to other NBC staff while in Rio [de Janeiro, Brazil, for the Olympics]. If he knew about the tape, and remembered the full extent of such an explosive conversation with a presidential candidate and didn't disclose that to NBC News, that is a very, very serious problem." The source added that it may have been a potential violation of the company's morality clause.

Another insider said, "It is not clear if Billy remembered the exact level of vulgarity in the conversation with Trump, or if he instead realized its news value and didn't declare it to protect himself." Other network insiders were furious that Bush didn't defend Nancy O'Dell, fuming, "There is concern that Bush didn't defend his female co-worker. Instead, he appears to encourage that type of talk about her."

... and his ousting may have been premeditated

Some insiders believe that NBC brass actually orchestrated the leak of the tape, which would further suggest that Bush won't ever be welcomed back at the network.

"The tape was leaked by the NBC News division, by somebody at the Today," a source told Page Six. "NBC News knew for a while about the existence of the tape. Billy himself had told them about it. People in the news division became frustrated that Access Hollywood was taking too long to air it and decided it had to come out." 

Another source added, "The leaked tape served a dual purpose: It helped get Bush out of the way — Matt Lauer didn't like him and felt he was a liability — and NBC thought it would derail Trump. But all it did was crush Billy, and, ironically, his own network was behind it ... The leak was not just a political move. Lauer felt threatened." 

"There was no investigation, no internal witch hunt by NBC into who leaked the tape. It served their purposes,"  said a different source, with another adding: "The leak did not come from Today. It was leaked by somebody on the West Coast who hated Billy Bush and wanted to take him down." Lauer also denied involvement in the leak.

Bush wishes it never happened — and knew he was at risk

Bush told The Hollywood Reporter in May 2017 that he was "totally and completely gutted" when the tape leaked. "Looking back upon what was said on that bus, I wish I had changed the topic," he said, reportedly holding back tears. "[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 also confirmed that "plenty of people" at NBC were aware of the tape's existence, but that he never told anyone about it who didn't already know of it.

He thinks the incident may have made him a better man

Bush also told The Hollywood Reporter that while he's not grateful for the tape nor the scandal that resulted, he is admittedly "grateful for what I've gotten out of it" "I'm grateful that it hit me all the way to my core," he said.

"I had to turn this into a positive. Robin Roberts' mother has this quote, 'Make your mess your message.' And so I have that opportunity," he continued. "I've come out of this with a deeper understanding of how women can connect to the feeling of having to fight extra hard for an even playing field ...When a woman watches that tape — and this is what really hit me — they may be asking themselves, 'Is that what happens when I walk out of a room? When I walk out of a meeting, is that what they're saying about me? Are they sizing me up?' I can't live with that." 

"If a moment like that arose again, I would shut it down quickly," he insisted. "I am in the women-raising business, exclusively. I have three daughters — Mary, Lillie, Josie — and I care very much about the world and the people they encounter."

He may have gone through marital troubles

In October 2016, an NBC insider told Page Six that Bush's own wife, Sydney Davis, was livid about the leaked tape, "not just because of what was said, but because he was stupid enough to put himself in that position."

"It wasn't just the ... vile talk, it's because he insisted the woman hug him and Trump," the source said. "It was creepy. She was so furious that she refused to speak with him for a while — and she's still furious. They are having marriage problems. He didn't apologize to her for the embarrassment he caused in his statement. And she hasn't released a statement at all."

The source added, "Billy has brought this on himself. He's blown his big chance at Today, and he doesn't have his old job at Access [Hollywood] to fall back on. He fears his career is over. His wife is angered that he has embarrassed her and their daughters."

He upset his daughters

Bush confessed on Good Morning America that his daughters, especially 16-year-old Mary, were upset with his behavior. "My now-16-year-old daughter called me and she was in tears and she was really upset, and I said, 'Mary, it's going to be OK. Don't worry,'" Bush said. "And she said, 'No, why were you laughing at the things that he was saying on that bus? Why were you playing along with that? It wasn't funny.' And I said, 'Mary, I'm sorry and there is no good answer for that.'"

An alt-right outlet was interested in hiring him

Breitbart News reportedly was eyeing Bush for a job in November 2016. "They are trying to recruit Billy Bush," a source told Page Six at the time. "They want to expand covering Hollywood in a big way — and think Billy would be perfect for the job." Breitbart News was co-founded by President Donald Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon. 

However, an insider claimed he'd never go from something so big to something so small. "Billy's ego is big. He likes to be a TV star, and would want to go to a rival like ABC or CBS."

He considered 'Dancing With The Stars'

A source told Radar Online that Bush was "begging to be cast on Season 24" of Dancing With The Stars. "Billy said he would be willing to take a pay cut, and take a sum much lower than the other contestants," the source said. 

The insider added, however, that it wasn't likely to happen soon, noting, "The higher ups are tired of having celebs want to join DWTS as a way of doing damage control. A lot of them are also sick of having contestants who want to be cast as a way of reviving their broken career, which is exactly what they believe Billy is trying to do!"

He had a spiritual awakening

Bush told The Hollywood Reporter that he went on spiritual retreats to try to get centered again after losing his job.

"Over the holidays, I said, 'I'm just depressed, bloated and miserable. I need to get up and get better.' So it was my brother's recommendation to go through The Hoffman Process in Napa, California," Bush recalled. "It's not glamorous. It was seven days — no phones, no communication ... For 13 hours a day, it's a study on your life and your negative patterns. At one point, you're on your knees with a baseball bat and a pillow in front of you, and you are literally bashing these negative patterns that you've identified in your life. For me, one was judginess."

"I look back three years ago, doing Access Hollywood Live, and some story would come up, and I'd be like, 'Oh, these people, these celebrities, how can they not ba-ba-ba-ba whatever.' So that became the moment of real awakening, and it went on from there. I've done everything."

He had a semi-public moment of clarity

Part of Bush's healing process also involved spending time with self-help guru Tony Robbins.

"I attended his seminar. There was a powerful moment with Tony in front of 9,000 people at the Galen Center [in L.A.]. He walked to the end of the stage, and he pointed at me in the middle of his thing, and he said, 'One moment in your life does not define who you are.' And the camera hit me, and these people started applauding — it was a little overwhelming but really empowering," Bush told The Hollywood Reporter

"Later that night, we walked on fire together: 12 feet over 2,200-degree coals," he continued. "And I've done a lot of reading. I'm reading a book now called The Power Of Now, by Eckhart Tolle. I've gotten into a lot of meditation and yoga. Mindfulness meditation is a powerful thing."

He's eager to get back to work ...

Bush would like to get back in the TV game, but he is taking his time. As explained to The Hollywood Reporter, "In the beginning, your instinct is, 'Hey, I need to get back, the train is leaving. I need to ...' But that would not have been a good idea. There's a process that needs to take place because you just can't come back; it has to have changed you in some way." 

'But I plan to return to the job that I love, which is television, communicating, interviewing people," he explained. "I have changed in a way that I think will make me better at my job. I believe there will be more people like me in crisis. And with social media, a flame becomes a bonfire quickly. So I will be picking up my pen and writing them and calling them on the phone, and I will pursue these interviews and these moments with these people. And through what I've learned and where I've been, I will tell them, 'You have empathetic ears in me.'"

... but on his own terms

No matter what happens, don't expect Bush to get silly on camera immediately.

"One thing I learned at The Hoffman Process is that I've always relied on my charm and my quick wit and all that, but I've kept my depth in the shadows, and I was heading in that direction in my latest phase of my career [at Today], and I'm going to return to that place because there's a lot of wisdom to learn from a lot of people," he explained to The Hollywood Reporter. "There are a lot of interviews I'd like to conduct, and I'm committed to that. I'm not just going to ride around in a rickshaw through the streets of New York picking up strangers and having funny moments with them." 

"There must be more depth to what I do," he added. "I have something in development ... that takes what people know of me to a smarter level and, with the perspective gained in the last seven months, a drive to pursue deeper, more pivotal interviews."