Presidential Love Stories, From the Jacksons to the Obamas

The most romantic First Couples' "how we met" stories.

ByMeghan Kiesel
July 05, 2012, 1:09 PM

July 5, 2012 -- intro: The president and the first lady are often the most-scrutinized couple in the United States, but what about before the White House? Here are a few of the romantic stories of how presidents and their wives met, fell iln love and got married, from the Obamas to the Reagans to the Jacksons.

quicklist: 1title: Barack and Michelle Obamatext: How They Met: In the summer of 1989, Barack Obama took an internship at the Sidley Austin law firm in Chicago, where he met recent Harvard law grad Michelle Robinson. No-nonsense Michelle, who was all business and frowned on interoffice dating, thought the two would be "good friends," but Barack had other ideas. He finally convinced Michelle to go on a date later that summer. The two spent the day together, visiting the Chicago art institute and then having a drink on the 99th floor of the John Hancock building, and the rest is history.

The Wedding: Oct. 3, 1992, Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago. The pair was married by Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., and Michelle's brother, Craig, walked her down the aisle. Barack's half-brother Malik was his best man. The couple chose "You and I" by Stevie Wonder as their song.

The Honeymoon: Hawaii

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quicklist: 2title: George W. and Laura Bushtext: How They Met: George Bush and Laura Welch lived in the same town, Midland, Texas, growing up, and even attended the same junior high one year. The Bushes moved away, however, and the pair only really connected at a barbeque in 1977 when they were introduced by mutual friends. They had both moved to Houston after high school and were even living in the same building. Laura described their lives as "parallel." The two married three months later.

The Wedding: Nov. 5, 1977, Glass Chapel of the First United Methodist Church in Midland. The pair's wedding took place in the church where Laura had been baptized, and was small, simple and intimate. The couple was the last of their friends to marry, and so chose an understated style for their wedding.

The Honeymoon: Cozumel, Mexico

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quicklist: 3title: Bill and Hillary Clintontext: How They Met: Both students at Yale Law School, Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham met in a class in 1970 and began dating in the spring of 1971. That summer, Hillary went to Oakland, Calif., to take a summer internship, and Bill followed her. In return, Hillary stayed in New Haven a year past her own graduation to allow Bill to finish his degree. The couple decided to marry after Bill purchased a home for them in Arkansas.

The Wedding: Oct. 11, 1975, in their home in Fayetteville, Ark. The small, private ceremony was followed by a reception of about 100 people at a friend's home. Hillary purchased her old-fashioned-style dress at a department store.

The Honeymoon: Acapulco, Mexico

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quicklist: 4title: George H.W. and Barbara Bushtext: How They Met: George H.W. Bush recounted how he and Barbara met as teenagers in 1941 in a documentary on his life, "41": "They called it a holiday dance at Christmas time and here she was in this red and green dress," Bush said "I said, 'Who is this good-looking girl, that beautiful girl over there?' 'That's Barbara Pierce from Rye, New York.' So then a guy named Wozencraft introduced us. And the rest is history."

The Wedding: Jan. 6, 1945, First Presbyterian Church in Rye, N.Y. Barbara wore the veil worn by George's mother in her own wedding in the ceremony.

The Honeymoon: Sea Island, Ga.


quicklist: 5title: Ronald and Nancy Reagantext: How They Met: The two met over a business dinner on the Sunset Strip in 1951. Following that dinner, they began dating. In 1952 at one of the couple's favorite restaurants, Chasen's, Ronald simply said, "Let's get married," and Nancy replied, "Let's."

The Wedding: March 4, 1952, Little Brown Church in the Valley, Calif. William and Ardis Holden, the man and matron of honor, respectively, were the only guests at the very low-key affair. Nancy bucked tradition and wore a gray suit and veiled hat in the ceremony.

The Honeymoon: Riverside, Calif., and Phoenix.


quicklist: 6title: Gerald and Betty Fordtext: How They Met: Betty and Gerald Ford met in 1947 at a cocktail party. From there, their stories diverge: Betty claims that Gerald proposed that fall, while Gerald maintained that he popped the question in February 1948. Their engagement was officially announced in July 1948, when Gerald was in the midst of campaigning for a seat in the House.

The Wedding: Oct. 15, 1948, Grace Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids, Mich. Gerald was late and showed up in muddy shoes because he had just been giving a campaign speech.

The Honeymoon: The pair had no time for a real honeymoon in the midst of an election cycle. They spent Oct. 16 attending a political rally, a football game and a Thomas Dewey speech.


quicklist: 7title: Richard and Pat Nixontext: How They Met: Richard and Pat Nixon met during the auditions for a community theater production in Whittier, Calif. Richard claims that he told Pat he knew he would marry her after they met that evening,. The couple often wrote each other love letters throughout their courtship and marriage.

The Wedding: June 21, 1940, Mission Inn wedding chapel, Riverside, Calif. Their wedding was a small, simple Quaker service.

The Honeymoon: Mexico

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quicklist: 8title: John F. and Jacqueline Kennedytext: How They Met: Jacqueline Bouvier and John F. Kennedy originally had a paparazzi-politician relationship. Jackie began work as a photojournalist for the Washington Times-Herald in 1951, and met JFK while he was in D.C. serving as a congressman and seeking a spot in the Senate. They met in D.C. but had a very sporadic courtship - Jackie covered the queen's coronation in London about that time, while John was busy with his political career. However, the two were engaged by June 1953.

The Wedding: Sept. 12, 1953, St. Mary's Church, Newport, R.I. The pair had an elegant and extravagant wedding with over 800 guests in attendance. An archbishop assisted by four priests married the couple, and a special blessing from the Pope was also read at the ceremony. Over 1200 guests attended the reception at Hammersmith Farm, where they feasted on a four-foot-tall wedding cake.

The Honeymoon: Mexico


quicklist: 9title: Andrew and Rachel Jacksontext: How They Met: Andrew Jackson and his wife Rachel Robards met after Rachel escaped an unhappy and allegedly abusive first marriage. The two met in 1788 on the Nashville, Tenn., frontier, where Rachel's family lived and Jackson was trying to make his fortune. The pair eloped within two years. Due to the difficulty in securing divorce at those times, the pair's love story was marred by questions regarding Rachel's first marriage. However, the couple's love story has still become American folklore.

The Wedding: Eloped in 1790, though they later claimed they married in 1791. Rachel's divorce, however, wasn't finalized until 1792, so the couple re-married in 1794 in an attempt to quell scandal as Andrew's political career began to take off.

The Honeymoon: None

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