Michelle Obama said this week that being first lady and parenting young children took its toll during her eight years in the White House, but told Oprah Winfrey that it was all worth it.

“It was the biggest privilege of my life to serve as this nation’s first lady, and I will continue the work to be a person of service, to try to work to make sure my life means something to somebody else,” Obama said during an onstage chat. “But those eight years were hard. It’s a hard job. It takes a toll.” 

The discussion was part of Oprah’s "2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus Tour," where the celebrity host is interviewing nine prominent Americans across the country. She and Obama met up at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

“Marriage is hard, and raising a family together is a hard thing, it takes a toll,” Obama said during the hour long event. “But if you’re with the person, if you know why you’re with them, you understand that there is a friendship and a foundation there — that may feel like it goes away during some of those hard times, but it’s something that we always come back to. And we’re coming back to that point where we see each other again.”

Obama said that like many parents, she and her husband wept when they dropped off their daughters at college, but are now enjoying time alone together.

“And they’re gone, thank God,” she joked. “All that energy I can now place back on me and spending time figuring out my next chapter, how I want to spend the rest of my life.” Obama said she and the former president “have more emotional time, emotional energy. It’s just me and him and [dogs] Bo and Sunny and dinner. And they don’t talk, the dogs,” she said, laughing.

“Now I can look at him and recognize my husband, he’s still the man I fell in love with.”

Published on Feb 14, 2020