Okay, so we all remember the Obama family. But with the former vice president Joe Biden now entering the White House, it’s hard not to compare this moment with 2008. When George W. Bush was on his way out and slogans like HOPE and CHANGE and YES WE CAN dominate. That’s when a fresh first family was introduced to our country.
The Way I See It, a recent documentary about White House photographer Pete Souza, has reminded viewers about what those eight years looked like at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. For many, those were touching images. Pictures of our first family — the children, the events, the candid smiles — can define the national mood. So what is Barack Obama’s beautiful family up to now? Plus: read on for Obama’s year-end 2020 picks.
Our first African American president Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. His mother Ann Dunham was originally from Kansas, and met his father, Barack Obama Sr., in a local class at the University of Hawaii. Obama Sr. was a visiting Kenyan student, and he married Dunham six months before the birth of young Barack. However, the marriage only lasted a few years. Obama’s father eventually returned to Kenya and died in a car accident when his son was just 21 years old. This fractured relationship is explored in Barack Obama’s memoir, Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. His new memoir, A Promised Land, is out now.
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Barack Obama’s mother remarried to Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian grad student, and had a daughter, Obama’s half-sister Maya Soetoro-Ng. When the family relocated to Indonesia more permanently, Obama stayed behind in Hawaii with his maternal grandparents for high school. He went on to attend Occidental College then transferred to Columbia University in New York City to study political science. Later, as a law student at Harvard University, Obama became president of The Harvard Law Review. In 1989, he met his future wife Michelle Robinson while working at the Chicago law firm, Sidley Austin. Robinson was Obama’s temporary adviser and by the end of the summer, they were dating. On October 3, 1992, they were married and ready to begin their own family.
Michelle Obama (née Robinson), wife to the 44th president of the United States, was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois. Her father, Fraser Robinson III, was a city water plant employee and Democrat precinct captain. Her mother, Marian Shields, would eventually join her daughter in the White House. Growing up in the city’s historic South Shore neighborhood, Michelle Robinson attended Chicago’s first magnet high school, Whitney Young. (So did the author of this article!) She graduated as her class salutatorian in 1981.
Like her older brother Craig Robinson, the future Mrs. Obama attended Princeton University and later, Harvard University for post-grad. However, she and Barack Obama did not overlap at Harvard Law School. Michelle would not meet Barack until he came to work in Chicago, and she would not succumb to his charms until seeing in action at a community organizers meeting in the summer of 1989. The pair married in 1992, and using Vitro fertilization, the Obamas had their first daughter Malia Ann in 1998, then Natasha, known as Sasha, in 2001.
As a professional mother, Michelle Obama and her husband, the budding politician, raised their young family on the South Side of Chicago for many years. During her husband’s 2008 bid for president against Republican senator John McCain, Michelle struggled to aid him on the campaign trail while remaining available for their two young daughters Sasha and Malia. But the hard work paid off; the Obamas moved into the White House in 2009 and Michelle Obama went on to become one the most beloved and relatable (and stylish) First Lady in the history of the United States.
Since leaving office, Michelle Obama and her husband entered a contract to produce a wide variety of material for Netflix. Becoming, the documentary about Michelle’s life inspired by her eponymous memoir is out now.
The Obama daughters Malia and Sasha were just little kids when their father left the U.S. Senate to become America’s Commander in Chief. Eldest daughter Malia Ann Obama was born in 1998. She lived her entire adolescence under the media scrutiny of the presidency. Having attended the University of Chicago Lab School until the family’s move to Washington D.C., Malia then enrolled in the local Quaker institution, Sidwell Friends School. She currently attends Harvard University, after taking a gap year in 2016. This makes Malia Obama a current college senior — meaning she’s continuing her studies online at the moment.
Malia Obama’s boyfriend, Rory Farquharson, is a fellow Harvard student. (The British international student hails from an extremely wealthy investing family across the pond.) Farquharson even quarantined with Malia and her family at the start of the coronavirus pandemic! Speaking of the experience on The Bill Simmons Podcast, the former president said “I didn’t want to like him, but he’s a good kid.”
Natasha “Sasha” Obama was born in 2001. Like her older sister, she attended The University of Chicago Lab School and the Sidwell Friends School before setting off to college. Departing from the family’s Ivy League tradition, the youngest Obama chose the University of Michigan for her studies. She is currently a sophomore at the school. Sasha made news recently for her presence on social media platform TikTok, which features her dancing alongside friends. Although the media dragged these quick videos as inappropriate, they are… extremely PG. See for yourself below.
Like so many American college students, Sasha Obama was forced to pack it up from the dorms last spring and join her family in Covid lockdown. But for Sasha Obama, living at home is pretty sweet. In 2018, her mom Michelle revealed their post-White House set-up on Ellen, saying that Sasha has the biggest suite in the house, which includes her own living room. The Obama family now resides permanently just outside of Washington D.C., although they do keep a sprawling vacation property in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.
Bo and Sunny
And of course, there was the Obama dogs. Their first Portuguese Water Dog, Bo, was a gift from Senator Ted Kennedy. Bo joined the Obama family when he was just a puppy, for Barack Obama’s inauguration. His energetic (occasionally mischievous) demeanor, goofy grin, and adorable white spots led to a fantastic surge in the breed. For the second term, Bo got a sister: Sunny. (See the pics below.) These two were sorely missed when Barack Obama left office in 2016. Soon, two new buddies will enter the coveted position of First Dog: Joe Biden’s German Shepherds, Chance, and Major.