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Winfrey and Obama’s conversation took place at Hearst Tower in New York City in front of an audience that included a group of local, female high school students. Obama spoke about the life experiences that have shaped her, including her childhood on the South Side of Chicago, her years as an attorney and executive in Chicago and how she worked to balance the demands of her career and raising two daughters.
She also opened up about some of the challenges she and Barack Obama faced during the early years of their marriage, including a stint in counseling, along with her years in the White House and the pressure of being the “first black family” to live there.
The conversation will air as a primetime special, Oprah Winfrey Special: Michelle Obama, that debuts at 8 p.m. Thursday. An extended, unedited version will be available on the Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations podcast starting the same day, with Part 2 available on Nov. 19. In addition, the full interview will be streamed on Oprah’s Facebook at 11 am. Nov. 18.
The interview will also be featured in O, The Oprah Magazine on newsstands Nov. 20, with behind-the-scenes content available on Oprahmag.com as well as globally across multiple Hearst Magazines’ titles, including the December cover of ELLE. This marks the first time for such an effort across the Hearst publications group.
In addition, the book has been chosen as the newest selection of Oprah’s Book Club, marking Winfrey’s first pick by an author from the political world since she started her club in 1996, although Obama has said repeatedly she has no interest in running for office. Winfrey’s previous picks have ranged from novels such as Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad and Tayari Jones’ An American Marriage to Anthony Ray Hinton’s memoir The Sun Does Shine.
OprahMag.com is posting an exclusive excerpt of the book.
“This book is everything you wanted to know and so much you didn’t even know you wanted to know. I believe it’s going to spark within you the desire to think about your own becoming,” Winfrey told the Associated Press. “It’s so well-written I can hear her voice; I can hear her expressions; I can feel her emotion. What she allows us to see is how she was able to discover, define and then refine her voice.”
Winfrey also tweeted the news, prompting a Twitter reply from Obama: “Thank you, Oprah! I’ve been so grateful for your friendship and advice for so long. And now I’m honored to join your amazing book club!”
In Becoming, Obama shares such deeply personal revelations as suffering a miscarriage and sharply criticizes President Donald Trump for promoting the false “birther” rumor that Barack Obama was not a U.S. citizen. The former first lady’s book comes out Tuesday via Crown Publishing, a part of Penguin Random House, and is among the most anticipated political memoirs in years, topping Amazon.com’s best-seller list throughout the weekend. It is expected to sell millions of copies. It is being published globally in 31 languages.
Winfrey, publishing’s most established hit-maker, knows the Obamas well, to the point where Michelle Obama and Ellen DeGeneres once teased each other over who was closer to her. Winfrey was a prominent backer of Barack Obama’s candidacy in 2008, and has interviewed both Obamas over the years. She is scheduled to be onstage Tuesday night with Michelle Obama at Chicago’s United Center, the first stop on Obama’s promotional tour, which also includes interviews with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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