Even In The White House, The Obamas Suffered Relatable Plumbing Problems

In terms of lavish abodes, you might assume the White House ranks high on the list — until you remember that this iconic presidential estate has been around since the late 1700s. And like any home over two centuries old, it has its fair share of oddities and quirks. As former First Lady Michelle Obama revealed in an episode of "Michelle Obama: The Light Podcast," one of those quirks included burst pipes raining down on the furniture (via Architectural Digest).

The author and mother of two said that when she was first alerted to the plumbing snafu by her younger daughter, Sasha, she assumed her child was simply trying to ruse her parents out of bed. "[Sasha] said, 'It's raining in the dining room.' We said, 'Okay, go to bed, get out of here, get out of here.' Cause we thought she's just trying to get us up," Michelle recalled.

But after Sasha left her and Barack Obama's bedroom, Michelle said she did hear water falling across the hall. "So, I get up, put on my robe ... and it is raining, literally: A pipe that was so old had burst, and it was pouring down rain."

The former First Lady said the White House needs a lot of TLC

The White House has undergone several renovations throughout its over 200-year existence, including the 1817 rebuild after British troops set the building ablaze, President Theodore Roosevelt's establishment of an executive West Wing in 1902, and President Truman's interior renovations during the last year of his presidency in 1952. And as far as former First Lady Michelle Obama is concerned, the White House is long overdue for another makeover.

"Politically, it is hard for a sitting president to make the decision to spend the money to do repairs," Michelle explained on the podcast. "Because the other party will criticize the president and say, 'Oh look, he's taking taxpayer money!' So, I will just say this to the people in here: The White House needs to be cared for." The "Becoming" author then urged listeners not to condemn presidents who invest in repairs. "Don't get mad," she warned. "It needs it."

Still, with its countless rooms, regal banisters, a bowling alley, movie theater, and groundskeeping and housekeeping staff, living in the White House wasn't all strife and struggle by any means. The Obamas worked hard to keep Malia and Sasha Obama's childhood in the White House as normal as possible — except for the occasional downpour in the dining room, of course.

Shoddy plumbing wasn't the only complaint Michelle had about the White House

Equally as un-glamorous as busted, leaky plumbing are sloppy, drunken parties, which former First Lady Michelle Obama has also cited as a downfall of living in the White House. Michelle critiqued the infamous White House parties while speaking to Oprah Winfrey on the TV personality's "Oprah 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus" tour in 2020.

"If there's a party, people usually over-drink because they're nervous because they don't know what to expect," the former First Lady told Oprah (via People). "The drinks at the White House are strong, so we've seen some people falling out, and I'm not going to mention any names." Michelle was careful not to list any specific party guests, and indeed, plenty visited the White House during the Obama administration. Notable celebrities included Steven Spielberg, Bob Dylan, Beyoncé, Bradley Cooper, Morgan Freeman, and Scarlett Johansson. 

Overall, Michelle walked away from her experience in the White House as the same woman who grew up in Chicago's South Side neighborhood. "I have nice clothes and jewelry now, but my mother made my clothes," she told Oprah. "We were raised with the [idea that] that's enough. You be grateful for what you have, and you don't look at the next thing. That's how we worked in the White House. That didn't change because we moved to a different house."