Barack Obama Explores How His Presidency Caused “Tension” in His Marriage to Michelle Obama

In his new memoir, former President Barack Obama talks about quitting smoking thanks to his daughter Malia and also his high-powered position affected his relationship with First Lady Michelle Obama.

By Kaitlin Reilly Nov 13, 2020 12:53 AMTags
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In his third memoir A Promised Land, former President Barack Obama opened up about his marriage to former First Lady Michelle Obama as well as how his family was affected by his two terms in the White House. 

Barack and Michelle married in 1992. Their love story is so celebrated that a fictionalized account of their first date even received the movie treatment with 2015's Southside With You. However, that does not mean marriage was always easy for the power coupe.

In an excerpt from A Promised Land, per CNN, Barack spoke of how despite the fact that he and Michelle were "friends as well as lovers" in their marriage, he could "sense an undercurrent of tension in her" throughout much of his presidency. 

The politician wrote, "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."

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He also shared his worry that the days where "everything between us felt lighter, when her smile was more constant and our love less encumbered" would not return, even after he passed the torch on to the next president.

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The stress of his job also caused him to take up smoking, Barack wrote in his memoir. He said he was occasionally up to 10 cigarettes a day, and would attempt to find a "discreet location to grab an evening smoke" whenever possible. 

Ultimately, it was his daughter Malia Obama who got the former Senator to quit smoking. She frowned at "smelling a cigarette on my breath," Barack wrote, leading him to chew nicotine gum to break the habit. 

With the presidency now four years behind him, Barack likely has much to reflect on. A Promised Land hits shelves Nov. 17.