Michelle Obama 55th Birthday: The Former First Lady in Pictures

00 Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama 55th Birthday: The Former First Lady in Pictures Barack Obama

Barack Obama has given the world another reason to miss the former first couple. For Michelle Obama's 55th birthday on January 18, he tweeted an adorable throwback photo of the pair, thought to have been taken in the Kenyan city of Mombasa in the early 90s.

He captioned the picture: "I knew it way back then and I'm absolutely convinced of it today — you're one of a kind, @MichelleObama. Happy Birthday!"

The post was retweeted by the former first lady: "Feeling so incredibly thankful for my South Side roots, my soul-affirming partner and daughters, and every unimaginable twist and turn over these 55 years," she captioned the retweet. "Can't wait to see what becomes of the next one!"

In contrast to the guarded, stilted appearance of the current first couple, the Obamas continue to be extremely open about the difficulties, as well as the enduring affection, in their 27-year marriage. In her 2018 memoir, Becoming, Michelle wrote candidly about growing up in a small apartment in Chicago's South Side, her journey to becoming a Princeton and Harvard-educated lawyer and then a campaigning First Lady.

The book also details her struggle with infertility, and the subsequent difficulty of being a working mother to daughters Malia and Sasha, as well as a wife to a man with presidential ambitions. She credits couples counseling for allowing the pair to loosen the "knot" of resentment, and allowing Michelle to carve out a space for her own needs in the marriage.

Since Barack's presidency ended, Michelle has continued to come into her own. Becoming spent the longest time at No. 1 on Amazon's best seller list for any book since 2012's Fifty Shades of Grey. In December 2018, she was voted as America's most admired woman in a Gallup poll, ending Hillary Clinton's 17-year run at number one.

Yet it looks unlikely that Michelle will use this cultural capital for political gain. "I've never had the passion for politics," she told a leadership conference in 2018 when asked if she would consider a presidential run in 2020. "I just happened to be married to somebody who has the passion for politics, and he drug me kicking and screaming into the arena."

Read more: Michelle Obama Birthday: Quotes From the Former First Lady

What she decides to do next is open for debate, but her previous form suggests it will be nothing short of excellent. To celebrate Michelle's incredible life and career as she turns 55, Newsweek has chosen some of her best moments, from her youth to her life after the White House.

1984 Michelle Obama Princeton
Obama-Robinson Archive

Michelle Robinson is seen as a student at Princeton University, which she entered in 1981, majoring in sociology and graduating in 1985.

2004 Michelle Obama
Scott Olson/Getty Images

November 2, 2004: Candidate for the U.S. Senate Barack Obama (D-IL) sits with his wife Michelle and daughters Sasha (aged 3, left) and Malia (ahed 6) in a hotel room in Chicago as they wait for election returns to come in.

20041102 Michelle Obama
Scott Olson/Getty Images

November 2, 2004: Barack Obama, holding his daughter Malia, celebrates with wife Michelle and youngest daughter Sasha, after his victory over Republican rival Alan Keyes the Illinois Senate race.

20050104 Michelle Obama
Alex Wong/Getty Images

January 4, 2005: Senator Barack Obama poses for with his wife Michelle, Vice President Dick Cheney and daughters Malia and Sasha during the reenactment of his swearing -in ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

20050104a Michelle Obama
Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images

January 4, 2005: Senator Barack Obama, 43, and his wife Michelle, 40, smile after his swearing-in ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.

20080603 Michelle Obama
Scott Olson/Getty Images

June 3, 2008: Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama and his wife Michelle bump fists at an election night rally at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. 

20080828 Michelle Obama
Chuck Kennedy-Pool/Getty Images

August 28, 2008: Barack and Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia and Sasha stand on the stage after he accepted the Democratic presidential nomination during the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado. 

20081104 Michelle Obama
Scott Olson/Getty Images

November 4, 2008: President-elect Barack Obama walks on stage with his wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha to address his supports during an election night gathering in Grant Park on in Chicago, Illinois. Obama defeated Republican nominee Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) by a wide margin to become the first black U.S. President elect.