Michelle Obama refused to date Obama because they worked together. So he quit his job.

Michelle and Barack Obama have been married for 30 years so if they’re shelling out relationship advice, I’ll be sitting front row with a pen in hand.

The couple that pretty much embodies the term ‘couple goals’ continue to be a beacon of enduring love as they reach their pearl anniversary. But despite their very public profiles that weave a picture of having a perfect relationship, behind closed doors over the decades they’ve endured hardships too. Yes, they were once the President and First Lady of the United States of America, but they’re also human too.

Watch Barack and Michelle on their First Meal Together. Post continues after the video.

Video via Youtube.

Like any couple they’ve had their ups and downs, but did you know they almost never made it off the ground? Back in 1989 the pair met while both working at Chicago law firm, Sidley Austin and were working in close proximity with Michelle assigned as Barack’s adviser. 

The then 28-year-old was taken by his beautiful colleague, telling O, The Oprah Magazine in 2007, “I remember being struck by how tall and beautiful she was.” 

He was so smitten by 25-year-old Michelle he continued to make advances that were not reciprocated in the least. “I asked her out. She refused. I kept asking,” he said. “She kept refusing.”


On Michelle’s part she wasn’t the least bit interested in pursuing anything romantic with her colleague. She was laser focused on her career and knew that a fling might interfere with her trajectory as a top lawyer. “Not once, though, did I think about him as someone I’d want to date,” she reminisced in her memoir, Becoming. “For one thing, I was his mentor at the firm. I’d also recently sworn off dating altogether, too consumed with work to put any effort into it.”

But Barack knew this girl was special. So special in fact, he was willing to risk it all. He removed all obstacles, quit his job at the law firm, and gave it one more shot. He asked her out again and she said yes.

The years that follow read like a fairytale. On their first date they ate ice-cream and shared a first kiss sitting curbside. In 1992 they were married and six years later they welcomed their first daughter, Malia in 1998. Then in 2001 their second daughter, Sasha, was born, completing their family.


Michelle Obama recently celebrated Malia's birthday.

In 2008 Barack Obama was elected president, thrusting their family into the spotlight and making history as the first African American leader of America.

The Obamas instantly became the most famous and recognisable family in the world. With that kind of intense attention it comes as no surprise that behind the picture perfect images that were beamed out across the world, within The White House halls, was a married couple dealing with issues just like any other couple. Only magnified on a giant stage.

In an interview with Gayle King on CBS Mornings back in April of this year, the 59-year-old opened up about her marriage journey. She candidly responded to a quote she made in 2022 where she said she fell out of love with Barack for 10 years. “People think I’m being catty by saying this – it’s like, there were 10 years where I couldn’t stand my husband,” she said on Revolt TV. “And guess when it happened? When those kids were little.” 

Speaking to King she doubled down on those original sentiments but said the low points are all part and parcel of an enduring marriage. “If I fell out with him for 10, and we had (a) great 20 years, I’d take those odds anytime,” she said. “I share these things because marriage is hard. And a lot of young people quit on marriage over things that are just a part of the commitment.”


In 2017 the Obamas moved into a new phase of their life as they left The White House and began their next journey. While no longer official public servants they’ve gone on to continue doing what they do best by inspiring people through books, speeches, podcasts, documentaries, charities and helping their children navigate adulthood. Malia, 25, making a name for herself in the entertainment industry and Sasha, 22, recently graduating from university with a degree in sociology, Michelle and Obama have become empty-nesters. Even though their kids are all but grown up, they still work on their roles as parents together as a team.

"He's still typical [dad]. You have these weird panic thoughts that your girls are out living in this messy world," she said in an interview with People magazine. "And so, you think about crazy things you want to make sure you tell them. It's like, 'Remember, don't walk alone at night!' Barack sent them an email about earthquake preparedness because they're living in California. He's a big article sender, and we all just read 'em and laugh."

After 30 years of marriage they’ve proven that remaining honest and realistic about the expectations you place on your partner are paramount to a long-lasting partnership. They might not have always gotten it right but they keep showing up for each other. Cheers to the Obamas and here’s to another 30.

Feature Image: Obama Robinson Family archive. 

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