Patti Davis, Nancy Reagan’s Daughter: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

patti davis

Patti Davis was wilder and rebellious until she realized her father was dying. She ended years of estrangement to help her parents. (Getty)

Patricia Reagan (Patti Davis) is Ronald and Nancy’s Reagan’s daughter. Born in 1952 in Los Angeles, Patti has always been a bit of a wild child with a rebellious streak. She was very politically active for issues against her father. In addition, she posed nude for two different magazines at two different points in her life. But after a long estrangement, Patti put all the bad blood behind her when her dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She and Nancy have been very close over these last few years.

Here’s what you need to know.


1. Patti Davis Spoke Out Against Her Parents on Multiple Occasions

LOS ANGELES - DECEMBER 13: Former first lady Nancy Reagan and daughter Patti Davis arrive at the premiere of "Peter Pan" at the Chinese Theater on December 13, 2003 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Former first lady Nancy Reagan and daughter Patti Davis arrive at the premiere of “Peter Pan” at the Chinese Theater on December 13, 2003. (Getty)

Patti Davis, much like her brother Ron and her father, was never afraid to speak her mind for what she believed in. She often campaigned against her father’s conservative values. While he was in office, she was heavily involved in anti-nuclear activism. At one point, things were so intense that Patti was estranged from Nancy and Ronald for nearly 20 years. It wasn’t until her dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s that Patti patched things up with both her parents. From that point on, she was there for both of them. After her dad’s death, Patti called her mom every day and visited her every Sunday, Vanity Fair reported.

This interview from Between the Lines, from 2014, shows Patti talking about her relationship with her mother and her book, “The Lives Our Mothers Leave Us”:


2. She Struggled With Drug Addiction and Considered Her Playboy Photoshoot Her ‘Victory Lap’ Back Into Health

patti davis

Patti Davis attends the 14th annual Hollywood Reporter Women In Entertainment Power 100 breakfast December 6, 2005 at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. (Getty)

From around 15 to her late 20s, Patti struggled with drug addiction. After a lot of hard work, she freed herself of the addiction and was determined to become healthy again. She told Daily Mail that she considered her Playboy photoshoot her “victory lap” after overcoming drug addiction and it had nothing to do with spiting her parents. When she was addicted to drugs, her body became wasted and her muscles were thin and barely visible. She wanted to get her health back. She had a clear idea of what she wanted to become, but she had a long way to go. She saw a nude image of bodybuilder Lisa Lyon and resolved to be like that one day.

I thought, someday I want to feel that I deserve to pose nude like that. Not yet, but someday.”

She was 42 when she posed nude for Playboy and most models were half her age in 1994. But she had reached her goal and was proud, despite the image she was giving off of being the rebellious First Daughter (even though her father was already out of office by that point.)


3. At 58, She Posed Nude Again for a Different Magazine

LOS ANGELES - JULY 14: Former First Lady Nancy Reagan (C) arrives with daughter, Patti Davis and Doug Wick (R) at the premiere of the movie "Stuart Little 2" at the Mann's Village Theater on July 14, 2002 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sebastian Artz/Getty Images)

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan (C) arrives with daughter, Patti Davis and Doug Wick (R) at the premiere of the movie “Stuart Little 2” in 2002. (Getty)

At 58, she posed nude again, this time for More magazine. She was proud of how she looked, especially when a kickboxing instructor told her that she looked even better than she did when she posed for Playboy. When she did the photoshoot with More, she said the only plastic surgery she had done was a facelift at 50. As far as the photoshoot, she was most upset about her elbows, she told Daily Mail. “I’m quite upset with my elbows. If you took a close-up photo of them, you’d think, ‘Wow, very old person.”


4. She Felt a lot of Comfort from the Public After Her Father’s Death

SIMI VALLEY, CA - JUNE 11: Patti Davis, daughter of former US President Ronald Reagan, pauses during words of remembrance at the funeral service for the former president at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library June 11, 2004 in Simi Valley, California. Reagan died of pneumonia due to complications with Alzheimer's at age 93 at his home in California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Patti Davis, daughter of former President Ronald Reagan, pauses during words of remembrance at the funeral service for her dad. (Getty)

After news of her mother’s death was released to the media, Patti posted about it on her personal blog. She said that although they hadn’t released a public statement, people were already calling her because TMZ had released the news. She said her mother had been in poor health for awhile and was getting worse. But, she added, “That said, death always feels like a surprise. … Just as when my father died, there is comfort in feeling surrounded by gentle thoughts and kind wishes, often sent out by strangers.”
Earlier, she told NBC News: “I think that nothing teaches you more about, life than death and dying. … If you can really show up for that situation with a loved one, you learn a lot about how to live your life knowing that there are no guarantees that you’ll even be here tomorrow.”

5. She Regretted Writing Her First Autobiography

SIMI VALLEY, UNITED STATES: Former First Lady Nancy Reagan(L) sits with daughter Patti Davis behind the casket that contains the remains of former US President Ronald Reagan inside the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library during the memorial service 07 June, 2004 in Simi Valley, California. AFP PHOTO/POOL/Rick Bowmer (Photo credit should read RICK BOWMER/AFP/Getty Images)

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan sits with daughter Patti Davis behind Ronald Reagan’s casket in 2004. (Getty)

After her father left office, Patti wrote an autobiography in 1992 called “The Way I See It.” She described her dad as distant and her mom as abusive. She later regretted writing that autobiography. She especially felt this way when she found a letter her dad wrote but never sent, where he talked about how hurt he was by some of the things she was saying about the family, NBC News reported.

The rough draft was written just before her autobiography was published. Her dad was very hurt by Patti’s anger. The last line of the letter read: “Please Patti, don’t take away our memories of a daughter we truly love and whom we miss.” Finding the letter tore her apart.

While her father battled Alzheimer’s, Patti kept a journal where she wrote about the family’s ordeal, dealing with her dad’s diagnosis all the way to his death. She took after her dad in this, since he was also known for the journals he kept while he was in the White House. Her journal became a touching book called “The Long Goodbye.”

Patti and Ron Reagan Jr., Nancy and Ronald’s two children, will give eulogies during Nancy’s funeral. Patti said that she planned to share poignant memories and funny stories about her mom.