Michelle Obama, the former first lady, sat down recently for a much-anticipated, exclusive interview with “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts that ran the gamut from her new memoir, “Becoming,” to life before, during and after the family’s time in the White House.
Here are five takeaways from the interview:
Michelle Obama on overcoming her identity being challenged
Michelle Obama said growing up in her neighborhood, “you could get your butt kicked going to school if you looked too uppity or if you were studying too hard.”
Her parents, Fraser and Marian Robinson, however, helped her build a sense of self, emphasizing education and excellence.
My parents, from [a] very early age, encouraged us to put our opinions on the table, to ask questions, to question the context of situations. They encouraged us to understand the context,” she said. “You could speak your mind, but you had to be respectful, you know? And if you got outta hand, you got a look. You’d get a spanking… they weren’t free wheeling parents. They were still black parents. But they believed in teaching us to think for ourselves.”
At her alma mater, Whitney M. Young High School on Chicago’s West Side, she said, she was encouraged to work hard and to excel. In 1981, she entered Princeton as a freshman and had to “learn how to adjust to this new world.”
“It was the first time I had been in a predominantly white situation,” Obama said. “So I had to learn how to adjust in this new world of wealth and privilege and kids that I didn’t realize had come from prep schools that had prepared them. And I didn’t even know the language of that college. What was a syllabus? Never heard of it.
Michelle Obama on marriage counseling, past fertility struggles
She was working at a Chicago law firm when she was asked to mentor Barack Obama, two years her senior and rumored to be an exceptionally gifted law student at Harvard. Initially she considered him off-limits, but later found herself drawn to him.
“He was like, ‘You’re crazy. We should date. I like you. You like me,’” she said. “I like that about him. He was very straightforward.”
While their mutual affection has always been on display, Michelle Obama, for the first time, opened up in her book and to Roberts about the aspects of their marriage.
In her book, she discusses suffering a miscarriage and the infertility treatments that helped her conceive daughters Malia and Sasha.
“The biological clock is real because egg production is limited,” 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.”
She also shared details of how the stress of their hectic schedules infiltrated their marriage
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