The Most Expensive Things The Obamas Own

When Barack Obama became POTUS in 2009, he was a handsome 47-year-old full of hope. By the time it was over, he was still handsome — but 8 years older, with gray hair, and looking like he'd gone 12 rounds with Muhammed Ali. Which, figuratively, he kinda had. "...Obama faced many challenges — an economic collapse, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the continuing menace of terrorism," Whitehouse.gov writes.

Obama was forced to battle a tiresome war in D.C., too. Per Politico, his dream to end political division and inequality didn't come to fruition. Well, they say the road to hell is lined with good intentions. During 44's tenure, Republicans fought to block pretty much all legislation Obama tried to pass. Somehow, he still managed to bring the U.S. back from the brink, though. According to AmericanProgress.org, "Employment opportunities improved, the unemployment rate fell, wages eventually increased, and household debt dropped sharply." Although, of course, his successor took all the credit.

Per National Review, Obama's partially blamed for Trump's determination to become President — after ridiculing him in a roast during the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner. Roasting aside, Obama's eloquent public speaking is one of his best traits, along with comic timing, charm, intelligence, diplomacy and singing. So, it's hardly surprising the Obamas are now worth an estimated $70 million (per International Business Times). Dig out your birth certificate, dust off your pa'u, and prepare to get lei'd — we're taking a peek at the most expensive things the Obamas own. 'A' ole palikir!

Designer duds

Michelle Obama's style was front and center of her husband's presidency. Since Jackie Kennedy, no first lady has garnered so much attention over her clothing — except for Melania Trump's "I really don't care do u?" jacket. Unlike her predecessors, Obama didn't feel the need to conform or "power dress," at least not all the time. She could look just as ready for a boardroom battle as for a soccer mom school run. "In the public consciousness, the first lady is always either in a suit or something very conservative," fashion designer Tracy Reese told Insider. "Mrs. Obama really broke the mold in terms of how she chose to dress."

According to Harvard Business Review, when Obama stepped out, the world took note, resulting in a surge of sales. "...following 189 public appearances between November 2008 and December 2009, Michelle Obama created $2.7 billion in cumulative abnormal returns," they state.

"Her high-low fashion choices mix everyday, off-the-rack fare with custom creations from top designers whose gowns can run into five figures," CNBC notes. Best of all? Mrs. O gets to keep her fabulous frocks — or at least most of them. Going against popular belief, the president's wife doesn't get a clothing allowance, and she is expected to foot the bill herself. Some dresses are loaned out for special occasions, but there's no doubting that's one heck of a costly closet packed full of designer duds that are owned by the FLOTUS.

Kenwood crib

Barack and Michelle Obama fell in love, started a family, and launched a political career in Chicago, Illinois. Per Insider, Michelle Robinson was designated as Obama's mentor at the Sidley Austin law offices in 1989. Barack waited a whole four weeks before making his move — asking the 25-year-old out on a date, which Michelle told ABC News she initially thought was "tacky." However, the 28-year-old's infamous easy charm soon won the object of his affections over — and the rest, as they say, is history.

According to Glamour, the couple got engaged in 1991 and married in 1992. They had their first child, Malia, in 1998, around Obama's run for Congress, and their second, Sasha, in 2001. Three years later, Obama won the Illinois U.S. Senate seat. Their political rise to fame began, culminating in a moving and historic victory in 2008 when Barack Hussein Obama became the first Black President of the United States.

Despite uprooting and moving the family to Washington, D.C., the Obamas kept close ties with the state where their love story started. Specifically, the family home they had purchased in 2005, in the tony Chicago South Side neighborhood of Kenwood. The 6-bedroom, 6-bathroom, 6,243-square-foot single-family home is worth over $2 million at the time of this writing, Redfin estimates. The couple reportedly still owns the property, which they paid $1.65 million for — in addition to buying an adjacent plot of land for $104,500 (per FactCheck.org).

Timeless timepieces

Barack Obama never shies away from a sassy and satirical camera op — or mic drop. "My greatest strength? Probably that I'm always early," Obama boasts in a Clinton campaign video. "For years, I've been running early to all my press conferences," he deadpans. "Boy, that does really annoy the press." 

Little did the press know that having to wait for POTUS to arrive would be at the very bottom of their annoyance problem list just two years later. Obama's bogus early bird boasts were decidedly tongue-in-cheek. The Washington Post reports the president was "late by more than 35 hours" during 2014. But hey, cut the guy a break; it's not like he didn't have all of the USA, if not the whole world's problems, to also squeeze into his schedule somehow.

Forbes claims professionals "who wear a traditional watch" are more successful than their counterparts — citing an NBCI report that watch wearers "arrived significantly earlier" than those who rely on smartphones, sundials, the moon, etc. So, considering 44 owns several fancy watches, you'd think he'd be bang on the minute. Per IKnowWatches.com, among Obama's timepieces are a Tag Heuer 1500 series professional 200M ($1,000 and change on eBay); a special edition Jorg Gray JGC 6500 Quartz Chronograph that only Secret Service members can purchase — they bought one for their boss for his 46th birthday (regular cost, easily $300 or more; special edition price? fittingly, that's secret); and a Rolex Cellini 18k gold 50589 ($10,000 plus).

Costly canines

According to National Geographic, after the Obamas' Portuguese water puppy made its debut, the breed gained its "biggest publicity boom since [its] introduction into the U.S. in the late 1960s." Per Obama Foundation, Barack "promised his [two daughters] a dog win or lose after the election." Spoiler alert: Barack won, and he kept good on his puppy pledge.

Bo arrived in 2009. Apparently, the canines are like Pringles — but furry, with four legs. "People who love Portuguese water dogs say they are like potato chips; you can't have just one," American Kennel Club's Lisa Peterson told Nat Geo. "That bubbly, happy personality is the whole package." And, sure enough, Sunny joined the pack in 2013. So, what price for bubbly happiness? Well, not cheap. Per PetBudget.com, puppies cost around $2,200. When you add in the costs that accompany owning a pedigree over its supposed 12-year average lifespan, you're looking at splashing out anywhere from $62,000 to $124,515 total.

Sadly, Bo crossed the rainbow bridge in May 2021. Michelle posted a loving tribute on Insta: "As a family, we will miss Bo dearly. But we are thankful that he lived such a joyful life full of snuggles, games of fetch, and evenings spent lying on the couch," she wrote. "We also know we weren't the only ones who cared for Bo, and are grateful for all the love you showed him over the years. Please hug the furry members of your family a little closer tonight — and give them a belly rub from us."

Family D.C. digs

Being the president means you score a load of pricey presents. Per The New Yorker, the Obamas were given a boatload of sumptuous swag from foreign dignitaries. However, any gifts worth over $375 have to be declared. They're stored in the National Archives warehouse — unless the POTUS chooses to buy anything out of pocket. However, that doesn't mean presidents are left lacking in the dough department.

Departing the White House segues into entering a gold mine. Book deals, public speaking gigs, consultancy work, Hollywood deals — the earning opps are endless. So, it's nothing to splash out $8.1 million for a fancy family pad. And, that's what the Obamas did, snapping up an 8,200-square-foot, 8-bed, 9.5-bath home in the Washington, D.C., Kalorama neighborhood (per The Washington Post). The family rented the house before deciding to put down permanent roots as their daughter Sasha finished school. 

The Obamas are in good company — or not, depending on your political and social ideology. Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos is just around the corner. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner live in the hood and seem to be renting out their place, but we're guessing they wouldn't be enjoying any cozy couples' dinner parties, anyway. Other neighbors must be thrilled to have the Obamas on their (huge lawn and gated) doorstep. 

$4,000 Balenciaga boots

It must have smelt like sweet, sweet freedom to finally leave the White House confines after eight years in the spotlight with your every action and style statement debated, discussed, and dissected. Being the USA's first Black first lady, Michelle Obama felt even more pressure than her predecessors about the way she looked. "...there is simply no ignoring the fact that during these two terms, clothing played a role unlike any it had ever played before in a presidential administration," The New York Times noted.

Per The Week, Michelle Obama had an enormous effect on the nation's clothing purchase decisions during her term as FLOTUS. However, her influence skyrocketed, along with her boldness, post-politics. When Michelle said farewell to the White House, she let loose with her inner fashionista — and then some. People reports that during the final stop of Obama's promo tour for her memoir "Becoming," the author sat down with Sarah Jessica Parker. However, despite SJP's sequined LBD and ubiquitous Manolo Blahniks, all eyes were fixed firmly on Michelle Obama's glorious, glittery thigh-high $3,900 Balenciaga boots.

"The new center of our universe has taken her rightful place in the intergalactic realm," Glamour wrote. "And she has on a pair of thigh-high gold boots so incandescent, scientists recommend the use of special sunglasses to gaze at them, lest we burn our retinas." According to Vox, the boots quickly became a trending topic "on Twitter and were nearly sold out on the Balenciaga website" within 24 hours.

Keeping up with the Kennedys

Barack Obama didn't just gain a head of grey hair following two terms in office. The 44th President of the United States — along with Michelle and their daughters — has attained some pretty pricey properties, too. In addition to the Chicago crib the family acquired in 2005 and the Washington, D.C., family home they purchased in 2017 as they prepared for life post-White House, the Obamas also snapped up some prime real estate in Martha's Vineyard.

The island, located just south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, is famed for housing the sprawling Kennedy compound. It was also home to Taylor Swift for a hot minute when she dated Conor Kennedy. Not surprisingly, land doesn't come cheap on The Vineyard. Per CBS Boston, former FLOTUS Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' estate was placed on the market for $65 million in 2019. It was ultimately sold for the drastically reduced price of $27 million — to two non-profit groups — and upon the agreement, they transformed the property into public conservation land.

The Obamas' sprawling estate seems like a steal in comparison. Per People, they paid $11.75 million for their 29.3 acres of land, including a 6,892-square-foot mansion with "seven bedrooms, eight-and-a-half baths and several stone fireplaces." And, Barack and Michelle will still have plenty of opportunities for late-night ocean-front fireside politicking, despite the Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis land sale — as the Kennedy estate deal didn't include the 95 acres where the family's homes are located.

Priceless painting

Some possessions are literally priceless. During Barack Obama's presidency, a lot was written about his love for golf. In reality, Obama reportedly played 105 rounds — compared to his successor, who made "285 daytime visits to golf clubs" and played at least 142 rounds – over the same period of time (via Statista). Facts aside, knowing Barack's golf passion, Michelle conjured the perfect present.

Per CNN, Obama had been moved by the story of Valentino Dixon, which was featured on HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel." Dixon had been wrongfully convicted of murder. He served 27 years in the notorious Attica before being exonerated in 2018. Dixon had started painting golf courses during his 20th year behind bars. A retiring warden asked the inmate to paint his favorite golf hole — and it quickly became a passion, despite Dixon never actually having seen a golf course in real life.

According to Forbes, when Michelle learned of Dixon's painting, "Augusta The Beautiful," she swooped in and bought it for her hubby. Barack paid appropriate props on Insta. "For Christmas, Michelle surprised me with this drawing of the 12th hole at Augusta National by the terrific artist @ValentinoDixon. It's an incredible piece, but the story behind it is even better," 44 began. "I'm so proud to have one of his works to display," he concluded. Dixon details his story on his website. He also offers "Unsigned Print or a Limited Edition Signed and Numbered Print" copies of the original painting.

Bling ring upgrade

When Barack Obama originally asked Michelle Robinson to marry him after two years of dating, in 1991, the couple was still pretty much fresh out of Harvard. So, not surprisingly, money wasn't exactly raining down on them. But, Barack, being Barack, still managed to make the proposal a memorable and playful event. Michelle spilled the tea on their special night in her memoir. Explaining that they'd spent the night "quarreling" over dinner as Obama feigned reluctance to marry, the sparring suddenly came to an abrupt end as dessert arrived.

"Eventually, our waiter came around holding a dessert plate, covered by a silver lid. He slid it in front of me and lifted the cover. I was almost too miffed to even look down, but when I did, I saw a dark velvet box where the chocolate cake was supposed to be. Inside was a diamond ring," Michelle writes in "Becoming" (via Today). Despite their student loans and fledgling careers, Obama hadn't held back, splashing out on a one-carat diamond solitaire — which Closer Weekly valued at upwards of $5,000.

However, when the time came for her memoir promo tour, Mrs. Obama's engagement ring had upped its bling game. The carat had tripled in size, and the central rock was now surrounded by a cluster of smaller gems. "Depending on the quality and specific characteristics of the center diamond, we estimate the cost of the ring at $30,000 to $50,000," jewelry expert Kathryn Money told Closer.

$25,000 custom sneakers

Barack Obama was an outspoken proponent of the value of sports — talking the talk and walking the walk. "Sports has changed attitudes and culture in ways that seem subtle," Obama said during his last presidential speech for an official function, the Chicago Cubs winning the 2016 World Series (via Pro Football Hall of Fame). "Sports has a way sometimes of changing hearts in a way that politics or business doesn't."

Barack, known as "Barry" pre-politics days, was an avid baller. He played varsity basketball for Punahou High School — even winning the 1979 state championship. According to the school's coach, Obama had already developed many of the traits and skills that would serve him well in his future career. "He showed leadership and caring for his teammates," Chris McLachlin told NBC. "Those are qualities a president should have. Standing up for your buddies. Having their back. Speaking up for yourself."

So, it was fitting for Obama to be gifted his own custom-designed Nike sneakers in 2009. According to NBC Sports, Obama was in good company. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Giannis Antetokounmpo are just some athletes sporting signature Nikes. Per Forbes, the sports giants made two pairs of size 12.5 President Obama Player Nike Exclusive Hyperdunks. One was gifted to their inspirational namesake, and Nike held the other back. In February 2021, the hightops were listed on the auction house, Sotheby's newly created "Buy Now" sneakers section. So, how much would it set you back to shoot hoops like the Prez? A cool $25,000.

Totally tropical getaway

Despite Donald Trump's obsession with attempting to prove otherwise, Barack Obama was not born in Kenya. As evidenced by the birth certificate he provided for public scrutiny — and to end the "birther" conspiracy theory rumors – Obama was born on August 4, 1961, at 7:24 pm, in Kapiolani Hospital, Honolulu, Hawaii. Per BuzzFeed News, the president "has had a big impact on the Pacific island state that he hails from."

Obama has maintained close ties with the Aloha State, championing its food and culture and regularly vacationing there with his family. So, as they expanded their post-White House real estate portfolio, it's little surprise the Obamas set their sights on a piece of Hawaii. According to ProPublica, the chair of the Obama Foundation has purchased a swath of shoreline in Honolulu's majority native Hawaiian Waimanalo region. The multi-million dollar renovation project has locals up in arms, concerned about the impact of extensive building work on the beach and ecosystem.

But, the renovations continue unhindered. And apparently, the site is no stranger to VIPs and cameras. According to American Luxury, the $8.7 million piece of "tropical paradise" used to house the mansion that featured in the iconic 1980s TV crime drama "Magnum P.I." starring Tom Selleck. "The 9,000 sq. ft. villa known as Robin's Nest to the legions of fans of [the show] was razed to make way for a custom compound that is planned to include three houses and a state of the art security system," the outlet notes.

NBA ownership

Barack Obama's deep-seated love of basketball finally became a business interest for him in 2021. Sadly, it had nothing to do with his beloved Chicago Bulls. Instead, as per CNBC, the president became "a strategic partner" of the NBA Africa after purchasing an undisclosed stake in the continent's growing basketball entities.

"The NBA has always been a great ambassador for the United States — using the game to create deeper connections around the world, and in Africa, basketball has the power to promote opportunity, wellness, equality, and empowerment across the continent," Obama declared in an NBA statement. "By investing in communities, promoting gender equality, and cultivating the love of the game of basketball, I believe that NBA Africa can make a difference for so many of Africa's young people."

According to Africa.com, "Since its introduction in the 1960s, basketball has increasingly become popular and is played across the continent. Young African boys and girls love basketball and it's widely played in neighborhoods for fun, [and in] school competitions." However, shooting hoops still has some way to go if it wants to top Africa's most popular sporting pastimes. Soccer still leads the field, followed by rugby and cycling. Then, of course, there's athletics. Africa is renowned for its top-level, high-achieving track and field athletes. The continent's many sporting stars excel in long-distance races and regularly take home the gold at international events.

Glittering gems and jewels

Michelle Obama's jewelry influence rivals her impact on the fashion world. As Culture Trip writes, "[Obama] uses the media as a platform to celebrate the creativity of the artists whose work she wears." The site notes that FLOTUS is careful to match her accessories appropriately according to formalities and international cultural norms, showing the thought she puts into each piece.

However, just like her closet, Obama has to fund her jewelry box personally. This is no mean feat when you consider the diamonds, gems, crystals, historical rarities, and pearls she wore during her eight years in the White House. Sadly for Michelle, but not for democracy, perhaps, CBS News points out that the $71,468 worth of jewelry gifted by the Queen of Brunei remains in government hands, not the Obamas'.

InStyle lists some of the most memorable pieces from Michelle's personal collection, including diamond, amber, and rubellite tourmaline earrings by Bochic, a stunning, glittering Tom Binns crystal necklace, and a "fresh-water pearl and Swarovski crystal necklace" by Pieter Erasmus. But, it was Obama's gold "vote" necklace from the 2020 DNC convention that really packed a punch. "It never occurred to me at that point that her wearing the necklace during the DNC speech would convert to sales or people actually caring that much about the message — for something so subtle having such a big impact," designer Chari Cuthbert told CNBC.

$1.4 million Nobel mess

In 2009, Barack Obama scored the most esteemed accolade of all — the Nobel Peace Prize. As per the New York Post, the newly appointed POTUS "was among the 61 percent of Americans who believed he didn't deserve it."

"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," the Nobel Prize organization claimed in a statement. "His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population." They finished by echoing Obama's rally call "to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges."

An Associated Press report (via the CBC) points out that Obama had been in office for less than two weeks when the nomination decision was made. They claim the Obama administration was "angry" and "embarrassed" by the award announcement. Meanwhile, Barack Obama appeared to be just totally bewildered by the whole situation. Upon learning of the award, he stated, "To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who have been honored by this prize." Per Obama White House Archives, 44 quickly divided the $1.4 million that accompanies winning the award between as many charities as possible.