In Depth

WATCH: Barack Obama records moving 25th anniversary tribute to Michelle

Former president pays tribute to woman who ‘put up with me for a quarter of a century’

Barack Obama proved that romance is still alive and well in the Obama household with a surprise video message for wife Michelle to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.

The former first lady was being interviewed on stage by TV producer Shonda Rimes at the Pennsylvania Conference for Women in Philadelphia when the conversation turned towards the Obamas marriage milestone.

Rimes, creator of shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder, informed Obama that she had a surprise to mark the occasion.

That surprise turned out to be a video message recorded by her husband, a two-minute tribute to their quarter-century of marriage that brought tears to Michelle’s eyes.

“The idea that you would put up with me for a quarter of a century is a remarkable testament to what a saintly, wonderful, patient person you are,” Barack said in the clip, which has since been viewed on Facebook nearly six million times.

As well as being an “extraordinary partner” and “great friend”, Michelle had also served as “an example to our daughters and to the entire country”, the former president said.

“It’s no wonder that as people got to know you the way that I got to know you, they fell in love.”

Barack added that the “best decision” he ever made was “being persistent” in seeking a date with Michelle, in reference to their initial meeting in Chicago in 1989.

Then a new graduate of Harvard Law School, Obama spent a summer working at Chicago’s Sidley Austin law firm, where he immediately took a shine to his assigned mentor, Michelle Robinson.

However, the future first lady “initially turned down his advances, telling her brother she thought dating a colleague was ‘tacky’” according to the Daily Telegraph.

By the end of the summer, Michelle had relented. Their first date was a movie - Spike Lee drama Do The Right Thing - followed by ice cream, the New Yorker reports. Three years later, the couple got married at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Their first dance was to Stevie Wonder’s You and I. They have two daughters - Malia, born in 1998, and Sasha, born in 2001. 

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