Barbara Walters: 5 Unforgettable First Lady Moments from the White House

Why Hilary Clinton Stayed with President Clinton
ABCNEWS.com

As their husbands led the United States from the Oval Room, the first ladies also played their own significant roles during their time in the White House.

From Betty Ford to Hillary Clinton, these powerful women dealt with the pressures of the presidency, scandals, assassination attempts, and even personal illnesses.

Through the decades, ABC News' Barbara Walters had the opportunity to interview ten first ladies and discussed with them both their public and private lives in the White House.

Click through to watch five unforgettable first lady moments from their interviews with Barbara Walters.

5 Unforgettable First Lady Moments

Betty Ford on Admitting She Was an Alcoholic
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Betty Ford on Admitting She Was an Alcoholic

In a 1977 interview with President Gerald Ford and first lady Betty Ford, the first lady gave ABC News' Barbara Walters a tour of the White House living quarters.

During the tour, it was clear, according to Walters, that the first lady had been drinking. Her speech was slow and sometimes slurred, and much of the interview was later edited out.

A decade after the Fords left the White House, Walters spoke again with President Ford and the former first lady.

"The word 'alcoholic' to me had a feeling---a meaning of being disheveled, drunk---all of those things, so how could I be an alcoholic?" Betty Ford told Walters about the difficulty of admitting she was an alcoholic.

5 Unforgettable First Lady Moments

Nancy Reagan Recalls President Reagan Being Shot
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Nancy Reagan on Fearing for President Reagan's Life after His Assassination Attempt

On March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan was shot in an assassination attempt. Though he survived, the moments that followed were terrifying for Reagan's wife, Nancy Reagan.

In an 1981 interview with Barbara Walters, just three months after the assassination attempt on her husband's life, Nancy Reagan recalled the confusion at the hospital that day.

"There was so much confusion and so much noise, and...I remember police running back and forth in the corridors and yelling, 'Get those people out the way!'" Nancy Reagan told Walters.

She continued, "Finally, they let me in to see Ronnie, and that was when he said 'Honey, I forgot to duck.'"

When Walters asked if there was a point she thought her husband might die, Nancy Reagan responded, "I was awfully scared."

5 Unforgettable First Lady Moments

One Thing Barbara Bush Isn't Proud Of
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Barbara Bush and Her History of Depression

In 1994, former first lady Barbara Bush spoke candidly with ABC News' Barbara Walters about her history of depression.

"I was ashamed, and I was certainly ignorant about depression," Barbara Bush told Walters. "And I was so dumb. I didn't ask for help, and George was the only one who knew I had it...he would say, 'Why don't you get some help?'"

The former first lady even spoke of her serious thoughts of suicide and not even telling her best friend about her depression.

"I didn't tell anybody, and I'm not very proud of that. But it's over," she said.

5 Unforgettable First Lady Moments

The Carters on Sharing a Bed in the White House
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Rosalyn Carter and President Jimmy Carter on Sharing a Bed in the White House

When President Gerald Ford and first lady Betty Ford entered the White House, some people were shocked that the two were bringing their own bed and sleeping in it together.

Just after being elected president, President Jimmy Carter and Rosalyn Carter told ABC News' Barbara Walters in 1976 that they would also be sharing a bed in the White House, a habit they had for 30 years.

"When Jimmy was governor, we had a first lady's bedroom and a governor's bedroom, and Amy slept in the first lady's room," Rosalyn Carter told Walters.

When Walters asked what type of bed they would be sleeping in, President Carter responded, "Double bed, always have."

5 Unforgettable First Lady Moments

Why Hilary Clinton Stayed with President Clinton
ABCNEWS.com
Hillary Clinton on Staying with President Bill Clinton

When ABC News' Barbara Walters first spoke with first lady Hillary Clinton in 1996, she discussed the rumors that she had, in a fit of rage, thrown a lamp at her husband President Bill Clinton.

"I mean, you know I have a pretty good arm," Hillary Clinton told Walters. "If I'd thrown a lamp at somebody, I think you would have known about it."

While she said she didn't have a temper, she admitted that she did get angry at certain things. "I'm not going to deny that. There are things that I think are wrong or things that I think should be fixed, and I am not at all shy about expressing my opinion," she said.

In a later interview with Walters in 2003, the former first lady spoke frankly about her public and private life and read a passage from her book, "Living History."

"'I'm often asked why Bill and I have stayed together. All I know is that no one understands me better and no one can make me laugh the way Bill does,'" she read out loud to Walters.

"'Even after all these years, he is still the most interesting, energizing and fully alive person I have ever met.'"

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