Michelle Obama Talks Courtship and Counseling With Husband Barack Obama
By Paige Gawley
Raymond Hall/GC Images
Michelle Obama is speaking out about love, kids and the current presidential administration.
On Sunday, the 54-year-old former first lady spoke to Robin Roberts ahead of the release of her new book, Becoming, which is due out Nov. 13. Obama held nothing back in the interview, speaking candidly about meeting her husband, President Barack Obama, the lust she feels for him and their struggles to conceive.
The couple, who tied the knot in 1992, met when she mentored him at Sidley Austin LLP, a law firm in Chicago, Illinois. She was hesitant to start up a relationship with one of the firm's few black summer associates, but he was persistent.
"He was like, 'You're crazy. We should date. I like you. You like me,'" she told Roberts. "I like that about him. He was very straightforward."
That eventually led to an ice cream date, where the couple shared their first kiss.
“He played it real smooth," Obama recalled. “He just leaned in for a kiss. And that really was it. You know, from that kiss on ... it was love. And he was my man."
In an excerpt from the book obtained by ABC News, Obama writes that "as soon as I allowed myself to feel anything for Barack, the feelings came rushing -- a toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment and wonder."
During the interview Roberts pointed out that "lust" isn't something that former first ladies tend to discuss, but for Obama it was a no-brainer.
"I don’t know what to tell you,” she said. “It was there. It still is. I love my husband a lot."
That love didn't make the Obamas untouchable, though. They struggled with infertility through the years, suffering one miscarriage and conceiving their two daughters -- Malia, 20, and Sasha, 17 -- through in-vitro fertilization.
“I felt lost and alone and I felt like I failed because I didn't know how common miscarriages were because we don't talk about them. We sit in our own pain, thinking that somehow we’re broken," she said. "... I realized that as I was 34 and 35. We had to do IVF [in-vitro fertilization]. I think it's the worst thing that we do to each other as women, not share the truth about our bodies and how they work and how they don't work."
In addition to fertility struggles, the couple also had marital difficulties, even seek counseling at one point.
"Marriage counseling for us was one of those ways where we learned how to talk out our differences. What I learned about myself was that my happiness was up to me. And I started working out more. I started asking for help, not just from him, but from other people. I stopped feeling guilty," she said. "I know too many young couples who struggle and think that somehow there's something wrong with them. And I want them to know that Michelle and Barack Obama, who have a phenomenal marriage and who love each other, we work on our marriage. And we get help with our marriage when we need it."
Aside from her personal life, Obama also spoke to her very public life on the campaign trail with her husband, which she called "nasty times."
"People called me Barack's baby mama. Accused me of not loving my country... Told me I was angry," she said. "It was the first time I really experienced someone taking my voice and balling it up and distorting it. And in a way, I was, like, 'This isn't me. Wait, wait, people. This isn't who I am.'"
Though she previously stated that she simply let the comments slide off her back, Obama has now revealed how much they truly hurt. "I don't think we do each other a service by pretending like hurtful things don't hurt. And that's what I've come to," she said.
That hurt continued when Donald Trump was elected as president in 2016. In her book, Obama calls Trump a "misogynist" and admits that she "stopped even trying to smile" at his inauguration, an event she thinks "didn't reflect the president's reality or ideals." But, Obama told Roberts, that all of that was secondary once the voters had spoken.
"Being the commander-in-chief is a hard job. And you need to have discipline and you need to read and you need to be knowledgeable. You need to know history. You need to be careful with your words," she said of President Trump. "But voters make those decisions. And once the voters have spoken, you know, we live with what we live with."
Throughout all of her trials and tribulations, Obama has a simple hope for the future and her legacy -- to inspire the next generation.
“I think that young people are the future,” she said. “And if my story, my journey somehow gives them hope -- that they can build a powerful journey for themselves and that they can own their voice and share their story, that that's part of what makes us great. If I played a role in that for some young people coming down the line, then... I'll feel good about it."