Former President Barack Obama has a lot to say about his two terms in the White House in his new 768 page memoir A Promised Land. In a just released excerpt, he even reveals how being the leader of the free world took a toll on his now 28 year marriage to wife Michelle, 56. She remains one of the most beloved — and fun! — first ladies of all time, but behind the scenes, friends and even family treated her as “secondary” in importance to her husband, according to #44.
Obama writes that once they were in the White House as America’s first family along with daughters Malia, now 22, and Sasha, now 19, “I continued to sense an undercurrent of tension in her, subtle but constant, like the faint thrum of a hidden machine.” Not only had Michelle’s duties amplified as first lady, she was also the subject of “scrutiny and attacks.”
“It was as if, confined as we were within the walls of the White House, all her previous sources of frustration became more concentrated, more vivid, whether it was my round the clock absorption with work, or the way politics exposed our family to scrutiny and attacks, or the tendency of even friends and family members to treat her role as secondary in importance,” he continued.
That caused him to lay awake at night next to Michelle, thinking of life before his presidency, “when everything between us felt lighter, when her smile was more constant and our love less encumbered, and my heart would suddenly tighten at the thought that those days might not return.”
Barack and Michelle met as young attorneys working at the Chicago law firm of Sidley Austin, after both received their law degrees from Harvard. He left to become a community organizer, and she finally accepted his offer of a first date in the summer of 1989. The couple married on Oct. 3, 1992, and just celebrated their 28th wedding anniversary last month, where Barack professed on Instagram that Michelle is the “love of my life.” They made it through his two terms as president stronger than ever.
While they were in the White House, the couple’s outwards love for each other always seemed so strong, no matter what kind of adversity was facing the president and first lady from within. From his gushing birthday messages to his wife filled with adoration, to their sweet kisses and open displays of affection captured in photos from the time. Despite being two of the most powerful people in the world, they managed to still be total couple’s goals, despite their heavy workload and behind the scenes “frustration.”
Barack Obama’s memoir A Promised Land becomes available for sale on Nov. 17.