Former President George H.W. Bush and first lady Barbara Bush are marking a milestone in their love story this Tuesday, celebrating 70 years of marriage.
The longest-wed presidential couple set the record in 2000 when they surpassed John and Abigail Adam’s 54-year union.
Their story began when they met at a Christmas dance at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., when the future president was 16 years old. A year and a half later, the couple was engaged, right before President Bush shipped out overseas to fight in World War II as a naval pilot.
A few years later, in Sept. 1944, Bush was sent home after he was shot down and nearly killed during a mission over the Pacific. A few months later, Bush and then Barbara Pierce were married in Rye, N.Y. on Jan. 6, 1945. The future president was 20 and Barbara was 19. They would have six children--one of whom died as a toddler--, including future President George W. Bush.
“I married the first man I ever kissed,” Barbara once said. “When I tell my children that they just about throw up.”
Bush and Barbara then moved to Texas, where he worked in the oil business and was elected to two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. After losing a campaign for the Senate in 1970, Bush was appointed to a series of high-level political positions: U.S. Ambassador to the UN, chairman of the Republican National Committee, Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in Beijing and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The two occupied the White House as the president and first lady from 1989 to 1993. Previously, Barbara Bush was the second lady of the United States during President Reagan’s eight-year term, when her husband served as vice president.
Family spokesman Jim McGrath told the Houston Chronicle that the couple will be celebrating the occasion together at home in a low key manner.
The former president was recently released from a Houston hospital after spending a few days under observation for breathing problems.