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Michelle Obama - Biography

The former First Lady of the Unites States met Barack Obama in 1989

Michelle Obama in a maroon suit smiling with her hair in curls
Nichola Murphy
Deputy Lifestyle Editor
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Michelle Obama's childhood

Former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama was born January 17, 1964, in Chicago, Illinois, to Fraser Robinson, a pump operator for the city water plant department and Marian Shields, a stay-at-home mum who later became a secretary. The family home in the city's South Side area was a one-bedroom apartment. 

Her parents were able to enrol their charismatic daughter in a school for gifted pupils, a path which led via Princeton and Harvard to a career in law. The death of her adored father from multiple sclerosis in 1991, followed by the passing of her best friend at the age of 25 from breast cancer, led the high-flier to re-evaluate her priorities. Soon afterwards she switched from the law in favour of public and voluntary sector positions - latterly at the University of Chicago Hospital as the Vice President for Community and External Affairs. 

When her husband  Barack Obama set his sights on America's top office, she cut down her hours on the $273,000-job and made a commitment to be away overnight only once a week for the sake of their daughters. 

First Lady Michelle Obama

Michelle supported Barack's presidential campaign throughout 2007 and 2008, delivering a keynote address at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. She went on to deliver speeches at the 2012, 2016, and 2020 conventions. 

As first lady, Michelle advocated for healthy families, service members and their families, higher education, and international adolescent girls education.

Michelle Obama's family

The two lawyers met in the summer of 1989 when Michelle Robinson, as she was then, was asked to mentor her future spouse at a Chicago firm, where worked as an intellectual property specialist. "There was this buzz about this guy," she said. "And I remember thinking we probably had nothing in common - any black guy who came from Hawaii had to be weird." However, they discovered they had plenty in common and in October 1992, they got married at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.

The couple went on to have two girls, Malia who was born in 1998 and Sasha who was born three years later. 

READ NOW: Michelle Obama's 10 most powerful quotes: On success, failure, how to fight bullies & more

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