A commitment to herself. Barack Obama revealed why Michelle Obama was never seen in a swimsuit when she was the First Lady of the United States—and why she still may never be photographed in a bikini.
In an interview with Vanity Fair to promote his new book, A Promised Land, the former President revealed that his wife made a promise to herself to never be photographed in a swimsuit, which is why she didn’t go with her husband and their youngest daughter, Sasha, to the beach one time when they lived in the White House.
“‘This is one of my main goals as first lady. I will not be photographed by the paparazzi in a bathing suit,'” Barack recalled Michelle telling him. “And she succeeded.”
Though Barack confirmed that Michelle was “serious” about her commitment to not be seen in a swimsuit, the former President notes that the ex-FLOTUS is actually “funnier” than him most of the time. “I have to say that, because she insists that she is,” Barack said. “She’s naturally just a great storyteller. There’s a rule in our household that she can tease me but I cannot tease her. I pointed out that’s not fair, and she says, ‘Yeah. So what?’ I am often the brunt of her humor, and the girls have picked up on that.”
Barack also confessed that he’s often “the recipient of mockery and jokes” around his family, which also includes his and Michelle’s eldest daughter, Malia. That said, he doesn’t mind being the butt of their jokes, as he said it helps “to explain the world around us.”
“The human condition can be absurd, and if you learn to laugh about it, then that helps you get through pain and hardship and difficulty,” he said. The former President then pointed out that, while he isn’t the funniest in his family, he does have a sense of humor.
“I am funny,” Barack said. “I slayed at the Correspondents’ Dinner. The professional comics never wanted to follow me. Come on!”
As for A Promised Land, Barack explained that the book details his and Michelle’s relationship and how his time as a politician took a toll on their marriage. “A lot of the book is the story of our love and our partnership, and the sacrifices she made for the career path I chose,” he said. “And, needing to be honest about the fact that she really didn’t want me to be in politics, and it hurt her in a lot of ways.”
“I was helped by the fact that she wrote her book first, she had already put out some of that, so that it wasn’t so much me, you know, pulling back the curtain,” he continued of his wife’s 2018 memoir, Becoming. “She had already done that. I was just giving my perspective in terms of how I felt about her distress around some of our decisions.”