Barack and Michelle Obama were very popular as president and first lady of the United States. And their popularity continues long after they left the White House. One of the primary reasons for this enduring popularity is that Barack and Michelle Obama seemed to present themselves as the perfect couple.
For example, in 2020 Barack celebrated Michelle’s 56th birthday by posting cute photo booth pictures of the two of them on Instagram. His adorable caption? “In every scene, you are my star.”
A couple of years before that, Michelle flattered Barack with a playlist on Twitter designed for her “one and only.” In turn, Barack responded with a cute picture of himself and Michelle with the comment that his wife “makes every day and every place better.”
However, no husband and no marriage can be this perfect. And thanks to various interviews and Michelle’s own podcast, we now know some secrets about her marriage and Barack Obama herself that are downright shocking.
Barack’s bad first impression
One of the first things people usually notice about Barack Obama is how handsome he is. Because of that, you might think that getting Michelle to fall in love with him was as easy as walking into the room. However, Michelle surprised us all by talking about what a bad first impression her future husband gave her!
In her 2018 best-selling memoir Becoming, she told us how she really felt when she first met Barack. Specifically, she saw him as “a guy with a big smile and a whiff of geekiness.” It’s not that he wasn’t cute, but she saw he had an inner nerd pretty close to the surface. And it soon became apparent that the inner nerd dictated how he dressed!
Critiquing Barack’s clothes
In that same book, Michelle burned Barack the way only a spouse can. To do so, she merely recounted what he was wearing on one of their early dates.
He was supposed to meet her at a bar. And once he arrived, this is the impression that Michelle had: “[Barack had] changed out of his work clothes, I noticed, and was wearing a white linen blazer that looked as if it’d come straight out of the Miami Vice costume closet. Ah well.”
To be fair to Michelle, white blazers really haven’t been in style since the 1980s. And considering how political opponents would later criticize Barack for wearing a tan suit, it seems fair to say that fashion is not Barack’s forte.
Barack and Michelle’s argument over… marriage?!
As we said before, the Obamas are the kind of power couple that most of us aspire to. Which makes it that much more shocking that one of their bigger fights was over whether they should get married in the first place!
The truth of this matter came out during an interview with The New Yorker in 2008. “We would have this running debate throughout our relationship about whether marriage was necessary,” Michelle said. “It was sort of a bone of contention, because I was, like, ‘Look, buddy, I’m not one of these who’ll just hang out forever.’”
Michelle obviously won this particular fight, and Barack eventually proposed during a dinner at the Chicago restaurant Gordon in 1991. When the wait staff brought out dessert for the two of them, she was surprised and delighted to see an engagement ring inside. And the rest is romantic history.
Michelle gets real in her podcast
If you like hearing Michelle drop the politics and pretense and start getting real, then you need to tune into her podcast. It launched in 2020 on Spotify, and she has massively entertaining interviews with different celebrity figures. Her first guest was Barack Obama, but we didn’t get the real tea on Barack until Michelle interviewed Conan O’Brien in her sixth episode.
When the topic turned to relationships, Michelle gave some relationship advice involving her surprising feelings about her husband. According to Stylist, she said, “People aren’t perfect. Marriage is hard. It’s a struggle for everyone.” Continuing, she claimed, “You’ve got to know that there are going to be long periods of time when you can’t stand each other. I said it on the book tour as a joke – there were times that I wanted to push Barack out of the window.”
She went on to point out that in any marriage “feelings will be intense. But that doesn’t mean you quit.” Her goal here was to offer advice to “young couples,” and she wasn’t afraid to get real to do it!
Barack is Michelle’s LeBron
If that last bit about wanting to “push Barack out of the window” surprised you, don’t worry. In that same interview, Michelle ended up giving her husband some very high praise indeed!
Barack Obama is a big basketball fan, and Michelle clearly knows how to speak her husband’s language. So when she spoke to Conan O’Brien about how to pick a great spouse, she launched into an extended sports metaphor.
As Hollywood Life reports, she said, “You don’t want any weak links, you don’t want somebody that you can dominate. You don’t want somebody who’s kind of a loser, right?” Continuing, she said, “If you’re on a team, you’ve got to be able to do everything — especially in basketball, it’s like, you would never pick somebody that says, ‘I only dribble. I don’t shoot, I don’t defend, I just dribble.’ If we looked at marriage as a real team, you want your teammate to be a winner. You want LeBron.”
And, sweetly, that is the conclusion Michelle arrived at when she looked back on a life and a marriage spent with Barack Obama. “I have married LeBron. My version of LeBron.” And just like that, Barack and Michelle became relationship goals once again!