Michelle Obama says she and Barack 'bawled like babies' when they dropped their daughters at college, but there's a bright side to being empty nesters

  • Former First Lady Michelle Obama sat down for an interview with Oprah Winfrey at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday during the talk show host's "Vision Tour," which focuses on wellness.
  • Obama talked about how life has changed now that both of her daughters — Malia, 21, and Sasha, 18 — have left home to attend college. 
  • The "Becoming" author shared that the initial transition was tough, but now that she's an empty nester, she has more energy and time for herself, People reported. 
  • Obama said she's taking the time to define this next chapter in her life and concentrate on her relationship with her husband, Barack Obama.
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Former First Lady Michelle Obama is officially an empty nester. While the initial transition was filled with tears, both she and her husband, former President Barack Obama, have no complaints about their quieter lives. 

Michelle Obama joined Oprah Winfrey in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday at the Barclays Center for the talk show host's Oprah's 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus tour, which is going to nine cities across the US and focuses on wellness. Obama opened up to Winfrey about a number of topics, including how life has changed since her youngest daughter, Sasha, 18, headed off to the University of Michigan in the fall. 

This initial transition was tough — she and her husband cried (a lot) both when they dropped Malia, 21, at Harvard in 2017 and when they brought Sasha to school in September, Obama told Winfrey. Now that they've had a few months to settle into this new stage though, Obama said she's begun to enjoy it. 

"It is so good, y'all," she said during her interview with Winfrey. "No, it is really good," she added, Parade reported. 

The Obamas shed some tears when they dropped their daughters off at school

The Obama's two daughters, Malia, 21, and Sasha, 18, have both moved out to attend college.
Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images

Even though the Obamas have the ability to visit their daughters any chance they can, the former first couple still struggled with this new phase of having no kids at home. 

"We tried to hold it together," Michelle Obama told Winfrey of how the couple felt when they brought their daughters to their respective colleges. "We bawled like little babies. Barack gets that ugly, loud cry," she added jokingly. 

The former president has also been open about how difficult it was for him to see his daughters all grown up. He compared the college milestone to "open-heart surgery" in an interview with David Letterman on his Netflix series, "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction."

Barack and Michelle Obama now have more free time to delve into more creative projects

Since their daughters' big moves, both Michelle and Barack have been busy picking up projects they wouldn't have had time for while raising their daughters. The couple's production company, Higher Ground, just nabbed an Academy Award for "American Factory," a documentary about a Chinese investor who opens a factory in post-industrial Ohio. The company has distribution deals with both Netflix and Spotify. Michelle Obama is hosting an Instagram TV series that features stories of students in their first year of college.

Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) shares a moment with his wife Michelle on stage during a campaign rally in Detroit September 28, 2008.
REUTERS/Jason Reed

The couple has also been spotted vacationing in Hawaii and spending more time in Martha's Vineyard where they reportedly bought a $12 million home last year.

The Obamas are putting more energy into working on their relationship

Now that they've gotten used to a different pace of life, Michelle Obama told Winfrey that she and her husband have been able to connect in a way that wasn't possible before when their lives were more hectic. 

"We have more emotional time, emotional energy," she told Oprah, according to Yahoo Lifestyle.

Being an empty nester also has given her the ability to be more present in her marriage, Michelle Obama added.

"We're coming back to this point," Obama told Winfrey, "where we see each other again."

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