‘Thank you for sticking with me’: Barack Obama honours Michelle in incredibly emotional speech

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Kayleigh Dray
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Barack and Michelle Obama may no longer be reigning supreme in the White House, but the former President and First Lady will forever hold a place in our hearts.

And, over the weekend, Obama took a break from his new role as an “Instagram husband” to honour his wife in an emotionally charged speech.

After being awarded the prestigious John F. Kennedy Library Foundation’s Profile in Courage on Sunday, Obama stepped up to the podium to make his acceptance speech – but, as ever, his mind was well and truly on his “Girl of the South Side”.

“I want to thank Michelle Obama for, after the presidency, sticking with me,” he joked, as Michelle smothered her giggles in the audience.

“Because I think she felt an obligation to the country to stay on [as my wife], but, once her duties were over, it wasn’t clear.”

Obama continued on a more serious note, insisting: “I love my wife.

“I’m grateful for her, and I do believe that it was America’s good fortune to have her as First Lady.”

It is not the first time that Obama has paid tribute to his wife – with whom he shares two children, Malia, 18, and Sasha, 15 – and we doubt it will be the last, either.

During his final presidential address in January 2017, Obama called upon citizens to uphold their constitutional rights – and outlined the biggest threats to American democracy: economic inequality, racial divisions, the retreat of different segments of society into “bubbles”.

The 55-year-old then went on to thank Michelle for her time as FLOTUS, saying: “For the past 25 years, you’ve been not only my wife and mother of my children, but my best friend.

“You took on a role you didn’t ask for and made it your own with grace and grit and style and good humour.”

For her part, the former First Lady has previously spoken out about the couple's mutual respect. Appearing on the Oprah Winfrey show in 2011, she explained the secret to her and the former prez’s long and happy marriage (they tied the knot way back in 1992).

“It has to be a true sponsored_longform, and you have to really, really like and respect the person you're married to because it is a hard road,” she said at the time. “I mean, that's what I tell young couples.”

The 53-year-old continued: “Don't expect it to be easy, melding two lives and trying to raise others, and doing it forever. I mean that's a recipe made for disaster, so there are highs and lows. But if in the end you can look him in the eye and say, ‘I like you,’ [then you’ve done a good job].”

Watch the interview for yourself below:

Images: Rex Features


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.