Barack Obama Says Michelle Obama Never Fully Forgave Him for Running for President After She Initially Said No

In a new interview with Stephen Colbert to promote his latest book, A Promised Land, Barack Obama admits Michelle never forgave him for running for president.

topshot former us president barack obama and former us first lady michelle obama attend the unveiling of their portraits at the smithsonians national portrait gallery in washington, dc, february 12, 2018 photo by saul loeb afp photo credit should read saul loebafp via getty images
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  • During a recent interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, former President Barack Obama opened up about the toll that running for president took on his marriage. 
  • When he first approached Michelle Obama with his plan to run for president, she shot the idea down directly and, even though she eventually "sort of changed her mind," she never fully forgave her husband for putting her and their daughters through the difficult campaign process.
  • The interview was part of Obama's ongoing press tour promoting his new book, A Promised Land, which also delves into his marriage to Michelle. 

Running for president isn't just hard on the person vying for the job—just the process of a campaign is draining and difficult for the candidate's family, too. That's why, when Barack Obama first approached his wife, Michelle Obama, with his desire to run for the top political office in the U.S., she was clear that she didn't want him to do it.

"Her initial response was 'No,'" Obama explained during a recent interview with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show while promoting his new book, A Promised Land. "What I said to her, 'We still need to think through all the different elements of it and if at the end of that you still say no, then it's a no.'"

Obviously, Obama did end up deciding to run for president—and Michelle only kind of got on board with the decision, apparently. 

"And she sort of changed her mind, kind of," Barack continued. "But, what is absolutely true is—and I've never fully got out of the dog house for this—is that I put her and our kids through an extraordinarily stressful, difficult sequence in deciding to run for president, right after I had just gone through a tough race."

The impact of that decision followed the couple and hung over their marriage for Obama's entire eight-year tenure in the White House.

"Michelle stayed angry at me about it," he admitted, adding that "it would flare up every so often, but she stayed mad about it through all eight years."

Watch Obama's interview with Colbert below:


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birmingham, england december 07 prince william, the duke of cambridge attends the unveiling of the victoria cross commemorative paving stones representing each of birmingham's 1st world war recepients at the hall of memory, centenary square on december 7, 2015 in birmingham, england ten stones were unveiled after a short service of memorial by the bishop of birmingham the rtrev david urquhart with speeches by the lord mayor of birmingham, councillor raymond hassall and brigadier anderton brown photo by richard stonehousegetty images

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Weekend Editor at Cosmopolitan

Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with over 10 years of professional experience covering entertainment of all genres, from new movie and TV releases to nostalgia, and celebrity news. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.