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During his tenure as the 44th President of the United States, a lot of things kept Barack Obama up at night. If it wasn’t Afghanistan or the economic crisis on his mind, it was his strained marriage to First Lady Michelle Obama. In a new sit-down interview with People, Obama detailed how much his political aspirations put a damper on his marriage.
“Michelle very much believed in the work I did but was less optimistic about what I could get done… She’s more skeptical about politics and more mindful of the sacrifices to the family,” he told the outlet. Obama’s presidency came with thrills and obstacles, but for Michelle, “the pressure, stress, of needing to get everything right, to be ‘on’ at every moment” became a heavy burden for her to carry.
Obama admits he recognized his wife’s unhappiness and his easygoing attitude towards things didn’t exactly make her feel supported. “I tend to be ‘uh, that’ll be fine,’ and I worry a little bit less, just temperamentally,” he adds. He continues: “There were times where I think she was frustrated or sad or angry but knew that I had Afghanistan or the financial crisis to worry about, so she would tamp it down.”
It took leaving The White House for good for the couple to finally breathe a sigh of relief, as the former First Lady was able to be more open and vulnerable about how she felt during their White House years. “You know the old adage, ‘if mom’s happy, everybody’s happy’? It very much applies in our household,” he jokingly told the outlet. Now, Obama says the couple’s post-White House life brought them closer together and allowed them “to be friends again” since their daughters are much older now and Michelle doesn’t have to be “supermom” all the time.
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