I remember coming home and telling you about the one conversation I had with Michelle Obama, for a story I wrote about her husband the senator in 2006. She talked in the blunt way she used to be able to before he became a presidential candidate. She said she couldn’t stand Washington, couldn’t think of a single good thing to say about it, which is why she had decided to stay back in Chicago with their daughters. But she really believed in Barack and because of that was willing—though hardly eager—to make major personal sacrifices for the sake of his political career. That interview, and a longer one I had with him for the same story, left me with an inkling about their marriage. Not an understanding of it—just a sense of how rich a subject it might be. Both Obamas are deep, layered, hard-to-read people. As personalities, they have some appealing qualities in common. They’re driven, but unusually observant and reflective for driven people. The most reluctant of political couples, they’re allergic to performance and fakery. Their relationship is obviously authentic—and clearly has its share of tensions and difficulties.