Growing Up In The White House: U.S. Presidents’ Kids

Kids whose parents become the President of the United States and the First Lady lead quite a different life than their peers. Heavily scrutinized, kids of the White House spend more time with world leaders and the wealthy class than they do with other kids. These daughters and sons of U.S. presidents have entered the White House at different ages. Some of them went on to have political careers of their own. Others bemoaned the Secret Service and retreated from the spotlight as soon as they could.

Gerald Ford Has Four Kids

Gerald Ford and wife Betty Ford had four children, three sons, and one daughter: Susan, John, Steven, and Michael. Gerald’s kids were young adults when he began his presidency in 1974, as their youngest, Susan, was 17-years-old at the time.

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David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images
David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images

Their son John, known as “Jack”, has remained involved in politics through the Republican conventions. Their son Michael is a minister and oversees the Department of Student Development at Wake Forest University.

Susan Ford

Gerald Ford’s youngest child and only daughter Susan Ford ended up marrying one of her father’s Secret Service agents, Charles Vance in 1979. The couple had two daughters together and later divorced.

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Susan Wood/Getty Images/Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Susan Wood/Getty Images/Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

She later remarried, to Vaden Bales, an attorney. They divorced in 2018. After living in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, Susan now lives in McKinney, Texas. She is a chairwoman on the board for the Betty Ford Center and launched National Breast Cancer Awareness Month with her mother Betty.

Steven Ford

Gerald Ford’s son Steven also struggled with alcoholism like his mother Betty and has gone on to devote much of his time to help other young alcoholics. Steven Ford went on to have an acting career and appeared in films like Heat, Contact, When Harry met Sally… and Transformers.

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Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Steven also appeared on a documentary, discussing his father. Although when asked about a creative film being made about his father, he said that he thinks his dad would be preferred to be remembered as a “humble public servant”. Steven never married.

Julie Nixon

Richard Nixon and wife Pat Nixon had two daughters, Tricia and Julie Nixon. Both girls were young adults during their father’s presidency. Julie worked as a writer during her father’s presidency and helped her father tremendously while campaigning and subsequently in office.

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Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

Interestingly enough, Julie married the grandson of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Together they have three children, Jennie, Alex, and Melanie. She is a published author of several books.

Tricia Nixon

Former President Nixon’s eldest daughter Tricia Nixon wasn’t as active has her younger sister on the political side of things while he was in office. However she did travel with him around the world.

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Bettmann/Contributor
Bettmann/Contributor

Tricia married Edward Cox, a Harvard Law graduate and politician who served as the chairman of the New York Republican State Committee. Following their wedding at the White House, Tricia retreated from the spotlight, enjoying life as a stay-at-home mom to her son Christopher in the suburbs of New York. She also serves on the boards of medical research institutions.

Caroline Kennedy

Caroline and John F. Kennedy Jr. were among the youngest children to ever reside in the White House. She was just six years old when her father, former President Kennedy was assassinated. Caroline went on to have a career as a lawyer, author, and diplomat. She also served as a U.S. ambassador to Japan.

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Mari Sarai/Wireimage/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Mari Sarai/Wireimage/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

She married exhibit designer Edward Schlossberg and had three children together. Her daughter Rose has been described as a look-alike for her grandmother Jackie.

John F. Kennedy Jr.

JFK Jr. was a lawyer, journalist, and founder of George Magazine. He was often touted as one of the most handsome men in the United States. JFK Jr. was known to date a variety of models and actresses including Cindy Crawford and Sarah Jessica Parker. Ultimately, he married Carolyn Bessette, a publicist for Calvin Klein.

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Tom Wargacki/WireImage/Barry King/Contributor
Tom Wargacki/WireImage/Barry King/Contributor

JFK Jr. had a hobby of piloting aircraft, and sadly he along with his wife Carolyn and her sister Lauren were killed in a plane crash in the Atlantic Ocean. JFK Jr. was piloting at the time. When the plane was first reported missing it made international headlines and ultimately the remains were found on the ocean floor. JFK Jr. was only 38 years old.

Luci Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson and wife Lady Bird had two children, daughters Luci and Lynda. Luci was married to National Guardsman Patrick Nugent while her father was president and the wedding was televised. They had four children together. The two later divorced and she remarried Ian Turpin.

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Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

During a 2014 interview with Katie Couric, Luci discussed never having any free time away from the Secret Service. In fact, she said that she was the divorced mother of four children at the age of 30 before she ever got to go on a date by herself! When her father took office, Luci was 16 years old, so she spent her entire formative years under the watchful eye of the secret service.

Lynda Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson’s daughter Lynda originally attended the University of Texas at Austin but transferred to George Washington University after her father became the President. Lynda dated actor George Hamilton while her father was in office. Later she married Charles S. Robb who became the governor of Virginia and then served as Senator.

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Les Lee/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images/ John Lamparski/WireImage
Les Lee/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images/ John Lamparski/WireImage

Unfortunately, Lynda faced some scandals after her husband was accused of an affair with a beauty queen named Tai Collins. However, the two remain married to this day and have three children together.

Reagan’s Baby Daughter Passed Away

Ronald Reagan and his first wife, movie actress Jane Wyman had two daughters and adopted a son, Michael. Sadly, their baby daughter Christine died shortly after she was born. The tragic loss was said to take an immense toll both on Ronald and Jane, and ultimately was a major cause for their divorce.

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Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images
Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

While others have claimed that Reagan’s political aspirations were to blame for the failure of their marriage it seems far more likely that the tragic loss of a child was behind the demise of the relationship. It is said to be statistically very common for marriages to fail after such a difficult loss.

Ron Reagan Jr.

Out of all of Ronald Reagan’s children, Ron Reagan Jr., his son with second wife Nancy Reagan, probably gained the most fame. Ron has taken a marked difference from his extremely conservative father and is known to be extremely liberal.

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Sonia Moskowitz/IMAGES/Getty Images
Sonia Moskowitz/IMAGES/Getty Images

Back in the ’80s, there was much speculation that Ron was gay. Apparently, people thought this because he was a ballet dancer. Ron married fellow dancer Doria Palmieri in 1980. The couple remained married until her death from cancer in 2014. In 2018 he remarried to Federica Basagni.

Jimmy Carter’s Grandson Jeremy

Jimmy Carter’s grandson Jeremy died at the young age of 28. Jimmy Carter announced his grandson’s death while he was teaching a Sunday school class. It was later revealed that Jeremy suffered a heart attack while in front of his mother and who performed CPR attempting to save him.

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Kate Brooks/The Elders via Getty Images
Kate Brooks/The Elders via Getty Images

Apparently, Jeremy knew that he was in ill health, according to his brother who said he had recently undergone a battery of tests. Jeremy had previously been having issues with eating and leg pain. Obviously, his symptoms were pointing to an underlying cause, but sadly, doctors did not find it in time. Of course, his grandfather Jimmy was facing the news with his regular positivism and Christian faith.

Conor Kennedy Had A Love Connection With Taylor Swift

At one point Taylor Swift seemed determined to elbow her way into the Kennedy family. She began dating Conor Kennedy, grandson of Bobby Kennedy, and great-nephew of JFK. Conor was still in high school when the two began dating, and Taylor even ended up buying a house across the street from the Kennedy compound. Ugh.

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Steven Ferdman/Getty Images
Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

The love connection was not meant to be, however, and the couple ended up breaking up after a couple of months. Conor made headlines again after he was arrested for a bar fight. The fight was for a noble cause, however, and Conor was reportedly defending his friend from someone making homophobic slurs.

Bobby Kennedy’s Son Robert Jr.

Bobby Kennedy’s son Robert Jr. has also had his share of family drama that always seems to follow the Kennedy family. Robert married his second wife Mary Richardson and the two had four children together. In 2010, he filed for divorce from Mary and she was subsequently arrested for a DUI only days later.

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PL Gould/IMAGES/Getty Images/Mike Coppola/Getty Images
PL Gould/IMAGES/Getty Images/Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Two years later, Mary sadly committed suicide by hanging, apparently never able to get over the demise of the marriage. She left behind her four children. In 2014, Robert remarried the actress Cheryl Hines. Cheryl is probably best known for playing the wife of Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Michael Reagan

The adopted son of former President Ronald Reagan and his first wife Jane Wyman, Michael Reagan has had a variety of controversial views over the years. Most notably, he attacked younger brother Ron Reagan for suggesting their father had the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease while President, which is more than likely true.

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Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Michael has managed to find trouble more than a few times. He was expelled from high school and left Arizona State University after only one semester. He was also warned by the FBI to stop his association with crime boss Joseph Bonanno.

Patti Davis (Reagan)

Patti Reagan was a college activist when her father took office particularly for the anti-nuclear movement which caused some controversy at the time. She went on to become an actress and writer and works with an Alzheimer’s foundation based at UCLA.

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Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

She chose to change her last name to her mother’s maiden name, Davis, to separate herself from her famous family as she pursued her career. She’s dated Eagles guitarist Bernie Leadon and married yoga instructor Paul Grilley before divorcing in 1990.

Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn’s Kids

President Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalynn are the parents of four children, three sons, and one daughter: Amy, Jack, Donnel, and James. The Carter kids were the first children to live in the White House since the days of Kennedy. Eldest son Jack Carter has his own political aspirations and ran for a senator seat in 2006. Jack’s son Jason went on to a political career as well and served as a senator in Georgia.

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Owen Franken/Corbis via Getty Images
Owen Franken/Corbis via Getty Images

Amy Carter is married with a son but has remained out of the public spotlight. Donnel Carter has also largely remained out of the spotlight. James Carter has not followed a career in politics but at one point did work for the Democratic National Convention.

Barack Obama’s Two Daughters

Former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle are the parents of daughters Malia and Sasha Obama. When they moved to Washington D.C. they began attending the prestigious Sidwell Friends School where other presidential children have gone like Chelsea Clinton and Joe Biden’s grandchildren.

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Both girls have spent their formative years growing up in the White House. The girls’ predecessors, the Bush twins, were the ones to give the girls their first White House tour. When President Obama was almost finished completing his second term the Bush girls wrote a beautiful open letter to the Obama girls which said they would always be rooting for them.

Malia Obama

The eldest daughter of the family, Malia Obama was 11-years-old when her father Barack Obama entered the White House. She graduated from high school in 2016 and worked as an intern at the U.S. Embassy in Spain before beginning school in the Fall of 2017 at Harvard University.

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MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Malia is also interested in pursuing a career in entertainment, and has worked in television studios and interned at The Weinstein Company in New York City. She’s known to be dating Rory Farquharson and has been photographed smoking and drinking underage, causing a stir in the tabloids.

Sasha Obama

Natasha “Sasha” Obama is noted as the youngest child to move into the White House at 8-years-old since 1961 when JFK Jr. was brought to live there as an infant. After graduating from Sidwell Friends private school in Washington D.C. in 2019, Sasha enrolled in the University of Michigan.

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Students on the campus noted that she has plainclothed Secret Service agents protecting her but otherwise acts like a “normal student” and has made plenty of friends.

Bush Twins

When George W. Bush took office, his daughters, twins Barbara and Jenna Bush, had graduated from high school the previous year and had enrolled in their first year of college. This led to the girls spending less time in the White House than other presidents’ children.

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PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images
PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images

Barbara Bush attended Yale University and her sister Jenna attended the University of Texas at Austin. The girls were highly criticized during their dad’s time in the presidency, especially for their precocious attitudes and a few run-ins with the law. It was usually noted that Jenna was the more outgoing twin while Barbara was the quieter one.

Barbara Bush

There was plenty of paparazzi on hand when Barbara Bush graduated from Yale University in 2004. Since then she’s been heavily involved in activism and humanitarianism. She is the co-founder and president of Global Health Corps and worked with AIDS patients in Africa.

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Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for UNICEF
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for UNICEF

Barbara has publicly spoken out about supporting gay marriage and has released a video with the Human Rights Campaign, announcing, “I am Barbara Bush, and I am a New Yorker for marriage equality.” She’s married to screenwriter Craig Coyne.

Jenna Bush

When her dad was back on the campaign trail for his second term. Jenna made headlines again in 2004 for sticking out her tongue at photographers, which seems pretty innocent in this day and age. Jenna graduated with a degree in English from the University of Texas in Austin and is now a co-host of Today with Hoda & Jenna.

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Theo Wargo/Getty Images
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

She also became the editor-at-large of Southern Living magazine. She’s married to Henry Hager and has three kids– two daughters and a son.

Chelsea Clinton

Chelsea Clinton is the only child of President Bill Clinton and his wife, two-time Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Chelsea was 12-years-old when her father won the presidency and subsequently had to face her awkward teenage years while her dad was in office. The media took aim at Chelsea even criticizing her looks, which is unfortunate because it is hard enough being a teenager much less one that is growing up in the public eye.

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Paul Archuleta/Getty Images
Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

Chelsea excelled academically and attended Stanford University for her undergraduate degree and also completed a Master’s of Public Health at Columbia University. In 2010, Chelsea married investment banker Marc Mezvinsky and the couple has two children, Charlotte and Aidan.

George H.W. Bush And Barbara Bush’s Six Children

George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara had six children: George Walker Bush, Pauline Robinson “Robin” Bush, John Ellis “Jeb” Bush, Neil Mallon Pierce Bush, Marvin Pierce Bush, and Dorothy Bush Koch. Sadly, Pauline died at only four years old from leukemia.

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jean-Louis Atlan/Sygma via Getty Images
jean-Louis Atlan/Sygma via Getty Images

When Bush was in the office all of his children were already adults thereby escaping the scrutiny that other Presidents’ kids have faced. Several of the Bush children notably went on to have their own political careers, including George W. Bush, who went on to be a President himself.

Neil Bush

Neil Bush is a businessman in Texas and has been married twice; he has three children from his first marriage to Sharon Bush, which lasted for 23 years. Neil came under public scrutiny after his first divorce deposition revealed that he admitted to having sexual encounters in Hong Kong and Thailand while married.

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Getty Images/Getty Images for CARE
Getty Images/Getty Images for CARE

He is the co-founder of Austin-based Ignite! Learning educational software corporation and frequently travels on business to the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.

Jeb Bush

The second son of George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush, Jeb Bush is also a politician and ran for the Republican ticket for the presidential race of 2016. He served as the Governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007 after losing in 1994.

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Paul Marotta/Getty Images
Paul Marotta/Getty Images

Jeb has three adult children, and the oldest is pursuing his own political career. He lives with his wife, Columba Bush, in Coral Gables, Florida.

Dorothy Bush Koch

The youngest Bush sibling and only living daughter Dorothy Bush Koch is co-chair of a non-profit, along with brother Jeb, which aims at increasing children’s literacy. She also authored a book, My Father: My President: A Personal Account Of The life Of George H.W. Bush.

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Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images for National Rehabilitation Hospital
Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images for National Rehabilitation Hospital

Dorothy married William LeBlond in 1982 and had two children. The couple divorced in 1990. She remarried to Robert Koch, President and CEO of the Wine Institute, in 1992 and had two more children.

Marvin Bush

The youngest of the family, Marvin Bush is the director of a publicly-traded insurance company on the New York Stock Exchange. He’s a graduate of the University of Virginia where he earned his B.A. in English.

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Mark Dadswell/Getty Images
Mark Dadswell/Getty Images

Marvin is married to Margaret Conway Molster and the couple has two children together, a daughter named Marshall Lloyd and a son, Charles Walker. Marvin is one of the lesser-known Bush children, as he’s not a political figure.