Hillary Clinton opens about the gutsy decision to stay in her marriage in new docuseries

In the Apple TV+ docuseries Gusty, Secretary Hillary Clinton and her co-host, daughter Chelsea Clinton, travel around the world interviewing other inspiring and change-making women. The ongoing fight for women’s rights has never felt more urgent, and the series tackles the personal and public battles that women fight every day. Over 8 episodes, the duo sits down with reverends, firefighters, activists and mothers. There’s also plenty of star power from celebs like Amy Schumer, Kim Kardashian, Gloria Steinem, and Amber Ruffin.

“We view gusty as those core values that people need to have — resilience, determination, persistence, courage — to get through life, to get up when you’re knocked down to deal with the setbacks and disappointments of any life,” says Clinton.

The series, which is based their New York Times bestseller, “The Book of Gutsy Women,” highlights women from various backgrounds who have done something extraordinary by being unapologetically themselves. Like Shannon Foley Martinez, a former white supremacist from Georgia who uses canoe trips down the Broad river to help rehabilitate women leaving hate groups.

After a life in politics, Gutsy gives viewers a chance to see another side of Hillary and Chelsea Clinton. Their chemistry is organic, with Chelsea routinely teasing her mother, and they each open up about the personal obstacles they’ve had to overcome to be gusty in their own lives. In episode 4, Clinton sits with with Revered Whittney Ijanaten, a queer Black Reverend who marries couples from all walks a life. The conversation quickly turns to Clinton's own relationship, where she reveals that the gutsiest thing she ever did was decide to stay in her marriage, a choice she says isn’t right for every woman.

Video transcript

HILLARY CLINTON: We're trying to authentically convey the gutsiness of these women. It's only fair when they ask us something hard about the toughest decision I've made to stay in my marriage that we be as honest as we can be because that's what we want.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: I'm Brittany Jones-Cooper, and I'm here with Secretary Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton to talk about their new Apple TV+ series, "Gutsy." In this eight part docuseries, you guys interview everyone from a female firefighter to Gloria Steinem. Secretary Clinton, how do you define "Gutsy?" And which guests surprised you the most?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, we view "Gutsy" as those core values that people need to have, resilience, determination, persistence, courage, to get through life, to get up when you're knocked down, to deal with the setbacks and disappointments of any life.

One of the most surprising is the woman we went canoeing with in Georgia, who was a white supremacist, because she left that movement of hate and discrimination to try to live a different life. And she's now trying to reprogram others to help them get beyond all of that. But more than that, we're looking for women who are gutsy, not just on behalf of themselves, but on behalf of others.

We had two-way conversations with the women we were interviewing. But we kind of want a two-way conversation with people watching it. And we hope it sparks a lot of conversations in families and in groups of friends and everybody else.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Secretary Clinton, speaking of that give and take, you interview a reverend in the "Rebel Hearts" episode, where you open up about one of the gutsiest decisions you've had to make in your life, which was the decision to stay in your marriage.

- You have a marriage that has been on public display since the beginning. You said the gutsiest thing you ever did was stay in your marriage.

HILLARY CLINTON: That doesn't mean that's right for everybody.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Why did you want to open up about that and share how personal that decision was for you?

HILLARY CLINTON: Because I felt like in the series, we were asking very personal questions of the women that were being highlighted. We didn't have any script. Nothing was off limits. And when she asked me that question, I felt like I had to be as open about my own life as she had been and others had been. There's so many divisions in our country right now, Brittany. And people are not talking or listening. And I'm hoping that this series maybe can spark some real soul searching on the part of people.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Chelsea, I know in the first episode, you reveal your strained relationship with comedy after years of jokes being made at your expense, especially around things like your hair and your appearance. How did those jokes impact your self-identity? And how does it feel for you to get to speak up about that now?

CHELSEA CLINTON: I think thankfully because there was so much, and it came from people who were on the right or people you might think were on the left, and it came from talk show hosts and people who were professional comedians, it helped me realize this was not about me and also how just weird is it that adults are making fun of a kid. It's just weird. And I know that we disagree about so much in this country. But I hope that we can agree that you shouldn't make fun of children.

So thankfully, this episode really taught me a lot because for so long, I had thought, well, comedy isn't really funny. I would think it's probably mean-spirited. And this was really illuminating for me. And I learned a lot about myself. And I learned a lot about comedy. And I have a completely new appreciation. And I now thankfully have some favorite comics.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: I love that. That's progress. But I also think you're forcing a lot of us to look at what we think is funny and to imagine who that's impacting. So I think it works both ways there. Chelsea, someone who is unapologetically herself is Meg Thee Stallion, who you guys interviewed and painted with. So what did you learn from Meg? And what are you unapologetic about?

CHELSEA CLINTON: Truly what struck me, Brittany, about Megan is just how much she refuses to concede her joy, that she is, yes, unapologetically herself. She is unapologetically herself as an artist, as an activist, and what she hopes to do kind of with reforming health care and kind of the dignity of life for older people in her home community and also that she just has refused to have her joy taken from her by the people who want to tear her down, who don't like the fact that she just refuses to be anything but herself in all settings.

And that really struck me, because I think sometimes we think, particularly as women, that we have to dampen our joy, that somehow our joy is what is actually most threatening. And so to just see her be so joyful and listen to that joy in the hours we spent with her, it's like, oh, wow, like, I need to remember to find my joy too.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: It was so great to meet both of you. I want to thank you for joining us today and remind everyone out there that they can watch "Gutsy" on Apple TV+.