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Politics Inside the 'storybook' marriage of Barbara and George HW Bush — who were married longer than any first couple, and still said 'I love you' every night

Barbara Bush died on Tuesday at age 92. Here is an inside look at her long-lasting marriage with former President George H.W. Bush.

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Former US President George H.W. Bush tosses the coin for the Super Bowl as former first lady Barbara Bush looks on in Houston, Texas on February 5, 2017. play

Former US President George H.W. Bush tosses the coin for the Super Bowl as former first lady Barbara Bush looks on in Houston, Texas on February 5, 2017.

(REUTERS/Adrees Latif)

Former first lady Barbara Bush died on Tuesday at age 92.

She had been battling Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and congestive heart failure, and was hospitalized several times over the last year.

Bush, who resided in the White House for four years while her husband, former President George H.W. Bush, served as Commander in Chief, had been married to the 41st president of the United States for 73 years.

Described as a true love story, here is an inside look at the longest marriage in US presidential history:

Barbara Pierce and George Bush met at a dance over Christmas vacation in 1942. She was 16 and he was 17, and Barbara claimed that George was the first boy she ever kissed.

Barbara Pierce and George Bush met at a dance over Christmas vacation in 1942. She was 16 and he was 17, and Barbara claimed that George was the first boy she ever kissed. play

Barbara Pierce and George Bush met at a dance over Christmas vacation in 1942. She was 16 and he was 17, and Barbara claimed that George was the first boy she ever kissed.

(AP)

Source: Associated Press



After dating for a year and a half, the two became engaged and planned to get married before George went off to serve in World War II as a Navy pilot. He famously named three of his Navy planes after her, and the two shared love letters while he was away.

George H. W. Bush flying a TBM Avenger off the light aircraft carrier USS San Jacinto in 1944. play

George H. W. Bush flying a TBM Avenger off the light aircraft carrier USS San Jacinto in 1944.

(US Navy)


On January 6, 1945, the couple married at the First Presbyterian Church in Rye, New York while George was on leave from war. He was 20 and she was 19.

George and Barbara Bush on their wedding day in Rye, New York on January 6, 1945. play

George and Barbara Bush on their wedding day in Rye, New York on January 6, 1945.

(George Bush Presidential Library and Museum)


In the first year of their marriage, they moved around to Michigan, Maryland, and Virginia because of George's naval base assignments. "You have given me joy that few men know," he once wrote to her in a letter.

George Bush is shown with wife Barbara in 1945. play

George Bush is shown with wife Barbara in 1945.

(AP)

Source: The National First Ladies Library



Over the next 13 years, the couple had six children: George, Robin, Jeb, Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy. Robin died of leukemia at the age of three.

Over the next 13 years, the couple had six children: George, Robin, Jeb, Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy. Robin died of leukemia at the age of three. play

Over the next 13 years, the couple had six children: George, Robin, Jeb, Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy. Robin died of leukemia at the age of three.

(Wikimedia Commons)

Source: The National First Ladies Library



After the war was over, George and Barbara moved the family to Texas, where he entered the oil business. The couple has moved over two dozen times during their marriage.

George H.W. Bush got a job at Pennzoil in Houston, Texas. play

George H.W. Bush got a job at Pennzoil in Houston, Texas.

(AP)

Source: The National First Ladies Library



George was elected as a congressman from Texas in 1966, and Barbara took care of the children as he campaigned. She would sometimes join him on the trail, and would be there every step of the way as he moved up in the political world.

George and Barbara Bush in Houston, Texas on the night he was elected to Congress on November 1, 1966. play

George and Barbara Bush in Houston, Texas on the night he was elected to Congress on November 1, 1966.

(NARA)

Source: The National First Ladies Library



When former President Richard Nixon appointed Bush as Chairman of the RNC during Watergate, Barbara urged her husband not take the job because of the political climate in DC. Nevertheless, he accepted the offer.

George W. Bush, center, poses with his mother and father in Rye, New York, during the summer of 1955. play

George W. Bush, center, poses with his mother and father in Rye, New York, during the summer of 1955.

(AP)

Source: The National First Ladies Library



When the Bush family lived in China while George served as head of the US Liaison Office under President Gerald Ford, the couple would regularly take bike rides and explore their new home.

Chinese dignitaries walk with US President Gerald Ford, center left, in Beijing on Dec. 1, 1975. Accompanying Ford are George Bush, extreme left, Henry Kissinger Secretary of State, fourth from left, Betty Ford, behind President Ford, and Barbara Bush, extreme right. play

Chinese dignitaries walk with US President Gerald Ford, center left, in Beijing on Dec. 1, 1975. Accompanying Ford are George Bush, extreme left, Henry Kissinger Secretary of State, fourth from left, Betty Ford, behind President Ford, and Barbara Bush, extreme right.

(AP)


George ran for the presidency in 1980, but fell short in the GOP primary to Ronald Reagan. Bush joined Reagan's winning ticket as his vice presidential candidate and helped the Republicans take back the White House.

George ran for the presidency in 1980, but fell short in the GOP primary to Ronald Reagan. Bush joined Reagan's winning ticket as his vice presidential candidate and helped the Republicans take back the White House. play

George ran for the presidency in 1980, but fell short in the GOP primary to Ronald Reagan. Bush joined Reagan's winning ticket as his vice presidential candidate and helped the Republicans take back the White House.

(MediaPunch)


When George ran for the presidency in 1988, Barbara again campaigned actively for him and became the second candidate's wife to speak on their behalf at the party convention. George became the 41st president of the United States.

When George ran for the presidency in 1988, Barbara again campaigned actively for him and became the second candidate's wife to speak on their behalf at the party convention. George became the 41st president of the United States. play

When George ran for the presidency in 1988, Barbara again campaigned actively for him and became the second candidate's wife to speak on their behalf at the party convention. George became the 41st president of the United States.

(MediaPunch)

Source: The National First Ladies Library



After they left the White House in 1993, George and Barbara helped campaign for their children's quests for public office. The most notable were George W., who served as governor of Texas and the 43rd US president, and Jeb, who served as governor of Florida and ran for president. George W. credits his gubernatorial win to his parents.

Father and sons pose in front of the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier. play

Father and sons pose in front of the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier.

(Lawrence Jackson/AP)


Barbara has described her and her husband as "the two luckiest people in the world, and when all the dust is settled and all the crowds are gone, the things that matter are faith, family and friends. We have been inordinately blessed, and we know that."

Barbara has described her and her husband as "the two luckiest people in the world, and when all the dust is settled and all the crowds are gone, the things that matter are faith, family and friends. We have been inordinately blessed, and we know that." play

Barbara has described her and her husband as "the two luckiest people in the world, and when all the dust is settled and all the crowds are gone, the things that matter are faith, family and friends. We have been inordinately blessed, and we know that."

(MediaPunch)

Source: Associated Press



"I have climbed perhaps the highest mountain in the world, but even that cannot hold a candle to being Barbara's husband," George once wrote.

The two are known for being huge sports fans, and have been frequent spectators at Houston Astros games. play

The two are known for being huge sports fans, and have been frequent spectators at Houston Astros games.

(AP)

Source: Associated Press



He gives Barbara all the credit when it came to raising their children. George described her as "the mainstay, of course, the parent who was always there to help solve the daily problems and emergencies of teen and preteen life."

Barbara Bush, former first lady of the US, greets her son George Walker Bush with a kiss and a hug on October 26, 1994. play

Barbara Bush, former first lady of the US, greets her son George Walker Bush with a kiss and a hug on October 26, 1994.

(REUTERS)


They have weathered some hardships. When allegations surfaced in October 2017 of George inappropriately touching women, their office released a statement saying he "patted women's rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner" and apologized to "anyone he has offended."

George has been confined to a wheelchair for the last five years. play

George has been confined to a wheelchair for the last five years.

(AP)

Source: Business Insider



When their daughter Robin had cancer, George was too upset to visit her. Barbara refused to let anyone cry in front of Robin and remained with her at the hospital. George reportedly "marveled" at his wife's strength.

When their daughter Robin had cancer, George was too upset to visit her. Barbara refused to let anyone cry in front of Robin and remained with her at the hospital. George reportedly "marveled" at his wife's strength. play

When their daughter Robin had cancer, George was too upset to visit her. Barbara refused to let anyone cry in front of Robin and remained with her at the hospital. George reportedly "marveled" at his wife's strength.

(AP)

Source: "What It Takes"



When George served as CIA director in the 1970s, he had to keep details of his job classified, and Barbara went through a bout of depression. But George took care of her.

George is sworn in as new director of the Central Intelligence Agency by US Supreme Court Associate Justice Potter Stewart as Barbara and President Gerald R. Ford look on at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia on January 30, 1976. play

George is sworn in as new director of the Central Intelligence Agency by US Supreme Court Associate Justice Potter Stewart as Barbara and President Gerald R. Ford look on at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia on January 30, 1976.

(Barry Soorenko / CNP /MediaPunch/IPX)

Source: Associated Press



"Night after night, George held me weeping in his arms while I tried to explain my feelings," she said. "I almost wonder why he didn't leave me."

George and Barbara Bush attend the christening ceremony for the USS George H.W. Bush, October 2006. play

George and Barbara Bush attend the christening ceremony for the USS George H.W. Bush, October 2006.

(Eric Draper)

Source: Associated Press



He has described their love as a "storybook." Every night before the couple went to sleep, to the end, George still said "I love you, Barbie."

He has described their love as a "storybook." Every night before the couple went to sleep, to the end, George still said "I love you, Barbie." play

He has described their love as a "storybook." Every night before the couple went to sleep, to the end, George still said "I love you, Barbie."

(AP)

Sources: Jenna Bush, Associated Press



In a recent interview, Barbara said having a good husband is key to living a long life. "George Bush has given me the world. He is the best — thoughtful and loving," she said. "I am still old and still in love with the man I married 72 years ago."

In a recent interview, Barbara said having a good husband is key to living a long life. "George Bush has given me the world. He is the best — thoughtful and loving," she said. "I am still old and still in love with the man I married 72 years ago." play

In a recent interview, Barbara said having a good husband is key to living a long life. "George Bush has given me the world. He is the best — thoughtful and loving," she said. "I am still old and still in love with the man I married 72 years ago."

(AP)

Source: Smith Alumnae Quarterly



She told C-SPAN in 2013 that she and George pray aloud each night and sometimes "fight over whose turn it is."

George and Barbara Bush in 2000 play

George and Barbara Bush in 2000

(Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Source: Associated Press



Barbara said she didn't fear death for herself or "my precious George.""I know there is a great God, and I'm not worried."

Former first lady Mrs. Barbara Bush listens to her son, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, at a campaign event February 19, 2016 in Greenville, South Carolina. play

Former first lady Mrs. Barbara Bush listens to her son, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, at a campaign event February 19, 2016 in Greenville, South Carolina.

(Sean Rayford/Getty Images)


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