When a new president takes office, the American media never fail to indulge in theories, stories and rumours about his personal life. From their crazy college years to current political standings, it’s hard to avoid the spotlight when you’re the President – or one of his nearest and dearest.
One of the more fascinating parts of a President’s life is his family. There’s the first lady, who will be admired and emulated by women, and then there are the children – about whom we’re endlessly curious. The children of previous presidents have varied from young toddlers to teenagers, meaning they often serve as relatable role models for younger Americans. Being the children of the most famous political leader in the world means that there’s a whole lot of pressure to be well-behaved and do well in nearly every aspect of life. When a presidential kid doesn’t fare so well, they’re guaranteed to serve as fodder for the gutter press headlines in America and even worldwide.
When a first child does something particularly well, of course, they’re praised and honored to levels of acclaim befitting of presidential children. The world is watching these children, for better or for worse, incredibly closely during the time in which their father is the President.
But what happens after their father’s term is over? What happens to these kids after they’ve transitioned back to normal life? These are the presidential children who are still alive today, and forging their own lives away from the White House.
8. Amy Carter (Wentzel)
James, Donnel, Jack, and Amy are the children of Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States who served from 1977 until 1981. Amy, who often got in trouble in the media, was the youngest of the siblings whose life was the most documented.
She went on to attend Brown University after her time in the White House and became involved in activism. She was even arrested at a protest against CIA recruitment, but eventually settled down and got married and had children.
7. Lynda & Luci Johnson
Lynda and Luci are the daughters of Lyndon B. Johnson, and they made recent headlines when they told Katie Couric in an interview that they believed that their father would have been okay with gay marriage and they were in favor of it themselves.
Luci was sixteen when Kennedy was assassinated and her father took over the presidency, while Lynda was around nineteen years old. The Johnson family were very open about their Christian faith and are often seen with Conservative figures such as Laura Bush.
6. Tricia Nixon (Cox) & Julie Nixon (Eisenhower)
Tricia and Julie have been surrounded by politics for most of their lives. Julie is the youngest daughter of Richard Nixon and was just shy of 20 when her father assumed the presidency. She also married the grandson of Dwight D. Eisenhower around the same time. Julie wrote a book about her mother called, “Pat Nixon: The Untold Story” and has retired with her husband on a Pennsylvania farm.
Tricia Nixon was well into adulthood when her father was elected, but she never let it stop her from performing her familial duties, and even got married at the White House. Today, Tricia serves on the board of several medical-related organizations and a dedicated mother.
5. Patti Davis, Michael & Ronald Reagan, Jr.
Michael Reagan stayed fairly involved in politics since he was first exposed to it at the age of eight. He became a Republican strategist and a political commentator and wrote a book about his Christian life.
But Patti and Ronald, Jr. adopted markedly liberal views and often disagreed with their father. Ron made it very clear to Vanity Fair in 2009 that he was always on good terms with his father. He actually caused an uproar with his book about his father’s battle with Alzheimers and implied that his father had early symptoms while he was in office.
Patti became a working actress who did have a strained relationship with her father, but reconciled with him in 2004 before his death.
4. Caroline Kennedy
Caroline was just three years old when her father, John F. Kennedy, took office as the 35th President. She roamed the White House with her little brother, the late John, Jr.
Certainly, given the tragic ending to Kennedy’s presidential career, the media kept a close eye on her and the whole Kennedy family. With the stigma of a curse that plagued the Kennedys in terms of premature death, many wondered if poor Caroline would be next – but thankfully, she wasn’t! She’s living happily in her mid-50’s, raising children, and is actively involved with the Obama administration and a strong supporter for the Democratic Party.
3. Steven & Susan Ford Bales
Steve Ford was 18 years old when his father took office. He stayed as far away from politics as possible, and after graduating from college, Ford went into acting making numerous appearances on daytime television. Unfortunately, he also fell victim to alcoholism, which he was eventually able to overcome. Today, he is a motivational speaker and often speaks about his time in the White House and what life was like when his father was in office.
Susan Ford Bales, the only daughter and youngest child of Gerald Ford, became an author and photojournalist. She was in her late teens when Ford took office, and she often assisted her mother in hosting events and functions at the White House.
2. Chelsea Clinton
Chelsea Clinton is the only daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton. She was just 12 at the time her father took office, and she grew up in the public eye as her father served two terms as President of the United States. Chelsea lived in the White House for six years before heading off to college at Stanford University, and then pursued graduate studies at the University of Oxford.
She has never been a stranger to politics, as her father was governor for several years. The experience proved to be to her advantage as she is now living in Manhattan, NY working for a consulting firm as well as guest corresponding for several news outlets. When her mother was running for president in 2007, Chelsea was right there at her side ready to support and help where needed. She was recently married and continues to be an example of a “first kid” who did well after her time at the White House was over. She recently had a baby girl.
There’s now speculation that she’ll become a presidential child once again if her mother runs in the next presidential election as predicted.
1. Jenna and Barbara Bush
Jenna and Barbara are the fraternal twins of George W. and Laura Bush. Bush served two terms as President from 2001-2009. The girls come from a political dynasty, as the granddaughters of George H.W. and Barbara Bush.
These two girls certainly gave their parents some problems, particularly when they were caught trying to use a fake ID to buy alcohol, and were charged with a misdemeanor. This happened in the same year as their father’s election, which meant that all cameras were on the Bush twins. But since then, the two girls have blossomed beautifully, and are both married. Jenna Bush (Hager) works as a correspondent for the Today Show and co-authored a book with her mother.