Michelle Obama on post-White House life, seeing her daughters 'adulting' and her new book

The former first lady spoke candidly about her post-White House life.

November 10, 2022, 8:11 AM

In her first broadcast interview about her highly-anticipated new book, "The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times," former first lady Michelle Obama spoke candidly about her post-White House life, raising her two adult daughters, celebrating her 30th anniversary and more.

Obama told “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts that writing the book came from a place of "trying to figure out" what was happening around her -- in her head, in her home and in her country.

During the writing of the book, the world was grasping with the coronavirus pandemic and the United States was facing challenges of political turmoil and divide.

"I was sitting at home, just sort of sorting through where we were, trying to make sense of what was happening to our country, to our world," Obama told Roberts. “Like a lot of people, I was trying to figure out, how did we get in this mess and how do we get out of it?”

She continued, “People were trying to figure out how to make sense out of this stuff, and for whatever reason, looking to me for an answer.”

Robin Roberts speaks with former first lady Michelle Obama for the ABC special, "Michelle Obama: The Light We Carry, A Conversation with Robin Roberts."
ABC News

Obama said the isolation of the pandemic and her concerns about the country drove her “inward,” and led to doubts resurfacing in her mind.

“It was that loss of hope,” she said. “Thinking about, did all of this matter? All the sacrifice that my family, my husband and I, all that we had done, especially after the election of his predecessor, did it matter? And does anything matter?"

Obama continued, “And I think that if you don't have the tools to get out of it, you can just spiral and spiral down, further down.”

Watch “Michelle Obama: The Light We Carry, A Conversation with Robin Roberts” on Sunday, Nov. 13 at 10pm ET/9pm CT on ABC.

In “The Light We Carry,” the former first lady shares what helped her get through tough times, both in the past few years and throughout her life.

One life tip she mentions in her book is "partnering well."

She specifically discusses her three-decade romance with husband and former president Barack Obama, whom she met while working at a Chicago law firm.

Obama shared with Roberts that she and her husband celebrated their 30th anniversary last month by recreating their honeymoon.

"We laughed about how broke we were when we did it the first time," she said. "But we rode along [the] Highway 1 coast. We stopped in Big Sur and Carmel. That part of the country is one of the most beautiful coasts in the world."

The former first lady also spoke about her daughters Sasha and Malia, who spent the majority of their childhoods in the public eye while living at the White House.

Obama said it is fun to see her two daughters "adulting in the world" now.

Today, Sasha and Malia are living together in an apartment in Los Angeles, according to Obama, who shared a memory of her daughters hosting her and Barack Obama in their apartment.

"They had invited us over before dinner to have cocktails at their apartment and they had prepared a charcuterie tray and tried to make two very weak martinis,” she said. “They realized they didn't have any of the ingredients, but they were trying to, they were hosting us. And it's just fun, watching them become themselves.”

Michelle Obama's mother, Marian Robinson -- known by many as grandma-in-chief -- lived with the Obamas during their eight years in the White House. Robinson spoke with Roberts in a rare interview, describing how she encouraged her daughter's independence.

"Your education was your responsibility. It wasn't mine," Robinson said to Obama, who recalled that she didn't think her mom knew she took the SAT. "I told her, 'I already graduated. It's up to you to get an education and a job.'"

"The Light We Carry" will be published on Nov. 15, 2022, in 14 languages and 27 countries around the world, according to the book's publisher, Crown, an imprint of Random House.

Like she did with her bestselling memoir “Becoming,” Obama will be embarking on a book tour for “The Light We Carry,” during which she’ll be interviewed by celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Tracee Ellis Ross and Tyler Perry.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama speaks at an event on Sept. 29, 2022, in New York City.
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images, FILE

Obama will kick-off the tour Nov. 15, in Washington, D.C., before heading to Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Watch “Michelle Obama: The Light We Carry, A Conversation with Robin Roberts” on Sunday, Nov. 13 at 10pm ET/9pm CT on ABC.

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