1. She’s Not Here To Be Friends With Trump
Most of us are united in – to put it nicely – our dim opinion of Donald Trump as US president, but no one is more disappointed by his presence in the White House than Michelle. The former First Lady says that she was unable to put on a happy face during President Trump’s inauguration. "Someone from Barack's administration might have said that the optics there were bad, that what the public saw didn't reflect the President's reality or ideals, but in this case, maybe it did," Obama writes. "Realizing it, I made my own optic adjustment. I stopped even trying to smile."
She went on to describe in further detail how she felt about Trump’s defeat of Democratic nomination Hillary Clinton: "I will always wonder about what led so many, women in particular, to reject an exceptionally qualified female candidate and instead choose a misogynist as their president," Obama continues, going on to describe election night 2016.
“As the movie wrapped up and the lights came on, Barack’s cell phone buzzed. I saw him glance at it and then look again, his brow furrowing just slightly. ‘Huh,’ he said. ‘Results in Florida are looking kind of strange.’
“There was no alarm in his voice, just a tiny seed of awareness, a hot ember glowing suddenly in the grass. The phone buzzed again. My heart started to tick faster … I watched my husband’s face closely, not sure I was ready to hear what he was going to say. Whatever it was, it didn’t look good. I felt something leaden take hold in my stomach just then, my anxiety hardening into dread.”
Obama said she would also never forgive Trump for “endangering” her family by spreading rumours about the legitimacy of Barack Obama’s birth certificate. "What if someone with an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to Washington? What if that person went looking for our girls?," she wrote. "Donald Trump, with his loud and reckless innuendos, was putting my family's safety at risk. And for this I'd never forgive him."
2. She Was Told She Wouldn’t Get Into Princeton
Whilst she prepared to graduate from high school in the top 10% of her class, a young Michelle was told by her guidance counsellor that she might not be “Princeton material” – her first choice for college. But that didn’t stop Obama – in fact, it only spurred her on. Instead, she sought out a recommendation letter from her assistant principal. “I wasn’t going to let one person’s opinion dislodge everything I knew about myself,’ she explains. So, without the help of her counsellor, she wrote her admission essay and was accepted straight away. But as she always says, when they go low, you go high – she never did go back and tell the counsellor they’d messed up.
3. She Described The Darkest Moment In Her Husband’s Presidency
The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a particularly dark time in America’s history, but no one was hit harder by the massacre than the Obamas. Michelle recounts how she was so affected by the shooting that she couldn’t go with her husband to the vigil. It was also the only time in his eight years as president that Barack Obama asked her to be present in the Oval Office.
"This would be the only time in eight years that he'd request my presence in the middle of a workday, the two of us rearranging our schedules to be alone together for a moment of dim comfort… When I walked into the Oval Office, Barack and I embraced silently. There was nothing to say. No words."
After 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children, six adults and himself within 11 minutes of arriving at the school in Newtown, Connecticut, President Obama wiped away tears as he addressed the nation: “Staying upright after Newtown was probably the hardest thing he'd ever had to do,” she recalled.
4. She Bonded With The Queen Over Painful Shoes
When the former First Lady was pictured putting her arm around the Queen during a G20 summit in 2009, it was deemed to be an “epic faux pas”, but as she explains in her book, the 54-year-old and the Queen were just “two tired ladies oppressed by our shoes”.
It was her Royal Highness who first pointed out the pain of uncomfortable shoes – after commenting on how tall Obama was, she looked down at the First Lady’s Jimmy Choos and shook her head. Obama wrote: “’Those shoes are unpleasant, are they not?’ she said. She gestured with some frustration at her own black pumps. I confessed then to the Queen that my feet were hurting. She confessed hers hurt, too. We looked at each other then with identical expressions, like, ‘when is all this standing around with world leaders going to finally wrap up?’ And with this, she busted out with a fully charming laugh.”
Obama said she put her arm around the Queen “without thinking” because she felt connected to her: “I did what’s instinctive to me any time I feel connected to a new person, which is to express my feelings outwardly.” She’ll probably think twice now, though.
5. Melania Trump Has Never Asked For Her Help
When President Obama came into office, Michelle says it was Laura Bush, husband of former President George Bush, that took it upon herself to take the new First Lady around the White House and show her the ropes. But during an interview about the book with ABC News, she says she took a leaf out of Bush’s book, reaching out to current First Lady, Melania Trump, to offer her advice – but the new FLOTUS wasn’t fussed. “Has [Trump] reached out?” Obama was asked, to which she replied, “No, no she hasn’t.”
The White House then released a statement which read: “Mrs. Trump is a strong and independent woman who has been navigating her role as First Lady in her own way. When she needs advice on any issue, she seeks it from her professional team within the White House.” In this case, silence is speaking volumes…
6. She Wasn’t Sure About Her Husband’s Presidency
While we couldn’t imagine a world without Barack Obama as the 44th President, Michelle Obama initially wasn’t so thrilled at the thought. When her husband decided to run for president in the 2008 elections, she was concerned about the stress it would put on their family life. “In the end, it boiled down to this: I said yes because I believed that Barack could be a great president … I said yes because I loved him and had faith in what he could do.”
As she hit the campaign trail with her husband, she was hit with scathing media headlines as ‘Her Looks: Regal or Intimidating?’. “I am telling you, this stuff hurt,” she writes. “I sometimes blamed Barack’s campaign for the position I was in.”
7. She Had IVF For Malia And Sasha
Before Barack Obama became US president, Michelle reveals she suffered a devastating miscarriage before the birth of her daughters Malia and Sasha. Admitting she felt “lost and alone” after the tragedy on Good Morning America, she added that she felt like she’d “failed because I didn’t know how common miscarriages were because we don't talk about them.”
But she’s on a mission to change this: “"I think it's important to talk to young mothers about the fact that miscarriages happen,” she said. “That's one of the reasons why I think it's important to talk to young mothers about the fact that miscarriages happen.”
She then revealed that she had conceived her two daughters using IVF – a particularly trying time, especially as her husband joined the Illinois legislature, leaving her at home to administer her own IVF shots. The couple sought marriage counselling “a handful of times,” adding in an interview that this was important in helping them talk about their differences. “I know too many young couples who struggle and think that somehow there’s something wrong with them.,” she said. “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.”
You can buy Becoming by Michelle Obama, £12.99, on Amazon.co.uk.