Billy Bush opens up about life since the 'Access Hollywood' tape release

Bush describes to "GMA" co-anchor Robin Roberts his reaction to the 2005 tape of his conversation with Donald Trump that sparked controversy just weeks before the 2016 election.
9:41 | 05/24/17

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Transcript for Billy Bush opens up about life since the 'Access Hollywood' tape release
and the president and first lady toured the sistine chapel and St. Peter's basilica. Billy bush opening up for the first time about that "Access Hollywood" tape with Donald Trump that was released a month before the election and led to Billy being fired from his job. He is now speaking out about all the fallout that he has faced. Here we are seven months later. You're unemployed. Donald Trump is president of the United States. That must be a thought that has crossed your mind. I can ago knowledge that the irony is glaring. It certainly has crossed my mind. Sheesh, your girl's hot as in the purple. Whoa, whoa. Yes, the Donald has scored. Reporter: This conversation recorded in 2005 captures then reality show megastar Donald Trump and "Access Hollywood" host Billy bush in the middle of a graphic and lewd exchange. I'm automatically attracted to beautiful -- I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet, I just kiss -- I don't even wait and when you're a star they let you do it. Whatever you want. Grab them by the . Do anything. Who was the first -- Reporter: Billy made a name for himself as co-host of "Access Hollywood" for 15 years rubbing elbows with Hollywood elite. And last summer Billy made the jump to morning TV. His dream job as a co-host of the "Today" show but on October 7th, 2016 his career came to a screeching halt when the now infamous tape was released and he was fired. Do you believe you should have lost your job over this? Based upon the moment that is on that tape, I understand people's reaction. I agree. I also felt that way. We live in a visual and digital age so we get this video, this moment and we react emotionally to it and then you have social media and the ability to respond in realtime and a flame becomes a bonfire very quickly. Have you had any conversations with Donald Trump since the release of the tape? No, there was no relationship there. It was work reeled and I interviewed him multiple times especially back then. He never reached out and I didn't reach out. Melania felt as she said you egged him on. He was lead on like egg on from the host to say dirty and bad stuff. Would you agree with that that you added to the conversation? I definitely added to the conversation by, you know -- I was keeping the ball in the air. With trump it's not much of a give and take and I remember this moment, you know, when he said what he said at the end, I -- to me it was more braggadocio and if I had ever thought -- I'd like to think that there was a grown man sitting in front of me detailing his sexual assault strategy, I would have called the FBI. There were reports you knew about the tape and you were talking about it months beforehand. I only talked about it with people who knew prior. I reported it as soon as it happened. I said you wouldn't believe the things trump was saying off camera. You reported that tape way back. Sure, as soon as it was done, when I was recouping what happened, I said, yeah, when the camera left, this is what the conversation was and it was told me days later, well, that was on. The camera was rolling. There's audio of all that. I said, oh, my gosh, wow but I never thought about it again. I just went on. It was trump. It was an inconsequential. He wasn't running for president. You know, he was at the time the biggest star on television. What was it like for you to go back home after the tape had been released to face your daughter, your wife, what was that moment like for you? My now 16-year-old daughter called me and she was in tears and she was really upset and I said, Mary, it's going to be okay. You know, don't worry and she said, no, why were you laughing at the things that he was saying on that bus? Why? You playing along with it. It wasn't funny. Must be one thing, Billy, for a stranger to feel that way but for your daughter to ask you why. She said why were you in the moment that? Why were you participating in that? I said, I'm -- I was -- I'm sorry. She didn't want to hear any explanation, just I'm sorry. I had never listened to that tape, robin. And until just days before the rest of the world got it and I recoiled. I said, oh, my gosh, because for me I remember the guy on the other side and I can tell you 12 years ago it was my first year as co-host of the show but I was -- I was insecure. I was -- I was a pleaser. I kind of remember wanting these celebrities to like me so that I could keep going in this job. What did you your wife say to you? She was very understanding of the atmosphere and the environment of that time and she knows very well the man she married and who I am. So she was supportive the whole way through, in fact, up until five minutes ago we were on the phone before I drove up here. Billy is no stranger to the public eye as a reporter. And a member of the bush family. You're almost 34 at the time. I understand what you're saying about wanting to prove yourself but there's some people that said, you're old enough and you've been around enough. Your last name is bush. For sure. You have been worldly more so than most people. For sure. I should have known better, absolutely. There's no question about that. I look back and I wish people also say you should have stopped it. But I didn't have the strength of character at the time to do that. I wish I did. Did you reach out to your colleague Nancy o'dell and apologize? I sent a message, yeah, private message, yeah. At the time trump was about to make a soap opera cameo with a guidance of soap opera star Ariane Zucker. Melania said this was okay. The point, Billy, that people drew the line is when you said, don't you want a hug the Donald? Don't you have a hug? After hearing him say those thing, that's when people are like, oh, come on. It's one thing to agree with him but can you understand like no. Listen, nobody reacted harsher or more gutturally than I did. I say imagine a woman is watching that and she thinks is that what happens to me when I walk out of a room or out of a meeting, I'm being sized up in some way. I understand that. How do you convince some people who are going to say, you just want your job back. You just want to get back on TV. I can tell you that I am only ready to get back to work now because there is purpose and there is clarity and there is acceptance and there is a changed person. I do feel like a better man. I feel like a better father. Partner, friend and I do think better at my job than I ever was. What would you say to a young man in particular entering this field? Believe in yourself. Be confident. Do not doubt yourself. Stay true to who you are. And I think I sacrificed, you know, my own dignity in that moment. I was very pleased to say good-bye to that guy. And Billy has spent the last seven months doing a lot of soul searching. He now meditates, practicing mindfulness and yoga has helped him. He knows it's a process which led him to be ready and able to share his story. You know I was hesitant about doing the interview when I was first approached about it because I knew many people would feel there's a chance -- it was going to be critical of the president. That was not the intent nor the purpose why Billy bush wanted to sit down with me. He wanted to be able to explain his actions. Remember, he was us is pended and then fired before he could publicly apologize. He made no excuses. He just wanted to explain who he was then and explain who he is now. And so what does he want to do now? He wants to -- he loves his job. He wants to get back in TV. Makes no bones about that. But he wants to do purposeful, meaningful reporting an interviewing and said he was at a Tony rob Binns seminar and Tony pointed to him to the audience and said one bad moment does not define who you are and the whole crowd reacted. I just got chills thinking about it. He wants to find people who E. Remember as I say everybody has something, everybody has made a mistake and what do you learn from that and what do you share? He thinks it will make him B better at that. He also used the phrase make your mess your message. I had a chance to spend time with him before and after and very sincere in what he said there and that's the same feeling I got when I spent time with him after the incident. There is a genuineness there. Thanks, robin. We'll be right back.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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