• 02:30
  • 16.12.2017
She dated Obama before Michelle
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15.12.2017

She dated Obama before Michelle

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The love story of Barack and Michelle Obama is one for the ages — they basically invented #relationshipgoals.
But before the iconic couple met in 1989, when they were both working at a Chicago law firm, Obama spent many years dating a different woman — Sheila Miyoshi Jager.
Details about this relationship have been revealed in a new biography on Obama, Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama, by David J. Garrow, who interviewed Jager about the former President.
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Obama mentioned her briefly in his own book, Dreams From My Father, but this is the first time we’ve heard the juicy details about what went down from Jager’s side.
Here’s some fast facts about Jager and her relationship with the 44th President of the United States.
1. She’s a college professor who specialises in Korean politics and history
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Jager is an associate professor and director of the East Asian program at Oberlin College in Ohio, where she lives with her husband and children. She’s written several books about Korean history and the decades-long tensions between North Korea, South Korea, America and China.
Her husband is historian Jiyul Kim, who specialises in East Asia, Cold War, and US foreign policy.
2. Obama always had his sights set on becoming President.
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When he was just 25, Jager says she sensed a change in Obama.
“He became ... so very ambitious” very suddenly,” she told Garrow. “I remember very clearly when this transformation happened, and I remember very specifically that by 1987, about a year into our relationship, he already had his sights on becoming president.”

3. Race was always an issue in their relationship
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They frequently discussed marriage, but the conversations were clouded by Obama’s “torment over this central issue of his life ... race and identity,” Jager said.
“The resolution of his black identity was directly linked to his decision to pursue a political career,” she said.
A close mutual friend of the couple recalls Obama explaining that “the lines are very clearly drawn ... If I am going out with a white woman, I have no standing here.”
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A different friend said Obama and Jager once had a loud, public fight about the topic, yelling: “That’s wrong! That’s wrong! That’s not a reason.”
4. Eventually, Obama asked Jager to marry him years before he proposed to Michelle
“In the winter of ‘86, when we visited my parents, he asked me to marry him,” Jager said, but she told him “not yet”. Still, they stayed together.
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5. He was still “involved” with Jager while he was beginning his romance with Michelle
Their relationship was on its last legs as Obama was set to depart Chicago for Harvard Law School, but still he proposed again, “mostly, I think, out of a sense of desperation over our eventual parting and not in any real faith in our future,” Jager said.
“Barack and Sheila had continued to see each other irregularly throughout the 1990-91 academic year, notwithstanding the deepening of Barack’s relationship with Michelle Robinson,” Garrow writes.
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“I always felt bad about it,” Jager said.
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