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Michelle Obama 'refused to date Barack' as she vowed to focus on career

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Michelle Obama: Expert praises former First Lady’s parenting

The 58-year-old has opened up on her bestselling memoir Becoming, describing her anxiety over whether “it was any good”, but was reassured by Barack who “put his arms around” Michelle, as he comforted the former First Lady of the United States. The author, who became a multimillionaire after Becoming’s release in 2018, admitted how she “laid awake anxious in my bed, worried that these little stories could bear the enormous load”. It would go on to become one of the world’s biggest selling books, cementing her legacy as an iconic figure for women to look up to.

In the book, Michelle’s initial closeness to Barack, 59, was not apparent, as she refused to get involved with him when they first met.

Speaking on Amazon Prime’s 2020 documentary Michelle Obama: Life After the White House, Keaver Brenai, the programme’s narrator, detailed how Michelle Robinson, as she was known before her marriage, was working as an associate at Chicago’s Sidley & Austin law firm, when she was assigned to mentor Barack, who was selected as a summer intern.

Barack had achieved the internship due to his “exceptional work as a law student at Harvard University”, with Michelle claiming Barack had been “like no one she had ever met”.

Ms Brenai said: “In her book Becoming, Michelle expresses that the growing praise that surrounded the confident young Barack seemed at odds with his easygoing attitude.”

Michelle Obama 'refused to date Barack' as she vowed to focus on career

Michelle Obama ‘refused to date Barack’ as she vowed to focus on career (Image: GETTY)

Michelle Obama, alongside Barack and children in 2004

Michelle Obama, alongside Barack and children in 2004 (Image: GETTY)

She added: “Despite a fluttering interest in this cool cat from Hawaii, Michelle being career focused refused to date. It’s safe to say Barack had other ideas.”

Professor Natasha Linstaedt, a government specialist from the University of Essex, explained how Barack was “definitely pursuing” Michelle, and while she “had her reservations”, the soon-to-be-politician “eventually won her over”.

Barack himself would also admit how Michelle refused to date him, telling The Oprah Magazine in 2007 that originally Michelle was “kind enough to take me to a few parties, and never once commented on my mismatched and decidedly unstylish wardrobe”.

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Professor Natasha Linstaedt, a government specialist from the University of Essex

Professor Natasha Linstaedt, a government specialist from the University of Essex (Image: AMAZON PRIME)

He added: “I asked her out. She refused. I kept asking. She kept refusing.”

Their relationship blossomed and became a huge part of Barack’s political success, with Michelle regularly on hand to act as his rock during his eight years in the White House.

Such was its influence, a plaque would be installed in Hyde Park Shopping Centre, in Illinois, to mark the spot where the couple had their first romantic encounter.

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Barack and Michelle share a moment as he launched his political career in 2004

Barack and Michelle share a moment as he launched his political career in 2004 (Image: GETTY)

It reads: “On our first date, I treated her to the finest ice cream Baskin-Robbins had to offer, our dinner table doubling as the curb. I kissed her and it tasted like chocolate.”

While Barack would eventually win Michelle over, she was “sceptical” of the hype surrounding him when he first entered the law offices in the late Eighties.

In Becoming, she wrote how Barack had “already created a stir at the firm” as some secretaries who had already met him when he came for an interview said that “on top of this apparent brilliance he was also cute”.

She continued: “In my experience, you put a suit on any half-intelligent black man and white people tended to go bonkers. I was doubtful he’d earned the hype.”

Michelle Obama: The plaque celebrating her first date with Barack

Michelle Obama: The plaque celebrating her first date with Barack (Image: GETTY)

Michelle Obama and Barack dancing together

Michelle Obama and Barack dancing together (Image: GETTY)

Although she remained unmoved after seeing a picture of Barack, which she described was a “less-than-flattering, poorly lit headshot of a guy with a big smile and a whiff of geekiness”, she would eventually warm to him.

She added: “Despite my resistance to the hype that had preceded him, I found myself admiring Barack for both his self-assuredness and his earnest demeanour.”

More recently, Michelle spoke to The Sunday Times about the memoir, admitting her pride in it and “what it means to me”.

She said how from the outset the book “had to include more than the shade of blue I choose for a china pattern or who was or wasn’t invited to a State Dinner”, adding: “This isn’t to say any of this was easy.

“Particularly the experience of baring this truest version of myself for the entire world to accept or leave behind.”



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