The Obamas called the White House home from 2009 to 2017. Now that they’ve moved out of their famed address into a normal home with doorbells, things have changed quite a bit for the former first family. Though they stayed in Washington, D.C. so Sasha Obama could finish school with her friends (barring big sis Malia Obama, who’s off at Harvard and globe-trotting with her British boyfriend), it seems like the family is hardly in one place for too long.
In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres (via Today), Michelle Obama said « home is where we make it. We were in the White House for eight years, but it wasn’t the house, it was us in it. It was our values and our love for each other, and we just move that to another house. »
Move to another house they did — a huge $8.1 million pad, and then a yacht, and then a white water raft in Bali. There’s no denying the Obamas have been living it up since their time in the White House concluded. When they’re not hanging out with A-list celebs such as Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks, they’re embarking on brand new career endeavors — from writing memoirs to producing Netflix films. Here’s what the former first family has been up to since shipping out of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
The Obamas’ epic year of vacations
What better way to celebrate graduating from the White House than with an epic gap year? In 2017, that’s just what the Obamas did. Who else gets to hang out with Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks and Bruce Springsteen on a yacht in the tropics?
According to People, the former first couple and a collection of iconic celebs stayed on a « 450-foot yacht » in Tahiti in April 2017. They reportedly ate lunch on Vanilla Island, stopped over at Taha’a Island, shipped out to Bora Bora, and probably had at least one of Oprah’s famous margaritas. It should be noted that Oprah wouldn’t divulge the nitty gritty details about their epic time. « What happens on the boat, stays on the boat, » she said (via People).
The following month, the Obamas jet set to Tuscany, where — according to the Daily Mail — Michelle Obama showed off her bare shoulders. Barack Obama reportedly let loose by undoing the top button of his polo.
After that, the Obamas moved course to a full-fledged family outing in Indonesia — Barack’s old stomping grounds (with a brief popover to Guam on their way). According to E! News, the family stayed at a Four Seasons that cost $2,300 per night and enjoyed a day of white water rafting. There’s currently no word on how much it costs for the Secret Service to rent a raft vs. a Mar-a-Lago golf cart.
Malia lived it up at Lolla
Without the confines of the White House, Malia Obama has been given free reign to be a normal (albeit massively famous) college student. If you believe the hype, there may be no one who enjoyed the 2017 Lollapalooza music festival more than the former first kid. Honestly, it’s probably impossible to enjoy the dirt and port-o-potties as much as a 19-year-old not yet jaded by decades of working plumbing (though, the White House bathrooms are probably pretty nice.)
According to TMZ, Malia was out of her cage and doing just fine as she « headbanged and writhed on the ground » with her friends during The Killers’ headlining set. She reportedly rocked out so hard that she needed to hitch a ride on a golf cart at the end of the show. TMZ claims she looked « kinda dazed, » but headbanging all day will do that. Footage obtained by the tabloid depicted Malia looking mighty tired as she was escorted out. Girl, remember to stay hydrated next time!
Sasha got the best bedroom
There’s probably just one person who’s happier with her new digs than the grand design of the White House: Sasha Obama. With Malia Obama out of the picture at Harvard University, the youngest daughter got free reign to pick the best room at the family’s post-White House home. In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres (via Today), Michelle opened up about how Sasha basically won the bedroom lottery. « Sasha actually killed in this house. She has like this two-room suite, it’s all decked out, » Michelle told DeGeneres. « She’s got like a living room area and bedroom, and she designed it, so [Barack’s] really hating on her. »
Why would Barack be a little salty? It looks like he got the short end of the stick. Michelle admitted that her hubs « doesn’t have enough closet space » and was left with the « smallest room for his office. » There’s also space for Malia, who got a room in the attic because « you don’t waste rooms on college kids, » her mom quipped. Nonetheless, the entire family is adjusting to normal life, which includes having a doorbell and actually answering the door when it rings. How novel!
Barack and Michelle tag-teamed a $60 million book deal
After Michelle and Barack Obama left the White House, the family wasn’t out of work for very long. In fact, this husband and wife upgraded to a far more lucrative career than simply being politicians — they’re now officially celebrity memoir authors. According to Entertainment Weekly, New York’s five largest trade publishers were duking it out to sign the former first couple, but the pair went with its old go-to. Barack previously released three books with Penguin Random House, and decided to sign a new $60 million deal with the publishing company alongside his wife. Talk about a power couple.
There’s no world in which $60 million doesn’t seem like a lot of money, but it’s hard to really comprehend just how much that actually is. For starters, it’s a massive upgrade for Michelle, who didn’t get a dime for being first lady, despite launching her Let’s Move campaign and helping push the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act into legislation. As president, Barack was making around $450,000 a year (though, living in a free mansion certainly counts for something). Consider this: Former President Bill Clinton only got a paltry $15 million for his post-White House memoir, and there was a heck of a lot more drama in that administration (if only for the fact that a presidential affair is the stuff from which HBO dramas are made). Let’s just say Malia probably won’t have any student loans.
What’s a book tour without friends like these?
Michelle Obama wouldn’t keep us waiting after inking her lucrative book deal. The mother-of-two released Becoming in November 2018 and embarked on a book tour. Though a life on the road can be lonely, especially for a woman used to having a family and 24-hour staff, it seems like the former first lady had plenty of good company. Her pal Oprah Winfrey (maybe you’ve heard of her) chose Michelle’s memoir for her book club — an exclusive collection of inevitable best-sellers. (Basically, your mom has probably already read this.) The talk show host took things one step further and gave her friend her very own primetime TV Special, Oprah Winfrey Presents: Becoming Michelle Obama. According to USA Today, she even helped the former first lady launch her book tour by asking questions at the kick-off in Chicago.
Winfrey wasn’t the only one to visit Michelle on the road. According to USA Today, Barack paid a visit in Washington where he gave his wife a bouquet of pink roses and compared himself to his good friend Jay-Z (of course the Obamas are friends with the first family of rap, too). « This is like, you know when Jay-Z comes out during the Beyonce concert? … Like, ‘Crazy in Love’? » he said (via USA Today). « It’s the same thing. It’s just a little sample to enhance the concert. »
The Obamas might be the next Steven Spielberg
The Obamas have undeniably worn many hats since leaving the White House — from book authors to public speakers to retired parents on vacation. In May 2018, the former first couple added a new item to its resumé: film producers. Netflix announced that Barack and Michelle had inked a deal to producer their own films and series with the streaming service. According to Reuters, the Obamas’ production company is called High Ground Productions. With it, they have the option to create « scripted and unscripted series, documentaries and feature films. » Sometimes they’ll appear in the shows they create; other times they’ll simply curate. In other words, Barack and Michelle apparently have the creative control to do whatever they want.
It’s uncertain exactly how much the Obamas nabbed for their Netflix deal, but if they’re looking for interns, they’ve got one experienced student right in the family. Malia Obama has interned for HBO’s Girls and the Harvey Weinstein Company — the latter still owed her money after filing for bankruptcy, according to Deadline. Barack Obama is no stranger to the world of TV either. The former president appeared on Netflix’s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman.
The Barack-Biden bromance lives on
Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s friendship — the bromance that spawned friendship bracelets and launched a thousand memes — has apparently endured its exit from the White House. In July 2018, the presidential pals popped over to Georgetown’s Dog Tag Cafe for lunch. According to The Washington Post, the nonprofit bakery « teaches veterans, military spouses and caregivers about business. » While at the cafe, Biden and Barack personally met all of the organization’s 13 fellows. There were hugs, handshakes, and from the looks of one Instagram post, La Croix. Barack even made a cheesy dad joke about the former vice president getting the bill.
Later that year, Biden went on record to talk about his close relationship with Barack. « All those memes? All those memes are basically true, » he said during an October 2018 campaign rally (via The Hill). « Except I want to make it clear: Barack did the first friendship bracelet, not me. »
Barack’s been jamming to Cardi B
We’re not going to pretend like most dads have the trendiest taste in music. It’s a safe bet that if the average pops curated a Spotify playlist, it’d be a whole lot of The Rolling Stones and not much else. It would also require excusing the fact that our dads don’t really know how to use Spotify in the first place — but if you need a burned CD, they’re totally on it. They’ve got binders full of ’em.
Barack Obama is not like other dads. He’s a cool dad with an even cooler taste in music. That’s apparently what you get when you’re pals with Jay-Z. According to The Week, the former president continued his tradition of curating a year-end, best-of playlist in 2018. He posted the track listing on Instagram, which included « Apes**t » by his good pals The Carters along with songs by Janelle Monae, Prince, and Chance the Rapper. The father of two even pivoted from the mainstream and picked a couple indie darling deep cuts such as « Need a Little Time » by Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett and « One Trick Ponies » by Kurt Vile. He even threw in a song by Cardi B. Does he sing along to « I Like It » on road trips while his daughters melt into their seat belts with embarrassment? We need some video! Stop holding out.
Barack hit the Billboard charts
Barack Obama may not be a musical superstar like his vacation-mate Bruce Springsteen, but he has seen some very unlikely musical success. In 2019, the former president landed a chart-topping hit on Billboard’s « Hot R&B Songs » chart. Wait, did Jay-Z suddenly teach him how to rap? Is Michelle getting in on a verse? Is everyone dancing in front of the Louvre on the Obamas’ epic year of vacations? Sadly, none of the above, but it’s still pretty cool.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the former president appeared on « One Last Time (44 Remix) » from the hit musical Hamilton (the one seemingly everyone has seen despite no one ever being able to get actual tickets). The gospel-inspired remix, which gives a nod to the 44th president in the title, features Barack delivering George Washington’s farewell address. It started with « 307,000 on-demand U.S. streams and 9,000 downloads sold in the week ending Dec. 27 » which was enough to push it up to No. 22 by the Jan. 5, 2019 rankings.
So, let’s make this totally clear: the post-White House Obamas are book authors, TV and film producers, and chart-topping musical artists. Is there anything the former first family can’t do?
Barack and Michelle were voted the most admired people in America
There’s a wealth of reasons to admire Michelle Obama. She rose up from the South Side of Chicago, graduated from Princeton and Harvard Law School, and made history as the very first black first lady in the White House. She launched a massively successful health and fitness campaign, which resulted in the passing of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act; helped veterans and service member with Joining Forces; and championed education and empowerment through Reach Higher and Let Girls Learn. She also has really fit arms. Seriously, Vogue decided to point out seven of her arms’ greatest moments. Have your arms had even a single great moment that expanded beyond carrying the stuff you need to carry? Let’s just say there was a reason Michelle was voted the most-admired woman of 2018.
In a 2018 Gallup poll, the former first lady beat out her good friend Oprah Winfrey as the most admired woman in America. She secured 15 percent of the votes, which is a huge margin considering Winfrey pulled in just five percent. Hillary Clinton and Melania Trump, Michelle’s fellow first ladies, both earned four percent of the vote.
Barack Obama cleaned up alongside his wife. For the 11th year in a row, the former president was voted the most admired man, securing 19 percent of the vote. Donald Trump finished a close second with 13 percent of votes.
Malia got herself an Ivy League boyfriend
Malia Obama is living every college girl’s dream. Besides learning important things and working on getting a prestigious degree, she picked up a hot, British rugby player who also happens to be wealthy. Seriously, is her life a movie? It probably will be with her parents’ aforementioned Netflix deal!
In 2017, TMZ spotted the former first daughter kissing a Harvard mystery man at a football game. He was later identified as Rory Farquharson, the son of Insight Investment Management Limited’s CEO. According to The Telegraph, the Farquharson family lives in a six-bedroom home in Suffolk worth around $2 million. Not too shabby, right? Malia’s man isn’t just wealthy — he’s studious and driven. The athlete was reportedly « head of school » at The Rugby School, a prestigious boarding school where he joined the chemistry club and played rugby and golf. Farquharson also appeared alongside Prince Harry in a rugby video for the 2015 World Cup Opening ceremony and has been loosely linked to the royals. In other words: Farquharson can probably relate to Malia’s life in the spotlight to some degree. The pair has been spotted enjoying outings in New York City, London and Paris. Not a bad starter boyfriend, girl!
Malia struggled with fame at Harvard
Being forced into the spotlight is never easy, especially when you’re a kid. Who wants their awkward teen years broadcast on TMZ? After years of poise and composure while cameras watched her every move, Malia Obama finally broke down when a fan crossed the line.
Barack Obama reportedly teared up when he dropped her off at Harvard, likening the experience to open-heart surgery, according to USA Today. He was reportedly « proud that I did not cry in front of her. » Malia’s first few weeks at the Ivy League school were highly publicized, and the former first daughter appeared to be fed up. According to TMZ, she broke down in Harvard Square when a woman ran up to her as she was entering a salad shop. The lady asked if she could take a picture for her granddaughter, but Malia declined. The grandmother then loitered around the shop and tried to take a picture of Malia anyway. That’s when the former first daughter reportedly screamed, « Are you gonna take it in my face like an animal in a cage? » Honestly: true.
The grandma did get a photo, but Malia held fast to her limits. It’s not easy blending in around the dormitories when you used to call the White House home.