Former president George W. Bush and former First Lady Michelle Obama were caught in "a genuine expression of affection" for one another when they were pictured in an embrace last September in Washington, D.C., Bush said on Mar. 2.
The 70-year-old says he is friends with Michelle and has conversations with her when they are seated next to one another during official events. Recently, they attended the opening of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture and Nancy Reagan's funeral.
At the museum opening, Bush and Michelle were photographed embracing each other. The picture has since gone viral, the Daily Mail reports.
According to People, he maintains a solid, easygoing rapport with the former first lady, who took a shine to his sense of humor.
"Anybody who likes my sense of humor, I immediately like," Bush said.
In July, Bush and Michelle held hands while singing along to "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" during a memorial service for five Dallas police officers assassinated by a local sniper.
Bush was actively moving along to the music and acted jovial, which led some to criticize him for not keeping in line with the solemnity of the occasion.
"I can't remember where else I've sat next to her, but I probably have a few wise cracks and she seemed to like it okay," said Bush.
He continued: "I needle her a little bit and around her, I'm fairly lighthearted. [The Obamas] are around serious people all the time and we just took to each other."
Bush has been granting a series of interviews to the press so as to promote an upcoming exhibition of his oil paintings portraying U.S. military veterans.
The exhibition will be held at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas and will run from March 9 to Oct. 1 and feature 66 portraits as well as a four-panel mural.
The series is a tribute to the approximately 100 injured or traumatized members of the military that he got to know personally since wrapping up his presidential term in 2009.
The former president also released a book titled "Portraits in Courage: A Commander in Chief's Tribute to America's Warriors," on Feb. 28, which presents the personal stories of veterans and their portrait images.
Bush is using the exhibition and book to bring attention to the struggles of veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome and the rough transition back to civilian life.