Million-dollar contracts and a luxurious life: how the Obamas made their last name an expensive brand
Barack Obama left the White House five years ago. During this time, a lot has changed in his life: for example, together with his wife Michelle, they wrote several autobiographical books that have become bestsellers in the United States and other countries of the world. The revenues from their sales have earned the former presidential couple millions of dollars, which they spend on luxury travel, luxury mansions and luxury brand outfits. About the family that managed to turn their last name into a major brand - in the material "Tapes.ru" from the cycle about the luxurious life of the rulers of all times and peoples.
“I'm generally surprised I have so much money,” 44th US President Barack Obama said in his 2018 speech at the annual lecture hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation in South Africa. When Obama left the White House, his popularity ratings skyrocketed, and so did his family's fortune. If at the very beginning of the presidency, in 2008, about $ 1,3 million lay on the account of the Obama family, then by 2021 this amount has grown exponentially. At the moment, according to various estimates, the family's capital ranges from $ 70 million to $ 135 million. At the same time, Barack and Michelle receive the lion's share of income for their books.
Michelle and Barack Obama are the epitome of a modern couple who have tremendous influence and yet remain an exemplary family. When they met, Michelle was 25 years old, and she confidently climbed the career ladder in a law firm in Chicago. At that time, the girl decided to give up dating - they distracted from work.
“I saw a picture of him in the summer edition of our employee handbook - the picture was clearly not flattering to him. The poorly lit shot showed a guy with a big smile, a kind of nerd. Barack's biography stated that he was born in Hawaii, which made him a relatively exotic nerd. Nothing else caught my eye, "is how Michelle Obama describes the first impression of Barack in her book Becoming.
However, upon meeting, the trainee delighted her with self-confidence, sincerity and out-of-the-box thinking. They quickly fell in love, and several years of long-distance relationship while Barack was at university did not interfere with their plans to be together.
The couple does not hide that they are constantly working on their relationship. However, this only adds to Michelle and Barack's points in the eyes of society - they seem to be ordinary spouses with human problems.
Having successfully survived eight years of presidency, the couple not only did not disappear from the public space, but also managed to turn their name into an expensive brand.
"I prefer not to talk about it at dinner."
In November 2020, the first part of Barack Obama's autobiography A Promised Land was released: in the first week of sales, more than 1,7 million copies were purchased. About the same number of memoirs of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were sold in the first week. This is not Obama's first creative success - for his previous books ("The Audacity of Hope" - The Audacity of Hope, "I Sing About You: A Message to My Daughters" - Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters, "My Father's Dreams" - Dreams From My Father), the former owner of the White House received over $ 15 million.
Michelle's talent as a book writer is hard for Barack's predecessors to compete with. Her autobiography Becoming has sold over 2018 million copies since its release in 10. The book became the fastest-selling book of that year, and Michelle's work entered the list of the most popular in history.
A deal with Penguin Random House to sell the rights to the couple's memoirs earned the Obamas about 60 million for each book. However, Michelle did not stop there, having managed to monetize the frenzied success of her publication. The promotional tour in support of the biography included over 30 cities, including European capitals. Michelle was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Reese Witherspoon and other famous women. The cost of tickets for the presentation of the book at the Brooklyn Barclays Center reached three thousand dollars apiece, and for admirers of the work of the former first lady 25 types of different goods were released - like candles at 35 dollars apiece and cups for 20 dollars.
The Obamas always donate 10 percent of their profits to charity.
“Barack and I have always believed in the power of storytelling,” commented Michelle Obama when the couple signed a partnership with Netflix in 2018. The deal was worth about $ 50 million. In addition, the production company Higher Ground Productions, founded by the former presidential couple, will take part in the creation of TV series, feature films and documentaries. Among them is the Becoming documentary, based in part on the memoirs of Michelle Obama, which was released on Netflix in May 2020.
However, despite the overwhelming success of The Becoming, there is no doubt that sales of Barack Obama's autobiography will break all records.
“At dinner I prefer not to talk about it,” Barack Obama joked on Jimmy Kimmel Live !, noting that the sales of his book are slightly higher than those of his wife. However, according to the former American leader, his wife is not upset about this. She jokes that with the money from the sale of his memoirs, she can buy herself new shoes.
In the footsteps of Clinton
At the end of his presidency, Obama, like other former American leaders, receives $ 200 a year. This money does not compare with the royalties that Barack and Michelle earn from selling books. In addition, Obama has mastered another source of income popular with former presidents, which the Clintons have pushed into fashion - paid speaking at conferences, private lectures and seminars.
Barak's prices are impressive - about 400 thousand dollars per performance. Michelle asks less for her speech - about 225 thousand dollars.
For example, Obama's lectures for Northern Trust cost the corporation $ 800, and for three appearances for Wall Street companies, the 44th US president earned $ 1,2 million, which caused a storm of indignation among many Americans. Obama's cooperation with bankers was considered hypocritical, because during his presidency, he harshly criticized large banks and the growth of financial inequality in society.
Michelle Obama has appeared on the cover of Vogue three times and deservedly bore the title of style icon. Vanity Fair praised the style of the Obamas in 2017, listing them. At the same time, the couple is known for their love of affordable fashion: Barack has repeatedly appeared in public in the same tuxedo, Michelle did not disdain outfits that an ordinary middle-class American woman can afford. However, their high status and impressive fortune allow them to pamper themselves with luxurious wardrobe items and accessories. For example, Barak, following the example of other rulers, has in his arsenal a Rolex Cellini watch worth about 15 thousand dollars. At the same time, in everyday life, the former president wears an affordable fitness watch for $ 150.
Michelle Obama's exclusive Versace evening gown, created specifically for a gala dinner at the White House, cost $ 12. In the wardrobe of the former first lady, you can also find dresses from Christian Siriano for a thousand dollars, a jacket with a skirt from J Mendel for 6,8 thousand dollars, as well as Jimmy Choo shoes and sneakers for 600 dollars. In addition, having left the White House with her family, Michelle can afford a more extravagant style: at the presentation of her book, she appeared in sparkling Balenciaga boots for $ 3,9 thousand.
“They’re just very cute. I thought: “These are cool boots!” - Obama explained the purchase.
Next door to the Trumps
After the comfort and luxury of the White House, the Obama family decided not to change their established habits. In addition, at that time, the youngest daughter of the spouses was still attending a Washington school, which was another reason to settle in the capital and postpone returning to the house in the south of Chicago (which, by the way, costs $ 2,5 million).
Michelle and Barack's new choice fell on the mansion they had previously rented in Kalorama, one of Washington's most fashionable historic districts.
The Tudor-style home of almost 800 square meters, with eight bedrooms and nine bathrooms, cost Obama $ 8,1 million. This mansion ranks second in value in the area - only the house of Amazon owner Jeff Bezos ($ 23 million) is more expensive. Obama's neighbors include Ivanka Trump with her husband Jared Kushner, as well as foreign ambassadors, whose residences are located in the same area.
Barack has also taken care of a holiday estate that would replace the presidential country villa at Camp David. Once again, the Obama couple chose familiar places - Martha's Vineyard, off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where Michelle and Barack had previously rented a vacation home. At various times, real estate on the island was owned by Jacqueline Kennedy, Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey. A secluded 650-square-meter mansion with seven bedrooms and eight bathrooms overlooking the lake and an area of about 30 acres (12,1 hectares) was sold to the Obama family for $ 11,75 million.
"You can't taste all the food, you can't travel everywhere"
Travel remains one of the main hobbies of the Obama family. And if earlier flights to exotic islands or European cities had to be combined with working meetings and diplomatic negotiations, then, after leaving the White House, Obama can afford to relax and go on a real vacation. This is exactly what he did right after the inauguration of Donald Trump. Promising to spend a few months restoring healthy sleep patterns, Barack and his family traveled to Palm Springs in southern California, and then traveled to the islands of French Polynesia, Hawaii and Bali.
In his homeland - Hawaii - Barack stayed at the Hale Reena mansion, which costs from five to 10 thousand dollars per day.
The family is often accompanied by world celebrities and multimillionaires with whom Obama has been friends since his presidency. For example, the former American leader spent time on the private 30-hectare Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, owned by Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin business empire. Only 30 guests can stay there at the same time, and to rent the entire island, you will have to pay about 75 thousand dollars per day. During his vacation, Barack enjoyed kiteboarding and swimming in the infinity pools overlooking the Caribbean Sea.
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On the private island of Tetiaroa in French Polynesia, the family rented a bungalow. It is believed that it was here, on the white beaches of this resort, that Barack worked on his memoirs, and in his free time went on excursions to the islands on the luxury yacht Rising Sun, which belongs to the American producer David Geffen, a generous sponsor of Obama's presidential campaign.
Together with Barack on this, one of the largest yachts in the world, his celebrity friends rested - Oprah Winfrey, actor Tom Hanks, musician Bruce Springsteen.
“The famous quartet, along with former First Lady Michelle Obama, boarded the luxury yacht Rising Sun for a tour of the islands of French Polynesia. They had breakfast on Vanilla Island, stopped at Le Tahaa Island, and continued on to Bora Bora, ”describes Obama's itinerary in Travel and Leisure.
However, the former president rests not only on the beaches: in 2019, the spouses and daughters were spotted in the French town of Villeneuve-les-Avignon. There they rented an 1,2th century mansion Le Mas des Poiriers, located on an islet in the middle of the river. The area of the house is 26 thousand square meters, and the cost of renting it - with 62 hectares of private property, pear orchards, a picturesque field with sunflowers, tennis courts and a swimming pool, as well as the services of two chefs and waiters - is XNUMX thousand dollars a week. However, the former presidential couple cannot be frightened with such expenses.
“You cannot taste all the food, you cannot travel everywhere. That is, I have enough money, ”Obama usually answers.
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