Jennifer Fitzgerald may have been George H.W. Bush’s mistress for 12 years, a new biography claims. Barbara Bush is quoted in the book as describing a period of severe depression that friends told the author might have been triggered in part because of Bush’s close relationship to Fitzgerald.
The former first lady told biographer Susan Page about her struggles with depression – which she attributed to a “toxic combination of factors” – for the new book, “The Matriarch Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty.” The allegations about a long-term affair between her husband and Fitzgerald, 86, come from extracts of the new book published by the Daily Mail.
Both Bush and Fitzgerald have denied the affair allegations.
In 1975, Bush and Jennifer Fitzgerald were pictured alongside George H.W. Bush during a hearing in D.C. The former first lady can be seen staring at Fitzgerald while the alleged mistress folds her arms staring blankly forward. The caption for the picture read, “CIA Director George Bush sits beside Jennifer Fitzgerald. The pair is rumored to be romantically involved. George Bush’s wife, Barbara, sits behind him.”
The book had already made headlines as Bush spoke candidly about her dislike for President Donald Trump even saying that the 43rd president had helped to bring on her heart attack in 2016. In addition, Bush said that she was no longer a Republican in 2017. George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush were married in New York in 1945. The couple had six children together. The former first lady passed away in April 2018 at the age of 92.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Barbara Bush Said She Considered Suicide Once Depression Hit
In extracts from her biography, Bush described her depression and even said that she had suicidal thoughts. Bush compares the pain she felt after her husband was named CIA director to that of losing their daughter Robin to leukemia at the age of four. Bush added that she would have an impulse to drive her car into a tree, Bush is quoted as saying, “I really wasn’t brave enough to do that, but that’s why I pulled over, so I wouldn’t do that, or I wouldn’t run into another car.”
Bush said that she wondered why her husband didn’t leave her due to her fragile emotional state.
2. Fitzgerald Was a Divorcee Who Was ‘Protective of George H.W. Bush’
Fitzgerald is described as being a divorcee who was “protective” of the president in her role as secretary. She had been introduced to George in the early 1970s when she was 42 by Federal Communications Commission president Dean Burch.
In a 2004 London Times article, Fitzgerald was referred to as George’s “other wife.” The piece mentions that George and Fitzgerald met during the Watergate scandal. At the time, George was the chairman of the Republican National Committee while Fitzgerald also worked for the party. Following Richard Nixon’s resignation, George became ambassador to China, where Fitzgerald joined him as his personal secretary.
A source who knew George and Fitzgerald told the Times, “It wasn’t just another woman. It was a woman who came to exert enormous influence over George for many, many years . . . She became, in essence, his other wife . . . his office wife.” The article also says that Barbara Bush tolerated years of flirtatious relationships that her husband had over the years, mainly because he never humiliated her.
3. Bush Angrily Denied Rumors of the Affair in 1992
In 1992, the New York Post published the first allegations regarding Fitzgerald and George H.W. Bush under the headline “The Bush Affair.” The then-president referred to the reports as a “lie” and was “outraged” when a CNN reporter asked him about it, reported the Washington Post at the time. When asked by NBC’s Stone Phillips about the reports, the president said, “You’re perpetuating the sleaze by even asking the question, to say nothing of asking in the Oval Office.”
The Washington Post story said that one of their reporters, Ann Devroy, had researched the story in the 1980s. Devroy is quoted in the article as saying, “I spent two solid months looking into this in the early 1980s and I never found any evidence of it.” The story did say that Fitzgerald had come in for criticism for limiting access to George H.W. Bush when he was vice president and that she was fined more than $600 over the non-declaration of items she bought while on an official trip to Argentina.
Fitzgerald denied the affair to the author.
4. It Was Alleged That Bush & Fitzgerald Spent a Weekend Together in Geneva in the 1980s
People Magazine, quoting from a book on George H.W. Bush in 1992, referenced a former U.S. official in Switzerland, Louis Fields, saying that he arranged for the then-vice president and Fitzgerald to stay at his lakeside home in Geneva during an official trip in the 1980s. Fields is quoted as saying, “It became clear [they] were romantically involved.” Fields, who died in 1988, said that the pair had adjoining bedrooms in the home and that the trip came while Barbara Bush was promoting a book back in the U.S. Fields also said that George and Fitzgerald’s relationship made him “very uncomfortable.”
The Washington Post reported in 1992 that at that time, Fitzgerald was working as the deputy chief of protocol for the State Department.
5. Fitzgerald’s Mother Said in 1992 That Her Daughter ‘Can’t Stand Men’
Speaking to People Magazine in 1992, Fitzgerald’s mother, Frances Patterson-Knight, denied her daughter would be having an affair saying, “She had a very unhappy marriage, and she can’t stand men.” Patterson-Knight said that the allegations “devastated” her daughter and also that Fitzgerald once told her mother, “I’ve been through so much. I couldn’t have sex with anybody.”
The People article contained some bio information about Fitzgerald saying she was born in the United Kingdom. Her mother was from Boston and her father was in the British military. In 1995, Fitzgerald married U.S. Army Pvt. Gerald FitzGerald, separating a year later and divorcing in 1959.