Michelle Obama says she ‘couldn’t stand’ husband Barack for 10 years

Former first lady says caring for their young daughters put strain on their marriage in TV interview promoting latest book

Former first lady Michelle Obama has said she “couldn’t stand” her husband for a decade while the couple’s children were young.

In frank comments to the Black news station Revolt TV last week, Obama – one of the most popular women in the United States – said that raising children had put strains on her three-decade marriage to Barack Obama, the US president for two four-year terms beginning in 2009.

“People think I’m being catty by saying this – it’s like, there were 10 years where I couldn’t stand my husband,” she told a round-table forum. “And guess when it happened? When those kids were little.”

Obama (58,) was speaking with Kelly Rowland, H.E.R., Winnie Harlow and Beyoncé's mother Tina Knowles-Lawson, about an imbalance in her marriage to Barack Obama while his political star was ascending and she was primarily looking after their daughters, Sasha and Malia, who are now in their 20s.


“And for 10 years while we’re trying to build our careers and, you know, worrying about school and who’s doing what and what, I was like, ‘Ugh, this isn’t even,’” Obama said. “And guess what? Marriage isn’t 50/50 – ever, ever.

“There are times I’m 70, he’s 30. There are times he’s 60, 40, but guess what?” she continued. “Ten years – we’ve been married 30. I would take 10 bad years over 30 – it’s just how you look at it. And people give up ... [saying], ‘Five years – I can’t take it’.”

Obama is promoting her new book, The Light We Carry. In the discussion about the difficulties of a marriage, she said that she and her husband hadn’t discussed how much work is required and “how hard it is even when you are madly in love with the person, even when everything works out right”.

When Barack Obama was elected president, the couple’s daughters were 10 and seven. In her book, the former first lady described how she and her husband learned that for all the “dreaming, preparing and planning for family life to go perfectly ... in the end, you’re pretty much just left to deal with whatever happens”.

“You can establish systems and routines, anoint your various sleep, feeding and disciplinary gurus from the staggering variety that exist,” Obama wrote. “You can write your family bylaws and declare your religion and your philosophy out loud, but, at some point, sooner rather than later, you will almost surely be brought to your knees, realising that despite your best and most earnest efforts, you are only marginally – and sometimes very marginally – in control.”

In her latest comments, she said: “Little kids, they’re terrorists. They have demands. They don’t talk. They’re poor communicators. They cry all the time.” – Guardian