Barack Obama Reveals During Oprah Interview How His Marriage Hit ‘Rough Patches’ During Presidency

Barack Obama Reveals During Oprah Interview How His Marriage Hit ‘Rough Patches’ During Presidency

The former president discusses this plus his life in the White House in a new AppleTV+ interview.

Published 2 weeks ago

Written by BET Staff

You never know what’s going to happen when two, old friends get together. Such was the case when former President Barack Obama sat down (virtually) with Oprah Winfrey for a revealing new interview promoting his new memoir on AppleTV+.

Obama told Winfrey there were “rough patches” in his marriage while he served as president, but he and Michelle Obama were ultimately brought closer by the challenges they faced together.

"I think a lot of couples understand and have experienced when you've got external stress and pressure that in some ways can simultaneously bring you closer together in a marriage, but it can also put strains on the marriage — and our marriage was no different," Obama told Winfrey, according to Today.com.

The 44th president spoke about his memoir, “A Promised Land,” released on November 17 which details his presidency and aspects of his personal life while serving. There’s a difference in expecting your life to be so public and actually experiencing the glare of being under a microscope, constantly monitored and following necessary protocols, which had an impact.

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"The fact is that I had to work a lot. I didn't have a day off. Even when we're on vacation I'm still getting that presidential daily briefing. We can't do anything spontaneous. If I want to take Michelle out on a date, it involves potentially a week worth of planning, and you still have the press corps in a van right outside the restaurant."

"There's very little privacy," he continued. "You have people basically in your house at all times. Michelle herself was under constant scrutiny, and because my presidency corresponded with the explosion of social media, she was subject — and sometimes our kids were subject and I obviously was constantly subject to the kinds of commentary that didn't affect me as much, had more of an effect on her.

"And so all of those things, I think, added up, particularly since she wasn't the one who chose this life. We went through our rough patches in the White House as she's written about and she's talked about."

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The couple maintained a bond through the stresses of being president and First Lady, which kept their marriage, and their family, together. But they’ve also both admitted that they had help along the way. 

"I'll tell you the thing I think we were good about was talking stuff through, never losing fundamental love and respect for each other and prioritizing our kids," said Obama. "The other thing that helps, and I write about this in the book, is having my mother-in-law, Mrs. Marian Robinson. She kinda kept things going, and I'm sure that there were times where Michelle was furious at me, but she'd go up to the third floor, Mrs. Marian was sitting there. She, I know, defended her son-in-law more often than I was aware of. Kept me out of trouble."

Barack Obama: A Promised Land was released Nov. 17 by Crown Publishing Group.

Photo Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

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