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DeGeneres read a quick paragraph from Obama’s new book, Becoming, in which the former first lady detailed her first kiss. When the host asked if she knew where the man was today, Obama replied that she did not know. “I’m sure someone will find him now,” she said. “I tried not to use last names so people wouldn’t be harassed for the rest of their life.”
She added that she previously shared a story about her “very, very first kiss” in nursery school and “the press hunted that poor guy down.”
The host also asked about Obama’s oldest daughter Malia’s experience at prom, which is also detailed in the book.
“Their whole lives were spent trying to have a normal life. Go to soccer matches and birthday parties and sleepovers and have kids come over with a security detail,” she said about her daughters. Obama explained that Malia wanted to go to prom in her date’s car. “At that point, they had never driven in another person’s car for security reasons.”
“So everything in their lives is now a discussion. We have to pull in security. We have to talk to the chief of staff, talk to the communications director,” she said. “My thing was she’s gotta ride in the car with her prom date.”
Obama said that when the “poor kid” came to pick up Malia, he had “to come through the official driveway that dignitaries come when state visits happen around the South Lawn.”
When Obama, her husband Barack and Malia were making their way to her prom date, the daughter begged her parents to not embarrass her. “We greet the young man in a nice tux and God knows what happened to him getting in, because I tried to make security know he’s coming. Don’t hassle him,” she said. “I told Malia, ‘Make sure his car is clean’ if you know what I mean, ’cause dogs sniff the car. I said, ‘I don’t want him to be embarrassed.'”
“So he comes in, and you can tell he’s a little nervous, and we shake his hand, take a picture, and they get in the car and they go off, and then three cars follow,” she said. “It’s like them and then three cars with three men with guns. And Barack was like, ‘This makes running for a second term all worthwhile. My daughter is being followed by men with guns to prom.'”
Obama also wrote about the night gay marriage was legalized. “I bring it up to talk about just how vastly different one day could be in the White House during our administration,” Obama said. She shared that marriage equality was passed the same day that she and Barack attended the service for the Charleston shooting in 2015.
“We’re in the White House, and when you’re in the residence, there’s so much bulletproof glass that sometimes you don’t hear what’s going on outside,” she explained. “We knew that there was celebration happening, but we didn’t realize that people — thousands of people — were gathering in front of the White House at that time to celebrate.”
“Everybody was celebrating and people were crying, and I thought, ‘I want to be in that,'” she recalled. “I was sitting and watching it on TV and realizing, ‘I’m living this.’ I said, ‘I have to break out of this. I want to go outside, and I want to be a part of that celebration.'”
She said that she tried to enlist people to crash the celebration with her. After her husband and youngest daughter, Sasha, said that they didn’t want to go outside, Obama convinced Malia to go with her.
Determined to get out there, Obama and her daughter ran past a security agent before hitting the obstacle of a locked door. “So now there are many people behind us,” she said of the White House staff that followed them as they tried to exit the residence. “They don’t know what to do. They were like, ‘Ma’am, where are you going?’ I said, ‘I’m going out. We’re going out.'”
She remembered security calling other staff members to warn them that they were trying to leave. An usher reminded Obama that if she stepped outside, she would be caught on camera in her casual outfit and without makeup. “I thought, ‘Hmm, you have a point. I don’t want to be on that clip looking like this,'” she said.
“But eventually the happy news was that we got out. Malia and I walked outside — it took 15 minutes to get outside — and we stood with all the cheering crowd off to the side, mind you, so no one would see us,” she said. “We tried to have our tender mother-daughter moment, but we just took it in. I held her tight and my feeling was, ‘We are moving forward. Change is happening.'”
The former first lady later told the host about the three presidential inaugurations she had attended. “Two of ours and one of someone else’s,” she said.
DeGeneres jokingly asked whose inauguration drew a bigger crowd: her husband’s or Donald Trump’s. Obama joked that she “could tell” which event had more people in attendance.
Obama also joined DeGeneres in a prerecorded segment. The two hosted an impromptu book signing at a Costco. DeGeneres used a megaphone to announce to customers that Obama would meet fans and sign copies of the book.
At one point in the clip, DeGeneres signed her own name on the book and asked customers if they would rather have a copy with her signature or with Obama’s. When Obama said that the books should have her signature, DeGeneres ripped out the page she signed and shouted, “Free sample.”
DeGeneres did her best to embarrass Obama throughout the segment. The host used her megaphone to ask which aisle the foot fungus medicine is in. “Michelle is asking for foot fungus medicine,” she announced.
The host later disappeared and came back with a large package of toilet paper. When Obama said that she didn’t need the product, DeGeneres responded, “Why do you say one thing to me quietly and then act like you didn’t say it?”
After interfering with a number of fan encounters, DeGeneres once again disappeared. She returned to Obama with a portable piano. DeGeneres hit the piano keys and sang, “She’ll be coming ’round the mountain when she comes.” The crowd clapped along to the tune as Obama attempted to continue signing books in a professional manner.
“Michelle Obama/ Michelle Obama wrote a book,” sang DeGeneres. “She mentions Oprah several times and me only once.”
Obama’s appearance concluded with a quick round of “Burning Questions.”
The former first lady revealed that Jermaine Jackson was her first celebrity crush, her nickname of choice is “Mich,” she loves kale and that her husband is “the best at everything.”
Other facts that Obama shared about herself during the game include that she does impressions of her husband to make her daughters laugh and that she would like to take a road trip with DeGeneres.
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