Barack Obama Admits His Marriage to Michelle Was Strained by His Presidency — Here's Why

Lois Oladejo
Nov 15, 2020
12:00 A.M.
Share this pen

Being President of the United States takes a significant toll on a person on all fronts. Barack Obama understands this toll more than most, and he details how his responsibilities affected his marriage.


Former President Barack Obama is gearing up to release his memoir, titled "A Promised Land." In an excerpt that is now available online, he discusses how the presidency affected his marriage.

In the excerpt, the former president explained that he could sense a significant tension between him and his wife, Michelle Obama. He explained that while this tension was subtle, he always knew it was there.

Barack Obama gives his wife Michelle a kiss as they close the Obama Foundation Summit together on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology on October 29, 2019. | Photo: Getty Images


President Obama explained that being the Commander-in-Chief invited a new set of frustrations to his life and marriage. These came from several sources, and being confined in the White House did not help matters.

Although the pair remains strong and committed, it took a great deal of effort for them to keep things that way. The former President writes:

"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."


He explained that some of the causes of tension included his preoccupation with work and the fact that some believed Michelle's role as First Lady was less important than his. There was also the fact that their family was the focus of several attacks. This could have been from the press, political rivals, and more.

The pair has gone to couple's therapy over the years, to stay on top of things.


Barack and Michelle have always been more open and vulnerable about their marriage issues, especially since they left the White House officially in 2017.

In December 2018, the former First Lady covered the monthly issue of Elle Magazine, where she discussed that they had faced several struggles even before the White House. In part, she said:

"When you get married and have kids, your whole plan, once again, gets upended. Especially if you get married to somebody who has a career that swallows up everything..."


Michelle also explained that the pair has gone to couple's therapy over the years, to stay on top of things. However, while therapy had helped them, she also realized that she needed to focus on finding happiness by herself.

Despite the many challenges, the Obama's have managed to handle themselves with grace, their marriage is now all the better. Last month, the couple celebrated their 28th anniversary.

In separate social media messages, they gushed over each other. With years spent outside the White House and the Washington political spotlight, the Obama's appear to have blossomed.