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Marian Robinson, mother of US first lady

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Michelle Obama has our love and support tonight as news spreads that her mother, Marian Robinson, has died. While Marian’s life greatly impacted many, there is nothing like a mother’s love and the bond between mother and daughter.

Marian, who became a household name during President Barack Obama’s eight years in office, passed away this evening, according to a statement from the Robinson and Obama families. She was 86.

“We will all miss her greatly, and we wish she were here to offer us some perspective, to mend our heavy hearts with a laugh and a dose of her wisdom,” says the statement released on May 31.

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Marian Robinson provided a sense of normalcy for Sasha and Malia in the White House; she taught them how to do laundry.

US President Barack Obama's Inauguration

Source: Ken Cedeno / Getty

Most of the world got to know Marian through her time in the White House. With a “healthy nudge,” she agreed to go live with the Obamas in Washington, D.C., to help care for Sasha and Malia. The two were in grade school at the time, and according to the family’s recent statement, “she relished her role as a grandmother.”

Her presence in the White House provided a critical sense of normalcy and security for the growing sisters living in one of the most-watched places in the United States. (According to an interview with CBS News, she taught Sasha and Malia how to do their laundry).

Through pictures, events, and news coverage, their relationship was beautiful to watch.

Though her roles as a grandparent and mother were important to her, Marian was a woman of many talents and passions. Back in her hometown of Chicago, she volunteered for the PTA and taught her children to read at an early age. Education was vital to her, and she pushed Michelle and her brother Craig to go far in their scholastics.

The family says she also enjoyed “trading wise-cracks, traveling, and enjoying a good glass of wine.”

Michelle Obama and Marian shared a special bond.

Princeton v American

Source: Mitchell Layton / Getty

Our forever FLOTUS is also known for her love of wine. We are sure the two often shared a glass together.

Michelle and Marian had a unique and special relationship. Michelle frequently posted loving online tributes to her mother for birthdays and Mother’s Days, to name a few.

Marian returned the same love and admiration for her daughter. She was one of her biggest cheerleaders. During a 2009 interview with ESSENCE, she said about her daughter, “Michelle has always been Michelle. And she has always accomplished whatever it was she set out to accomplish. I have always looked up to Michelle because she has been able to do things that I couldn’t do emotionally, psychologically or physically. I think she is amazing.”

Additionally, she told Gayle King after leaving the White House, “Now my saying is, ‘When I grow up, I would like to be like Michelle Obama.’”

Michelle and Marian’s bond was evident in heartfelt messages and interviews, a testament to the love and respect they shared.

Our hearts go out to First Lady Michelle, President Obama, Sasha, Malia, Craig, and everyone touched by Marian Robinson. In honor of her life and legacy, see our gallery of endearing mother-daughter moments between Marian and Michelle below.

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In Pictures: Remembering First Lady Michelle Obama’s Mother Marian Robinson  was originally published on

1. Michelle’s 2024 Mother’s Day post focuses on wisdom.

Michelle used her most recent Mother’s Day post to focus on the wisdom her mother gave. “She’s taught me so much over the years, and I feel so lucky that I get to pass that same wisdom down to my own girls,” the First Lady wrote this past month.

2. Michelle calls Marian “her rock.”

“I’ll always be your Miche. I love you,” Michelle says in a 2017 birthday message.

3. This 2017 mother-daughter capture oozes love, admiration, and respect.

We are loving this gorgeous picture of Michelle and Marian in Washington, DC. Posted in 2017, the image shows the love, admiration, and support the two women had for each other.

4. Michelle shares how her mother, Marian, helped inspire her independence.

“My mom understood the importance of setting aside her fears and allowing me the power of my own competence. And because she had faith in me, I had faith in me, too.” Michelle shares as part of her best-selling novel. “As scared as I was, I felt a sense of pride and independence, which became important building blocks in my foundation as an independent human being.”

5. Marian reminds Michelle that there is always ‘a place for her at home.’

“My mother taught me how to think for myself and use my voice,” Michelle said in a 2022 tribute post to her parents. “She has been a constant as I continue to navigate life—teaching me how to raise each of my daughters for who they are, and always reminding me that when days get tough, there’s always a place for me at home.”

6. Michelle & Craig About Marian: ‘She was our backstop, a calm and nonjudgmental witness.’

Here, Michelle posted a family picture of her, her mother, and her brother, Craig. The three had a tremendous bond. In the family’s May 31 statement, Craig and Michelle noted, “As a mother, she was our backstop, a calm and nonjudgmental witness to our triumphs and stumbles. She was always, always there, welcoming us back home no matter how far we had journeyed, with that deep and abiding love.”