How Barack Obama's Presidency Affected His Marriage

The marriage between former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama is #couplegoals for many supporters who witnessed their eight years leading the country and raising kids in the White House. The Obamas have previously shared details about their wedding day and other stories about their relationship, but the 44th president's third memoir — due out Nov. 17, 2020 — delves deeper into the adversity their marriage endured during his time in office. 

In A Promised Land, former President Obama reveals that he sensed that his partner was struggling behind the scenes. He writes (via CNN), "And yet, despite Michelle's success and popularity, I continued to sense an undercurrent of tension in her, subtle but constant, like the faint thrum of a hidden machine. 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." 

Let's take a closer look at the ways the presidency affected the Obamas' marriage.

Barack Obama writes about a 'lighter' time in his marriage

The love story of Barack and Michelle Obama has been admired by many, and in 2015, Hollywood capitalized off that interest in a film titled Southside With You, based on the couple's first date story (via E! news). But former President Obama is now revealing that his time in office took a heavy toll on their marriage.

In his 2020 memoir, A Promised Land, he shares intimate moments (via CNN): "lying next to Michelle in the dark, I'd think about those days 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."

It's been about four years since the Obamas moved out of the White House. "He doesn't spend any time at all wishing he were back in the Oval Office," one of his senior advisors, Valerie Jarrett, told NBC News in 2018. "He is just very much enjoying the new chapter of his life, and he's had a chance to spend real quality time with Mrs. Obama and his family."