Tragic Details That Have Come Out About Sasha And Malia Obama

Being daughters of a U.S. president seems like it would come with some perks. From being able to meet some of the most influential people to traveling the world, there are clear benefits. However, as glamorous as it all may seem, there are downsides to being a public figure. Sasha and Malia Obama know a thing or two about that.

In 2008, when Barack Obama won the presidency, Sasha and Malia's lives changed forever. At just seven years old, Sasha became the youngest child to move into the White House since John F. Kennedy Jr. Malia wasn't much older at 10 years old when the Obama family moved into the famous residence. Michelle Obama commented on how huge the adjustment was for the two girls on the "Michelle Obama: The Light Podcast." She said, "It's like, plucking these little girls out of our normal life on the South Side of Chicago ... and then, putting them in a historic mansion with butlers and maids, and florists, and gardeners, and Secret Service, and then trying to make sure that they understood boundaries, understood responsibility."

Over the years, people have watched the two girls transform into grown women and Sasha and Malia have done a good job of putting smiles on their faces for photo ops and major events. But as happy as they may seem, the truth is, the two girls have had to deal with some tragic situations.

Sasha Obama dealt with a serious health issue

Sasha Obama had to deal with a scary situation as a small child. In 2013, Michelle Obama opened up about how she recognized something was wrong with Sasha not long after they had welcomed her into the family. She shared in an interview with Rev. Al Sharpton (via NBC News), "I will never forget. It was a day when, you know, one hour she was fine, she was normal, she was happy, doing everything I was used to her doing and the next hour she was crying inconsolably, and that just wasn't like her. And I did everything." After countless attempts of trying to figure out what was wrong, Michelle knew Sasha had to see a professional, and it was at a doctor's visit that they discovered she was dealing with a serious health issue.

In 2012, Barack Obama told his supporters on the campaign trail about how Sasha was diagnosed with meningitis at three months old. He shared (via Politico), "People ask me what was the hardest time in my life — they ask, well what about during the debt ceiling debate and this and that and the other thing. Sasha got meningitis when she was three months old," he continued, "I still remember going to the hospital together and they had to give her a spinal tap." The spinal tap helped diagnosis her meningitis, which luckily, Sasha was able to overcome.

Malia Obama received backlash for first film premiere

Malia Obama did not get a warm welcome when she took on the film industry, and it wasn't because she used a different name. In January 2024, the eldest of the Obama children decided to premiere her new film, "The Heart" at the Sundance Film Festival. Obama, who wrote and directed the film, was excited to be sharing the project with the public, sharing in a Sundance interview on YouTube, "The film is about lost objects and lonely people and forgiveness and regret, but I also think it works hard to uncover where tenderness and closeness can exist in those things," she continued, "We hope you enjoy the film and it makes you feel a bit less lonely, or at least reminds you not to forget about the people who are." But as much as Obama may have hoped that people would love the film, it was the opposite reaction.

Obama was trashed online by critics who watched the movie, many of which tied her to her famous father, Barack Obama. One user on Letterboxd wrote, "Honoring her father's legacy by dropping a giant bomb and not receiving any criticism for it." People on X, formerly known as Twitter, also critiqued Malia for venturing into the world of filming. One person wrote, "Nepo baby strikes again." Unfortunately, this criticism isn't something new to Malia.

Malia Obama was ripped apart for her smoking habits

Malia Obama's life has been under a microscope from the moment Barack Obama became president. Unfortunately, this has made it difficult for the film enthusiast to live a normal life. Everything she does becomes headline news, and when she took up smoking, she was ripped apart online.

In 2016, media outlets reported that Malia was spotted smoking marijuana at the music festival, Lollapalooza. News of Malia smoking did not sit well with the public, many of whom shared their opinions online, and blamed her behavior on her dad, Barack. One person wrote, "Remember when Obama said Trump was a bad father? Malia Obama has been caught smoking weed."

The backlash she faced only got worse when a video captured her taking up a bad habit that she may have picked up from her dad. In 2017, a year after she was seen smoking weed, Malia was spotted smoking a cigarette. Once again, her habits fueled criticism from the public. One person wrote, "The excuse, 'she's just a kid, leave her alone.' The Obama daughters are public figures, that's why taxpayers are charged with her security. Her poor conduct represents her family and sets her up for harsh criticism. It speaks volumes that her parents overprotected her instead of instilling awareness, she simply lacks dignity." Seeing Malia smoke upset many and this backlash is something she has had to deal with ever since entering the spotlight.

Sasha Obama weight was critiqued online

Sadly, Malia Obama isn't the only one who's faced criticism from the public. Sasha Obama has dealt with her share of online trolls. After the paparazzi also caught her smoking, it wasn't the cigarette that people had a problem with, but her looks. In the photo, Sasha went makeup free as she wore oversized pants with a multicolored bikini top. She wasn't afraid to show off a little skin, but this only fueled haters to talk about her appearance. In response to the photos of Sasha, one X user wrote, "I thought the Obama's had a gym at home." One after another, comments about Sasha's body flooded the internet. One person harshly stated, "She certainly doesn't have any body image issues does she ..." But this user's mean take about Sasha couldn't be more wrong.

In February 2020, Michelle Obama opened up about how her daughters sometimes struggle with body image issues. She shared on Oprah Winfrey's — Oprah's 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus Tour (via People), "I told my daughters, because as they're getting older, they start to judge themselves and it's interesting when they talk about, 'I can't fit in my jeans that I had last year.' I said, 'But you're a whole other year older. You're now becoming a woman. You don't have a child's body.'" Michelle tried putting things into perspective, but it can't be easy when online trolls are constantly criticizing your body. Sasha and Malia have clearly endured enough without adding body-shaming to the mix.