Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus Tour stopped at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Saturday, with Oprah Winfrey joined onstage by former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama.
During the candid conversation, reports The Hollywood Reporter, Obama opened up about her marriage to former President Barack Obama, and the toll that eight years in the White House took on their marriage.
“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. But those eight years were hard. It’s a hard job. It takes a toll,” Obama told Winfrey.
“Marriage is hard and raising a family together is a hard thing, it takes a toll,” she continued. “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 also reflected on becoming empty nesters now that daugthers Malia, 21, and Sasha, 18, are both attending college.
“Parenting takes up a lot of emotional space,” admitted Obama, 56, according to People. “I put a lot of time and energy into parenting these girls but right now we are trying to make their lives normal — so that means weekends were a pain.”
That, she explained, included having “to worry about what parties they were going to, whether there was alcohol, I had to know who the parents were, so every weekend for me was hard,” she added.
“And they’re gone, thank God,” she joked.
As a result, she added, “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,” which also allows her and her husband to “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 laughed.
In fact, she now feels like she and Barack are “coming back to this point where we see each other again,” adding, “Now I can look at him and recognize my husband, he’s still the man I fell in love with.”