Michelle Obama defends Ellen DeGeneres' friendship with George W. Bush: 'Our values are the same'

Michelle Obama defended Ellen DeGeneres' friendship with George W. Bush while opening up about her own relationship with the former president.

In an interview on Today during a trip to Vietnam to raise awareness about the importance of education for young girls, Bush's daughter, Jenna Bush Hager, asked Obama her thoughts on the uproar around DeGeneres sitting with Bush at a Dallas Cowboys game in October.

"I think you're friends with both Ellen and my dad. And they sat next to each other which caused some sort of online backlash," Bush said. "Your husband recently talked about the dangers of cancel culture. What do you say to people that want to be closer with each other?"

Obama recalled the time she's spent with Bush and explained that their values transcend politics. 

"I had the opportunity to sit by your father at funerals, the highs and the lows, and we shared stories about our kids and about our parents," the former first lady said. "Our values are the same. We disagree on policy, but we don't disagree on humanity. We don't disagree about love and compassion."

In response to the backlash, DeGeneres had a similar response, saying she celebrates having friendships with "a lot of people who don't share the same beliefs."

"Just because I don't agree with someone on everything doesn't mean that I'm not gonna be friends with them," DeGeneres said in October.

This isn't the first time Obama has opened up about her admiration for Bush. Last year, in another interview with Today, she called him her "partner in crime."

"He is my partner in crime at every major thing where all the 'formers' gather," she said at the time. "So we're together all the time, and I love him to death. He's a wonderful man. He's a funny man."

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Michelle Obama, Julia Roberts and Jenna Hager visit students in Vietnam
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Michelle Obama, Julia Roberts and Jenna Hager visit students in Vietnam
Former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, actresses Julia Roberts and Lana Condor listen to female students at the Can Giuoc high school in Long An province, Vietnam, Monday, Dec. 9, 2019. Mrs. Obama and the actresses are on a visit to Vietnam to promote education for adolescent girls. (AP Photo/Hau Dinh)
Actress Julia Roberts listens to a student at Can Giuoc high school in Long An province, Vietnam Monday, Dec. 9, 2019. Roberts is accompanying U.S. former first lady Michelle Obama on a trip to Vietnam to promote education for adolescent girls. (AP Photo/Hau Dinh)
Former U.S. fist lady Michelle Obama, actress Julia Roberts, fifth left, and Jenna Bush Hager, fourth left, talk with female students at the Can Giuoc high school in Long An province, Vietnam on Monday, Dec. 9, 2019. Mrs. Obama is on a trip to Vietnam to promote education for adolescent girls. (AP Photo/Hau Dinh)
Former US First Lady Michelle Obama (C) poses for picture with Vietnamese students in Can Giuoc district, Long An province on December 9, 2019. - Michelle Obama and Julia Roberts visit to promote girls' education in Vietnam. (Photo by Nhac NGUYEN / AFP) (Photo by NHAC NGUYEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Former US First Lady Michelle Obama meets Vietnamese students in Can Giuoc district, Long An province on December 9, 2019. - Michelle Obama and Julia Roberts visit to promote girls' education in Vietnam. (Photo by Nhac NGUYEN / AFP) (Photo by NHAC NGUYEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of former US president George W. Bush, poses for picture with Vietnamese student in Can Giuoc district, Long An province on December 9, 2019 during a visit with former US First Lady Michelle Obama (not pictured). - Michelle Obama and Julia Roberts visit to promote girls' education in Vietnam. (Photo by Nhac NGUYEN / AFP) (Photo by NHAC NGUYEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of former US president George W. Bush, embraces a Vietnamese student in Can Giuoc district, Long An province on December 9, 2019 during a visit with former US First Lady Michelle Obama (not pictured). - Michelle Obama and Julia Roberts visit to promote girls' education in Vietnam. (Photo by Nhac NGUYEN / AFP) (Photo by NHAC NGUYEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Former US First Lady Michelle Obama (R), actress Julia Roberts (2nd L) and Jenna Bush Hager (L), daughter of former US president George W. Bush meet Vietnamese students in Can Giuoc district, Long An province on December 9, 2019. - Michelle Obama and Julia Roberts visit to promote girls' education in Vietnam. (Photo by Nhac NGUYEN / AFP) (Photo by NHAC NGUYEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Jenna Bush Hager (L), daughter of former US president George W. Bush, and actress Julia Roberts (R) meet Vietnamese students in Can Giuoc district, Long An province on December 9, 2019 during a visit with former US First Lady Michelle Obama (not pictured). - Michelle Obama and Julia Roberts visit to promote girls' education in Vietnam. (Photo by Nhac NGUYEN / AFP) (Photo by NHAC NGUYEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Former US First Lady Michelle Obama speaks to Vietnamese students in Can Giuoc district, Long An province on December 9, 2019. - Michelle Obama and Julia Roberts visit to promote girls' education in Vietnam. (Photo by Nhac NGUYEN / AFP) (Photo by NHAC NGUYEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Former US First Lady Michelle Obama (R), actress Julia Roberts (2nd L) and Jenna Bush Hager (L) meet Vietnamese students in Can Giuoc district, Long An province on December 9, 2019. - Michelle Obama and Julia Roberts visit to promote girls' education in Vietnam. (Photo by Nhac NGUYEN / AFP) (Photo by NHAC NGUYEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Former US First Lady Michelle Obama speaks to Vietnamese students in Can Giuoc district, Long An province on December 9, 2019. - Michelle Obama and Julia Roberts visit to promote girls' education in Vietnam. (Photo by Nhac NGUYEN / AFP) (Photo by NHAC NGUYEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Former US First Lady Michelle Obama (R) and actress Julia Roberts (L) meet Vietnamese students in Can Giuoc district, Long An province on December 9, 2019. - Michelle Obama and Julia Roberts visit to promote girls' education in Vietnam. (Photo by Nhac NGUYEN / AFP) (Photo by NHAC NGUYEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Former US First Lady Michelle Obama meets Vietnamese students in Can Giuoc district, Long An province on December 9, 2019. - Michelle Obama and Julia Roberts visit to promote girls' education in Vietnam. (Photo by Nhac NGUYEN / AFP) (Photo by NHAC NGUYEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Former US First Lady Michelle Obama (C) and actress Julia Roberts (1st L) meet Vietnamese students in Can Giuoc district, Long An province on December 9, 2019 - Michelle Obama and Julia Roberts visit to promote girls' education in Vietnam. (Photo by Nhac NGUYEN / AFP) (Photo by NHAC NGUYEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Former US First Lady Michelle Obama (C) and actress Julia Roberts (L) meet Vietnamese students in Can Giuoc district, Long An province on December 9, 2019 - Michelle Obama and Julia Roberts visit to promote girls' education in Vietnam. (Photo by Nhac NGUYEN / AFP) (Photo by NHAC NGUYEN/AFP via Getty Images)
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