There's A Reason You Never Caught Michelle Obama Wearing A Bathing Suit

Dodging the paparazzi is no easy feat, but Michelle Obama has done a good job of avoiding unwanted attention. Barack Obama recently revealed in his memoir, A Promised Land, that when he became president, his wife vowed that she would never be photographed in a swimsuit.

The promise was related as a funny anecdote in the book, with Michelle declining to go to the beach with her husband and their daughter, Sasha, but Obama said in an interview with Vanity Fair that his wife was not kidding around. "She was serious," he said, recalling Michelle saying, "'This is one of my main goals as first lady. I will not be photographed by the paparazzi in a bathing suit.'" He added, "And she succeeded."

Even though Michelle was serious about the seemingly tongue-in-cheek promise, Obama noted that his wife really is quite the funny lady. "First of all, Michelle is funnier than me," he said. "I have to say that, because she insists that she is. She's naturally just a great storyteller. There's a rule in our household that she can tease me but I cannot tease her. I pointed out that's not fair, and she says, 'Yeah. So what?' I am often the brunt of her humor, and the girls have picked up on that. So at the dinner table, generally, I am the recipient of mockery and jokes."

Michelle Obama has had to endure a lot of criticism over the years

Constantly being in the public eye is no easy feat, and Michelle has had to face a lot of criticism and negative press over the years. The public can be particularly harsh about women, scrutinizing their bodies, so it's understandable that Michelle would want to avoid putting herself through that. 

In 2015, she opened up about what she has had to endure. "Over the years, folks have used plenty of interesting words to describe me," she said in a commencement address at Tuskegee University. "One said I exhibited 'a little bit of uppity-ism.' Another noted that I was one of my husband's 'cronies of color.' Cable news once charmingly referred to me as 'Obama's Baby Mama.'"

The negativity took a toll on Michelle. "And all of this used to really get to me," she said. "Back in those days, I had a lot of sleepless nights, worrying about what people thought of me, wondering if I might be hurting my husband's chances of winning his election, fearing how my girls would feel if they found out what some people were saying about their mom."

Michelle Obama has always prioritized physical fitness

While Michelle didn't let the public catch a glimpse of her in a bathing suit during her husband's time as president, the former first lady still became well known for her impressive physique. Michelle has always been in excellent shape, emphasizing the importance of physical fitness and proper nutrition for children through her Let's Move! initiative while she was FLOTUS.

"In launching Let's Move!, we took what felt like an insurmountable problem and gave folks a sense of optimism and hope that we could solve it," she told The Nation's Health of the initiative in 2013. She added, "I think that one reason why we're seeing change happening is that we helped people understand that everyone has a role to play in helping our kids lead healthier lives, and we've encouraged everyone to do their part to help."

For Michelle, staying in shape is a form of self care. "It doesn't always feel good in the moment," she wrote in the caption of a workout photo on Instagram in 2019. "But after the fact, I'm always glad I hit the gym."

Michelle Obama has since been spotted in a bathing suit

The former first lady is quite determined, so it's no surprise that she was successful and managed to avoid being photographed in a swimsuit during her time in the White House. She opened up about her mission in 2012 interview with People (via the Daily Mail).

"That's been my one goal: I don't want to be caught dead in a bathing suit,' she said. Of course, avoiding the water wasn't too hard as the former FLOTUS isn't much of a swimmer. 'I won't drown but you won't see me doing laps in the pool," she said.

Once she was no longer the first lady, though, the attorney had less of a problem with being seen in a swimsuit. InStyle noted that, during a 2018 beach vacation with her daughter, Malia, Michelle was spotted wearing a swimsuit — sort of. While she was wearing a white bikini top, it was paired with some white shorts and an unbuttoned, sheer white top