Michelle Obama: My Girls Prefer to Skip White House Sleepovers

04/27/2012 at 01:00 PM ET

As the first First Family in years to be raising young children in the White House, the Obamas expected their new living space would be a frequent play date destination, according to Michelle Obama.

But apparently that’s not the case, with Sasha, 10, and Malia, 13, preferring to spend time at their friends’ homes.

My kids are like every other kid in the sense that everybody else’s house is more interesting than their house,” Obama, 48, said Thursday during a Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day roundtable with women’s online outlets for her Let’s Move! initiative.

“We do sleepovers, but [The White House] is not their first choice.”

Michelle Obama with online women’s editors and their kids, including PEOPLE.com’s Shanelle Rein-Olowokere and her son (third from right) – Sonya N. Hebert/The White House

The First Lady reenacted a typical exchange with her daughters, who apparently are unimpressed with living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. “It’s like, ‘Well, don’t you think it’d be interesting for your friends to be here?’ ‘I don’t care,'” she jokes.

“I thought I would have kids over every weekend,” Obama admits. “So it’s surprising.”

But while Sasha and Malia might be less than wide-eyed about living in a national landmark, Obama says they still view herself and President Barack Obama as role models.

“I think in the end our kids look up to us, first and foremost, whether they admit it or not,” she tells PEOPLE. “We are our kids’ first and best role models … Everyone else is just a symbol of something. You don’t really get to know them well enough to idolize them or to have them impact your lives unless you’ve had a unique experience.”

As far as celebrity icons, Obama says her daughters share her own admiration for Beyoncé, who was recently named PEOPLE’s World’s Most Beautiful Woman.

“My girls love Beyoncé. They’ve met her, but they don’t know her,” the First Lady says. “They think she’s cool, they love dancing. She seems like a good mom. They’re rooting for her, but they know me. So I think for them, that’s why I’ve got to have my stuff together.”

— Liz Raftery with reporting by Shanelle Rein-Olowokere

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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Amanda on

I wonder if the secret service has to camp out at the houses where they sleep over.

Catca on


Of course the secret service has to camp out at the other families houses, just like they get to go to school with the girls as well. Just as they went to college with Jenna and Barbara Bush, and did all this stuff with Chelsea Clinton as well. They are the daughters of the President of the U.S.! for goodness sakes.

The more Michelle Obama is interviewed the more I like her. She is a very intelligent yet down to earth person.

Erin on

Amanda, the Secret Service does have to be with the girls wherever they are. Just as they were with the Bush girls while they were at college, their friends houses, bars, etc. We can all agree to leave the kids of the First Family alone. Can’t we? Or is that too much for you to handle?

J-Lin on

Michelle is the epitome and style and grace. She makes me proud to be an American.

Mel on

She has admiration for Beyonce? Really? Wow, out of all the people she could admire, she picks her….?okie dokie

Leslee on

Here we just had this big scandal in Columbia with the Secret Service and now we are discussing agent assignment to a very different sort of slumber party. That could be true punishment, detailed for 30 consecutive nights to a bunch of giggling teeny boppers oohing and ahhing over Justin Bieber until 4 AM. Worse than waterboarding.

erica2 on

Mel to admire means to like or be fond of why the hell is it a problem for the first lady and the first daughters to like beyonce….stfu! The first lady made it clear that both she and the president are their children’s primary role models she doesnt expect celebrities that they don’t know personally to be their role models. The president and first lady do a superb job of fulfilling that role for their children everyday.

Shannon on

“It’s like, ‘Well, don’t you think it’d be interesting for your friends to be here?’ ‘I don’t care,’”

^^^Spoken like a true teenager. 🙂

I agree that parents should be their children’s role models. Definitely!

Amanda on

Geez, what an angry bunch of women. It was an innocent question. I wasn’t being sarcastic or trying to imply that they don’t need protection. I just wondered is all.

Edie on

Not a fan of her or her husband at all!!!

SAR on

Amanda, I didn’t think you were doing anything other than asking a question. The people who replied are probably used to other people saying nasty things about President and/or Mrs. Obama whenever there’s a news item about them.

I admire Mrs. Obama very much. Both she and her husband are extremely involved and loving parents.

Lilarose1941 on

The Obamas are doing a great job raising their girls. Even the president’s kids need to have as normal a life as possible. If you don’t like them Edie, why not keep that to yourself. As a teen I had my crushes on a number of celebrities and “movie stars.” That included Elvis, and I would bet most posters like him too, even though he is deceased. I like any “star” who lives a respectable life, even if I don’t like their music or movies.

Erin on

Amanda, I thought about what I wrote and realized I was making an assumption. SAR is right, unfortunately I have to deal with people I work with constantly spouting off on the Obamas, and even their girls. So I owe you an apology, and I’m sorry.

birth on

ERIN at least you came down from your High-Horse and admitted to your disgusting mistake.

Sheryl on


I so admire Mrs. Obama. She is an amazing woman!

sally on

And they would rather have us pay for them to go to Mexico too! What a waste of article space!

Anonymous on

I can understand why they would want to go to their friends’ places. The White House doesn’t seem ideal for a slumber party. It’s too stiff and formal.

I’m also picturing big Secret Service brutes having to stand outside listening to chatter about Justin Bieber, hee hee.

Elizabeth on

Michelle is awfully full of herself? God forbid her children look up to someone other than her

L.B. on

I love hearing stories about the Obama girls because it seems like Michelle especially is focused on being a firm but loving mother to her daughters. She sounds like she is very approachable and warm but doesn’t make the mistake of trying too hard to be cool and be her daughters’ best friend.

Mikesgirl on

Parents don’t get to choose who their kids pick as role models but I would definitely think that she and the President would make great ones. I don’t agree with his political decisions, but they seem like wonderful parents.

Also, I was totally on board with her until the Beyonce thing.

Jacqueline on

Birth: Erin handled herself with maturity and admitted to misreading or misunderstanding Amanda’s comment. It was hardly a “disgusting mistake” and your words were unnecessary and not helpful.

Elizabeth: I guess I’m full of myself too, as is my husband: because we would rather our children look up to us first too. People like you just make me shake my head bc had she said “My girls really look up to Beyonce as a role model” you’d be all over her case about not being a good enough parent so her kids can look up to her. But because she said they DO look up to her you have to take the opposite approach. But you know what they say, some people will find ANY thing to be negative and condescending about. I guess that’s you!

Putting politics completely aside, I think the Obama’s are raising polite and intelligent young women. I actually do not agree with many of his policies and am not entirely happy with everything he’s done…but as a parent I think he and Michelle are doing a great job.

Katrina on

Beyonce is a drop out!!! Priorities Michelle, she is NOT a good role model for your girls or any other young black girl. Get over the hype. Find someone else

sylvia on

Do we really care about what goes on in the Obama White House?

sylvia on

Who cares about what goes on in the Obama white house?

sally on

@Jacqueline everything they do is political. You can’t put it aside especially when our tax dollars are paying to fly these kids to Mexico with the secret service watching over them.

Jess on

Katrina how dare you say that about Beyonce!! She is more of a role model than some of these other celebrities out there. So what she didn’t go to college? There are soldiers and marines who didn’t go to college and we admire them, don’t we?? There are other avenues to success that don’t have to include college

Jack on

It’s too bad woman can’t be more supportive of each other – I guess “mean girls” is not limited to junior high school. Michelle and Beyonce are fine women who have accomplished a lot in their lives and there is much to be admired.


I love Michelle Obama because she seems very smart, down-to-earth, and caring. I realize Beyonce is popular but don’t feel she’s a very good role model for youg girls. Beyonce acts like she’s cool and down-to-earth but I know people who have come across her path on different occasions and they have ALL said she’s stuck up and thinks she’s better than others. Hopefully, the Obama girls follow in their mother’s footsteps and come to their senses about looking up to Beyonce!

valerie on

Even if Beyonce is a “dropout” KATRINA! She is a very successful and rich “dropout” KATRINA. People are always hating on Beyonce, how can you hate on someone who started working at an early age horning in on her talent and continued through her teen years, became a sucess at what she does, fell in love with a man, married him first and than had a child. And all this done by the age of thirty, what it there not to admire about this woman?

Oh yeah, their are the Kardashians and the Teen Moms to look up too!

We all have different talents and if you choose not to perfect yours, don’t hate on someone who does, we are all the masters of our own ships!

Iris on

OMG I love Michelle Obama. so real and down to earth!!!

Sane1 on

WOW!! Some people in America have REALLY screwed up ways of thinking!!

I particularly like this article because these young girls are just children, regardless of what political ties their parents have. I think it’s wonderful that the Obamas allow their children to grow up normally and without the weight of the country on their shoulders – that’s their dad’s job, not theirs!

And to Mel, does it anger you that there are this many influential black people in the world? I mean the BLACK presidents BLACK WIFE admires and is fond of a BLACK singer. As far as I can see, why wouldn’t they be fond of Beyonce, she’s talented and she seranaded the Obamas!

sally on

Sane1 you fit right in: WOW!! Some people in America have REALLY screwed up ways of thinking!!

Gigi on

It’s absolutely fascinating how it was appropriate it was for the other Presidential kiddies to live off of the federal purse strings, but people expect these two little girls to get jobs or something and fend for themselves. Fascinating I say…

Cinder Lou on

Perhaps people have forgotten, but in Michelle’s own words, the first time she was ever proud of her country and being an American was when her husband was elected to the presidency. Before that … what? After that … what? Before Michelle becomes the role model of the year, one might do some research to find out how she really thinks and feels. I’m surprised that her shoulder doesn’t hurt from patting herself on the back so much.

BTran on

@Laura so who should be the good role model? rihanna?
and who said beyoncé thought she is better than others?
you should make up yo mind since 95% of the entertainment industry admires Beyoncé.

Brandi on

Mel, what kid doesn’t admire a celebrity when they’re 10 and 13 no matter if their dad is the President, a cop or a factory worker? You are WAY beyond critical over something that doesn’t even matter. Give it a rest.

jessesgirl72 on

I think most of you are missing the point here. Michelle was saying that she and her husband are the girls role models, because *EVERY* parent in the ultimate role model for their children, for good or bad, and whether the children or the parents admit it or know it. As she said, the kids have met Beyonce, but they know her- the day to day things they observe from their parents is the behavior they are going to model when they are adults. This is true if you’re the President of the United States, or if you’re a factory worker. She didn’t have to “do” anything before her husband’s Presidency (Although she was a lawyer and head of the U of Chicago Hospital External and Community Affairs. She didn’t just sit on her rear making negative posts on People.com!) to be a role model to her own children. That’s the way it works for everyone.

Leslie on

I think it’s funny all the people who are defending the Obamas and saying they “seem like nice people.” Yeah, sure, they seem like nice people, but the presidency is not a beauty pageant folks… it’s what they DO that’s important, not what they say to the cameras.

Obama has expanded the wars and invaded more countries than even Bush did, he’s authorized billions in bailouts to big banks, he kept Guantanamo prison open, approved big contracts for Halliburton (Cheney’s former company) and KBR, voted for the NDAA (which makes the Patriot act which Bush instated look like a joke), and has top campaign contributions from Goldman Sachs just like Bush.

So go ahead and keep defending the Obamas all you want. Just know that you sound like the Republicans who defended Bush when it was obvious he was making a disaster of our country.

Patricia Oliver on

Cinder Lou, re your observation “Perhaps people have forgotten, but in Michelle’s own words, the first time she was ever proud of her country and being an American was when her husband was elected to the presidency.” I’m certain she feels most fortunate to be a US citizen, as do I, even though after serving both in the military and the Peace Corps, I’m appalled and embarrassed by MANY of our nation’s policies and no longer feel particulary proud either. If we are such an above-reproach nation, why do other’s resent us so much? Although I have never done so, there are MANY international travellers out there that will lie and say they are Canadian rather than admit to being from the US!

Beth on

See that red headed kid on the left ? I bet his mom is pissed off ! I can just hear her whispering in his ear ” Get over here and get in the picture !! This is the First Lady !!!! hahahaha I’m not sure she is going to show this pic to a lot of friends.

Me Me on

Yeh right, nice person, who wasn’t proud of her country until her husband ran for President of it. Nice people alright, nice friends they have too. So many anti American people in their lives for many years, why is that. AND what are they doing for other African Americans living in poverty. Do they even care about POOR Americans since they aren’t POOR and can’t even relate to poor people.

Pat on

When did the White House become their house, it belongs to all the people of the United States and only on lone to those people until November 2012!!!

twinhappy on

Love her!

Alicia on

Moochelle needs to drink a huge mug of STFU.

Janis on

First of all, Malia’s trip to Mexico was a school trip that apparently happens annually. It wasn’t an “all fun” trip. They do alot of volunteer work while there in Mexico. Read the articles about it. I can understand being upset that our tax dollars are paying for the Secret Service to accompany her on a school trip, but it is what it is. It’s not Malia’s fault her father is the President. So, should she have stayed home and not participated just because of that fact? No. She deserved to go. She’s a great young girl who does well in school. Her trip to Mexico wasn’t just a typical normal school field trip. Lay off about the stupid Mexico trip. Regardless of politics, the Obamas are great parents who are raising two wonderful girls. That, after all, is going to be Barack and Michelle’s biggest and most important achievement ever.

linegonz on

You are reading and commenting so you must care. If not, don’t read these articles. Duh

Mary on

Leslie please head down to the local college and talk to the head professor of political science department, than come back and spew more inaccuracies about what president Obama has done! Get your facts straight before opening up that huge hole of yours!

fake michelle on

Michelle said they love FAKE Beyonce, wuaw, more fake then she is. She seems wonderful mother,? Really? how much money contribution for your campain?

Michellle O. YOUR ARE, FOR SURE, AS FAKE AS B, ONLY THE black americans and the idiots believe in you. I would like to hear from the people that they not going to vote for you.

Karen on

I’ll be so glad when this self-serving, pompous family is out of the White House. This has been the worst presidency since Carter.


@BTran – I DO know people who have (separately) worked with Beyonce and have said she’s a difficult and stuck-up diva who is waaaaaay too in love with herself. I’m not too sure where your statistical “95% of the entertainment industry admires Beyonce” comes from. I wouldn’t put too much money on that one if I were you. Who said Rihanna would be a good role model? Not me!

fake michelle on

Michelle is fake as Beyonce as, why some people believe is the super woman? please she try to sale herself. Beyonce gives money for their campain. I can not believe how even few people thing Michelle is a good woman.
People ,do you know when a first lady is good? when they help in a catrastophe situation. Most woman in EEUU make beautiful voluntary work and they do not said nothing.
She wants the people see her good.
I do not believe in her.

Lola on

Is it November yet…….

Nicole on

Racism is back at full force! The comments, the headlines, and the crimes that are being committed is freaking sad. I am tired of all the nonsense and adults have the nerves to talk about today’s youth when your the one showing them how to behave. Not everyone has to agree with liking, agreeing, wanting someone else’s beliefs or feelings on a subject …but these racist, spewing hate, belittling people because your assuming someone is something with the snap of a picture, and because “insiders “says its true, is not right considering you would not like to be trashed or lied on. Either way…people need to stop the hats.

Leslie on


I truly wish my comment was inaccurate. I voted for Obama in 2008 because I believed his Hope and Change platform. But after paying close attention to his administration’s actions, I don’t see any difference from what Bush was doing. It’s very disappointing and personally, I feel lied to.

Obama has proven without a doubt that he is bought and sold by the same people who were cozy with the Bushes. Obama has supported and EXPANDED the same policies as George Bush.

Here is a partial list of actions that have been authorized by Obama over the past 3 years:

– Signed the NDAA into law on Dec. 31st 2011 while on vacation in Hawaii– which means that assassinating US citizens w/o trial is now legal.
– Waged war on Libya without congressional approval
– Started a covert, drone war in Yemen
– Escalated the proxy war in Somalia
– Escalated the CIA drone war in Pakistan killing hundreds of women and children.
– Approved maintaining a military presence in Iraq even after “ending” the war
– Sharply escalated the war in Afghanistan
– Sent troops to Uganda without congressional approval
– Secretly deployed US special forces to 75 countries
– Sold $30 billion of weapons to the dictatorship in Saudi Arabia
– Signed an agreement for 7 military bases in Colombia
– Touted nuclear power, even after the disaster in Japan
– Opened up deep water oil drilling, even after the BP disaster
– Did a TV commercial promoting “clean coal”
– Defended “naked” body scans and toddler pat-downs at airports
– Signed the Patriot Act extension into law
– Continued Bush’s rendition program
– Continued Guantanamo prison after promising to close it
– Authorized the transfer of 7.7 billion US dollars to foreign and domestic banks.
– Top Obama campaign contributor is Goldman Sachs

You are more than welcome to research these facts and learn about it yourself. I wish these things weren’t true… but they are.

elle k on

Its kind of crazy that a nice article in which the first lady basically says it’s good to be a role model for your own children has turned into a debate about Beyonce, the President’s Policies, and secret service.

I’m pretty sure this is a parent/ child post, like the rest of the ones on this website but I guess that doesn’t matter.

I liked her message/ think it’s great that she let’s her children look up to celebrities, but knows that her influence is the most important!

meghan on

Until 2016, Pat. Trouble counting?

Good lord, Leslie. What website do you use to collect your propaganda?

Tammy on

Politics aside. Its got to be HARD as heck to raise two girls in the spotlight as the Obama’s (and previous tenants of the WH) are.

cfbjj1124 on

Reading all the comments just makes me laugh!!! People will fight over anything!!!!! Wow

Joanne on

I love President Obama, his wife and children…they are the “American Family”! Mrs. Obama continually strives to educate people about good nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle that obviously they all participate in. These are both so very important, especially in todays world where so many children are obese, families survive on cheap fast food and American’s health is demising. Their girls seem so grounded and healthy, love it!!

adw on

I can’t wait until November! Goodbye, Obamas!

Mindy on

Wow, what was supposed to be a cute and light hearted story about kids, has turned into another battle. I’m personally glad that these kids can try to have somewhat of a “normal kid” life and spend time with friends and have a great childhood. I hope they are not subjected to the internet and how people consistently look for a way to badger their parents or their (the kids) choices as role models. For once, I hope they are sheltered from this. No matter how much I may disagree with one of my daughter’s friend’s parents, I would NEVER talk down about them. Kids are very protective of their parents and at the same time, take it to heart when they are talked about in a negative manner. I work in the divorce field and have always told my client’s to never talk bad about the other parent, because techinally your child is part of both of you….if you say your “Dad/Mom is an idiot”, aren’t you telling your child that “part of him/her is an idiot??”

Katrina on

@Jess and Valerie, Jess I didn’t say college! She’s a high school dropout. High school is so easy to finish, tons of actress and others complete it online or fast tracked. She could have easily done it. Simple stuff. Valerie I’m not ‘hating’ on her, I just think it’s cazy that so many ppl love her. Good for her on what she’s done but finding a man and marrying him aren’t what I would call achievements! Big whoop…. let’s see if they are still together 50 years from now.

Katrina on

@Valerie, plus why does a role model have to be a celeb, there are plenty of non celebs worth admiring and who are you to tell me I haven’t lived up to my talents? you don’t know me or what I do. No need to get petty. All I said was looking up to someone who hasn’t completed high school is silly.



Katrina on

How do I sound stupid? You have provided no info to back up your claim. Must be a Beyonce/Obama lemming at work here. I bet you thought it was cute when she thought her baby was better than everyone elses and took over the hospital. Or maybe when she traded out members of DC like they were cards in her poker deck. Maybe your favorite part was when Obama lied to the regular man and told them he would actually change the world.

Eeyore on

Is it November yet? I’m SO ready for ODUMBA to be out of office? Worst president EVER – worse than Carter and that’s going a ways… 😦 So ready for the election to get here so we can get vote him out and be done with his socialistic S.H.I.T

meghan on

Sure Eeyore, because Mitt Romney is going really turn things around. You probably pray for him to pick Palin as a running mate. Or Santorum, so all of your rights as a woman can be run roughshod over.

pam on

Glad to see how many people are waking up !!!!!!Just be sure to vote this one out in Nov.
Dont want to watch another 4 years of Mushelles 400.00 sundresses, millions of dollar Spain vaca on taxpayer dime….People have been struggling for these years while they party w/Hollywood every Wed. nite at the WH and then some.
Give me anybody who will restore our freedoms and maturely and soberly put people back to work.Take away this giddy cras Family and give me a serious Leader w/no Blah Blah celebrity……Elevate people from the poorest up helping them to develop skills to help themselves and not just buying them off w/foodstamps and other Handoouts.Thats an Angelina philosophy and shes right.Empower those in need not cripple them.Thats harder and the mark of a true Leader.

pam on

Out they go!!!!!Vote .People are waking up to this giddy Celeb crazy empty Shirt Family all the while while so many are without jobs and struggling.Cras-insensitive,egomaniacs

Katie on

The only thing I care about is if they get packing come November 2012!!!!! Goodbye to socialism!!!!!!!!

dana on

Umm who cares………….lets do the important stuff while you are there and kep out of the limelight for once

dana on

who cares lets do the right stuff while you are there for your four years stay out of limelight and stop vacationing

dana on

Wow they changed my comment I wote umm who cares, and pay attention to important stuff and stop vacationing..Scarey that refered to as American Family I would like one that is not a bully and doesn’t smoke to represent American family

lynn on

I wouldn’t want my kids looking up to Beyonce either. The crazy nut spend so much money on her kids nursery-sure fans who are struggling want to hear that. These girls do not know what the real world is about. The older kids in white house have been in the real world some, and have gone to college, but these girls have had a much bigger silver spoon if you will than Romney’s kids and they want to talk about him being rich-funny how it’s one sided. Michele is fake IMO-she’s very smart and says/shops wherever she needs to appear to be “one of us”. They are not, I don’t vacation in HI and the Hamptons.

Off topic-but the fact that they invited Kardashians/Lindsay Lohan to dinner at WH shows how stupid they are. They think that will make them look hip, current. Lindsay is a horrible role model and has very little talent and should be NOWHERE near the WH.

Terri on

Nice article. The Obamas are a wonderful family to have representing American values to the world.

Please leave the political comments to the political websites.

Anonymous on

NOT even remotely an Obama fan, not of either one of them….phonies.

Alisa on

Great point, Pat! In the words of former President George W. Bush, “This isn’t my house. It’s the People’s house.”

Jillian on

Katrina how dare you say that about Beyonce!! She is more of a role model than some of these other celebrities out there. So what she didn’t go to college? There are soldiers and marines who didn’t go to college and we admire them, don’t we?? There are other avenues to success that don’t have to include college

– Jess on April 28th, 2012

To even suggest that marines and Beyonce are in the same catagory, gave me chills!

I have SO much to say because SO much is being said that is not true, but I know I will be wasting my time. So much ignorance on this page. I look forward to another four years with the Obamas. And if that doesn’t happen I guess I can blame everything on the new president from day one…..cause under all your theories the former president isn’t responsible once he leaves. Smh.

Alisa, while that’s what he was saying, that’s nit what he exactly said and when using quotes, you have to use what is exactly said….


PeterT on

Michelle’s motherly tone and family oriented activities is a welcome change to the White House. And she is a power house too. Love her!

swaprat on

OMG – Obummer and his unlovely wife have many of you folks fooled. These two are robbing our country blind. She with her $50,000 worth of fancy underwear – he was constant vacations – more than any other president. I really feel sorry for those girls. And beating up on Mitt Romney won’t do a bit of good. He WORKED for his money. He has a wonderful wife who raised FIVE children (although there was a report she didn’t do a lick of work LOL……Welcome President Romney.

carol in indy on

Those girls will never get over the fact that their parents were only thinking of themselves when they decided to go for WH in 2007. How selfish can parents be? 8-4 yrs old when they had their world turned up side down? Moochelle and Barry won;t have far to go when they look for blame as to why their kids are not what they thought they were and Moochelle.. You earn respect, not demand it.
I am just terribley sad that we have to continue to pay for this Man’s mistakes.

NoBama 12.
Welcome to the white house President Romney.

smiavs on

@Gigi and Beth. LOL.

Jillian on

I have never laughed so hard on here before at how funny one person thinks they are in their post. Your thought process is so flawed, but being that you are so close-minded I won’t elaborate. How did those Bush kids turn out after leaving the WH? The police were busy with them. But, wait…..that was probably Obama’s fault, too. George is blameless, as is his perfect little family…..please!