Sharnaz ShahidBarack and Michelle Obama will be leaving the White House at the end of this week after eight years
In his final speech as president, Barack Obama credited his wife First Lady Michelle Obama for "taking on a role she didn't ask for" during his two-term presidency. Turning towards his wife, he declared: "Michelle - for the past 25 years, you've been not only my wife and mother of my children, but my best friend. You took on a role you didn't ask for and made it your own with grace and grit and style and good humour." So here at HELLO!, we have decided to take a look at Barack and Michelle's love story...
Michelle was a young associate at a Chicago law firm when the couple first met in 1989. There was a huge buzz in the office about some hotshot law student from Harvard and she was asked to be his mentor. "First I thought 'what kind of name is Barack Obama,'" she remembered. "And I found out he grew up in Hawaii. I found that very strange as a girl who grew up on the south side of Chicago. My assumption was – this guy has got to be kind of weird. Kind of a little nerdy."
For their first date, the couple went sightseeing in Chicago before they watched Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing at the cinema. Afterwards, Michelle drove Barack back to his apartment. "I offered to buy her an ice cream cone," the President recalled. "I asked if I could kiss her. It tasted of chocolate." Michelle confessed she was immediately smitten, saying: "By the end of the day it was over. I was sold."
A couple years later, Barack popped the question at the now-closed Gordon's restaurant in Chicago. "We were at a restaurant having dinner to celebrate the fact that he had finished the bar," Michelle told ABC News. "And that was supposedly the reason. And then the waiter came over with the dessert and a tray. And there was the ring. And I was completely shocked."
In 1998, the couple welcomed their first child, Malia, and in 2001, before their second daughter Sasha arrived. The politician revealed Michelle was "pretty fed up with raising our children alone and beginning to question my priorities" in his book The Audacity of Hope. "This was sort of the eye-opener to me, that marriage is hard," his wife told The New York Times of that period. "But going into it, no one ever tells you that. They just tell you, 'Do you love him?' 'What's the dress look like?'"
All the hard work paid off in 2004 when Barack won his bid for a senate seat. He celebrated with Michelle and their daughters Sasha, then three, and Malia, then six. In February 2007, Barack announced his candidacy for president of the United States, and Michelle was ready to give her full support. The pair looked every inch the winning team as they celebrated his victory as the Democratic nominee in June 2008.
In his victory speech after becoming his country's first African American President in 2008, Barack paid tribute to his loyal wife. "I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last 16 years," he told the crowd."The rock of our family, the love of my life, the nation’s next first lady, Michelle Obama."
Even though he's one of the most powerful people in the world, its clear Barack values the opinion of his wife above all others when it comes to personal matters. "Michelle is one of the smartest people I know. She is my chief counsel and adviser," said the US leader. "I would never make big decisions without asking her opinion. Certainly about my career and my life."
When Barack was re-elected as President in 2012, the politician shared a beautiful picture of him and his wife embracing with a message which simply read: "Four more years."
After two decades of marriage, their bond is clearly stronger than ever. He previously told TV host Barbara Walters: "I like lavishing her with all kinds of attention when she deserves it." In 2012, Michelle and Barack were caught on the Kiss Cam during a basketball match between the American Olympic team and Brazil's players.
On National Best Friends Day in 2015, the president took to Twitter and posted a picture of himself with his wife, Michelle. In the caption, he gushed: "Celebrate #NationalBestFriendsDay with the person who brings out the best in you."
Earlier this month, Barack touched upon his wife's responsibilities as being his First Lady. "She's thrived as a first lady, but it's not her preference," he told CBS. "And so … she was the hardest sell. And she never fully embraced being in the public spotlight, which is ironic, given how good she is. But having said that, she would acknowledge and I certainly feel that we just have a lot of memories here. You know, our kids grew up here. Some of our best friends have been made here in this place. There have been moments that were highlights for us that are going be hard to duplicate."