Michelle Obama opens up about marriage troubles, ‘rage’ at Barack

September 10, 2019

On the surface, Barack and Michelle Obama seem like the ideal political power couple.

But in her massively successful memoir, Becoming, Michelle Obama opens up about trouble in her relationship with the former president. The two went through couples therapy, and in one shocking episode, Michelle Obama recounted saying that she had “nothing in common” with Barack while away on a trip in Kenya before they wed.

Michelle Obama opens up about “rage”

With millions of dollars to their name and a celebrity on the level of Jay-Z and Beyoncé, the Obamas are virtual royalty in the liberal universe. Years after leaving office, the Obamas continue to sell out speaking events, and Michelle Obama’s book is already one of the best-selling autobiographies of all time.

But if their lives seem perfect from the outside, Michelle Obama dispelled the illusions in her memoir. In a shocking anecdote from her book, Michelle recalled “rage” filled arguments with Barack when the two were visiting Kenya to see Barack’s half-sister.

“I’m so angry at Barack. I don’t think we have anything in common,” Michelle recalled saying. But the couple evidently set aside their differences and married in 1992. They had two daughters, Sasha and Malia and went on to become an iconic political duo.

In another revealing anecdote, Michelle said that she presented Barack with an ultimatum: he could either come around to communicating with her by phone, or she would look for “another guy.” Barack was fond of dashing off letters to his wife in the old-fashioned way of another century, but she convinced him to stop, or else. She says that she was only half-joking about the threat.

Marriage counseling with Barack

But troubles continued in their relationship, Michelle revealed. At one point, the two went to marriage counseling to patch things up. Michelle confessed that she wrongly saw therapy as a way to “fix” things she didn’t like about her husband. But therapy humbled her and got her to realize she wasn’t perfect, either.

“I was one of those wives who thought, ‘I’m taking you to marriage counseling so you can be fixed, Barack Obama.’ Because I was like, ‘I’m perfect.’ I was like, ‘Dr. X, please fix him,'” she told Jimmy Fallon last year. “And then, our counselor looked over at me. I was like, ‘What are you looking at? I’m perfect.'”

It certainly seems that the couple have some things in common — charisma, sure, but a healthy dose of narcissism as well. Barack Obama’s self-regard is more pompous and refined than that of Trump, but Obama is no less an egoist.

According to Michelle, it took some wrangling to get Barack to propose. Barack didn’t “see the point” in the commitment of marriage, which infuriated her. The two argued over the topic repeatedly before he finally asked for her hand.

For her part, Michelle Obama certainly hasn’t been keeping their past troubles in paradise a secret. She opened up about her marriage counseling with Barack while promoting her book last fall, saying that the two couldn’t be the “role models” many saw them as unless they told the “truth” about their marriage and shared a lesson with young people: that “marriage is work.” Michelle has said that she worries young people will look at them and think that marriage is easy, which probably says more about the couple’s extremely high self-image than what young people actually think about marriage.

Obviously marriage takes work, like all serious commitments. But things certainly can get tough when husband and wife both have tremendous egos.

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Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University and has contributed to The Daily Caller and The Stony Brook Press.