Billy Bush Finally Addresses Trump 'Access Hollywood' Tape

"Access Hollywood" reporter Billy Bush, "Apprentice" host Donald Trump, and actress Arianne Zucker, in a 2005 hot mic recording released last October that almost derailed Trump's candidacy - and cost Bush his job.

Billy Bush, a recognised TV personality in the U.S. suddenly found worldwide notoriety seven months ago when a tape of a Hollywood Access conversation between him and the then presidential candidate Donald Trump was leaked to the press.

Bush told The Hollywood Reporter in an extended interview published on Sunday that Trump's comments, made in 2005 but released a year ago, can not simply be chalked up to "locker room talk".

Watching the video, he said, left him "totally and completely gutted".

The conversation between Trump and Bush occurred in 2005, back when Trump was "the biggest star ... on TV, period", Bush said. "[Trump] liked TV and competition. I could've said, 'Look at the ratings on whatever?' I didn't have the strength of character to do it".

Since the tape was leaked, Bush said his life was like a "rollercoaster", adding: "If you start from the day everything happened, Friday, Oct. 7, it was just instant shock". But I'm grateful for what I've gotten out of it. Billy Bush may take great pains to separate himself from what Trump said, because it appears that he doesn't think he himself is the problem - but Bush's actions in that tape demonstrated that he is one among many who gives that problem a microphone and amplifies it.

Bush talked about receiving a call from his tearful then 15-year-old daughter after the video was released and apologizing to her.

Bush said the toughest part of the Trump tape is that he had to explain to his teenage daughter why he was laughing at the things Trump said on the tape.

"Whatever you want", says another voice, apparently Bush's.

Bush disagrees, saying he's "in a lot of locker rooms" and never heard that type of conversation. Bush said he was accustomed to Trump, whom he had interviewed several times, making shocking and exaggerated comments. During a candid chat with The Hollywood Reporter, the TV host addressed his fall from grace and revealed how he told his daughters about the p*ssy-grabbing controversy.

Bush, who is the father of three young girls, released an apology for his participation in the conversation.

Bush also said he felt Trump was being purposefully shocking in their interaction. He said he went through a lot of soul searching and spent seven days on a spiritual retreat with no phones. "In television, we love a spectacle, but I've come too far and learned too much". The show tried to score interviews with Trump three times a week, knowing that segments about him would get viewers' attention, he said.

  • Salvatore Jensen