Nancy Reagan Through the Years – on the Cover of PEOPLE

The former first lady posed for PEOPLE multiple times before, during and after her years in the White House

FEBRUARY 1976

Back during Ronald's first run for the presidency, in '76, to contest Gerald Ford's hold on the Republican nomination, PEOPLE called Nancy a "primary asset." She spoke honestly of her transition to public life: "It was very hard for me in the beginning. I never expected it," she said. "I think the biggest thing you give up is privacy."