Barack and Michelle Obama were a breath of fresh air when the then-U.S. senator from Illinois successfully ran for president in 2008. We have a look at how much they’ve evolved as a couple in the 12 years since then, and how their love and devotion has never wavered.
Barack Obama was just 47-years-old when he was elected president in 2008. He and his classy, gorgeous and brilliant wife Michelle Obama made for such an amazing POTUS and first lady, bringing a contemporary and youthful feel to the White House. Michelle turned just 45-years-old three days before Barack’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2009. They way the first couple openly adored and respected each other earned them plenty of fans outside the political sphere, as well as within. Now after 28 years of marriage — eight while POTUS and FLOTUS — the two still adore each other as much as ever.
Michelle played an active role in her husband’s run for the presidency. After the freshman U.S. senator from Illinois announced on February 10, 2007 that he was seeking the highest office in the land, Harvard educated lawyer Michelle took a leave from her position as vice president of community and external affairs for the University of Chicago Medical Center. She was a constant voice of support for her husband on the campaign trail, in addition to caring for the couple’s two young daughters Malia, now 22, and Sasha, now 19. It paid off, as Barack became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee on June 3, 2008, winning the number of delegates needed to secure the Democratic presidential nomination.
The couple always showed how much of a team they were, both as president and first lady, as well as husband and wife. From fist bumps after speeches to holding hands, to sweet kisses and cuddling, these two were never shy about sharing how much they completely adored each other. On the campaign trail, Barack would often plant a kiss on Michelle after she introduced him to give a speech, and that affection never stopped during their eight years in the White House.
Even while simply walking across the South Lawn of the White House to board Marine One, the couple was often spotted holding hands. Which is a stark contrast to Donald and Melania Trump,‘s awkward attempts at affection. Michelle always looked out for her husband, even wiping lipstick off of his face after kissing him following an introduction at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington on February 4, 2010.
During his two terms as president, Barack’s hair became more grey as it does with nearly every Commander-in-Chief. Michelle however remained a style icon, making headlines when she would change up her locks, from getting a bob to wearing bangs. The first lady’s style and grace landed her on the cover of Vogue three times during Barack’s presidency.
After the couple left the White House in Jan. 2017, they remained the adoring husband and wife that they were during his presidency. They took family vacations with their daughters of the South of France where they could sight-see like average tourists. Yet back home in Washington D.C., Barack and Michelle still visited local charities and community groups. Their commitment to serving others has never wavered.
But being private citizens has allowed the pair to let loose a bit. After leaving office, Barack went kite surfing while the couple stayed with Richard Branson at his Caribbean retreat on Necker Island. It was the first time the Hawaiian-raised Obama was able to surf since before he was elected president, as security did not allow him to practice the daring sport while in office. Michelle also let her hair down literally, allowing her natural curls to flow instead of straightening them as she did when FLOTUS. In 2020, the couple and their daughters managed to survive quarantine cooped up together, with fun family game nights and Barack finally able to finish his memoir about his White House years, A Promised Land. Check out our gallery above for the most heartwarming photos of the beloved former first couple.