17 Timeless Michelle Obama Throwback Photos from Her Early Years

Sweet Smiles

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When I think back to my childhood, I remember moments like this with my brother Craig. We grew up on the South Side of Chicago, in a diverse and changing neighborhood, hanging out with friends from all backgrounds. Today, I’ve got my old neighborhood on my mind as the @ObamaFoundation announces its third #ObamaSummit, which will take place not far from where this picture was taken. At the summit, we’ll welcome authors and artists, luminaries, and leaders to the South Side for a special conversation about how places like these reveal our purpose and make us into the people we’ve become. @BarackObama and I will share our own stories too—about how Chicago shaped our journey and how we hope the Obama Presidential Center will shape the journeys of others. You can join in by visiting obama.org, submitting a photo of a place that shaped you, and letting us know how that place gives you purpose. Can’t wait to hear your stories.

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The former first lady posted a photo of herself as a young girl with her brother Craig.

She captioned the snap of her smiling with chubby cheeks, “When I think back to my childhood, I remember moments like this with my brother Craig. We grew up on the South Side of Chicago, in a diverse and changing neighborhood, hanging out with friends from all backgrounds.” 

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Hanging With Mom

“Your unconditional love has made me who I am today. You are my rock. My ❤️. I’ll always be your Miche. I love you,” Obama wrote, dedicating this snuggly throwback to her mother, Marian Robinson.

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Family Time

Check out those tiny pigtails! Obama is pictured here with her late father, Fraser C. Robinson III, and her brother Craig. 

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Family Photo

The siblings pose with big smiles as they sit with their mom. 

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Candid Moments

In honor of National Siblings Day, Obama posted a photo of herself and her brother playing outside. In the snapshot, Craig poses with a baseball bat. Obama captioned the photo, “For as long as I can remember, my big brother Craig has always had my back. He’s still one of my best friends today. Thanks for always coming out swinging for me, Craig!”

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Chicago Cutie

Obama posted this photo from 1970 of herself hanging out in an adorable striped top with a smile on her face, in Chicago — the city that “made me who I am.” 

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Sibling Love

Obama and Craig are super close.

In this sweet photo posted in celebration of her brother’s birthday, the mother of two wrote: “Happy birthday to my big brother, Craig, who’s always been by my side whenever I’ve needed him. But what I love about Craig is he isn’t just that way around me. He’s always there for my mom, for his wife, and especially for his children. No matter what he’s got going on, he’s always making sure those around him know they’re loved.” 

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Quality Time

Obama is her mom’s mini-me in this throwback photo. And check out that night gown! 

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Picture Day

Look at that megawatt smile! Obama posted a photo of herself from grade school in an effort to raise awareness about the importance of education.

“I learned a lot in school—how to do my multiplication tables and structure a paragraph, yes, but also how to push myself, be a good friend, and dust myself off after a failure,” the Becoming author wrote. 

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Prom Queen

“Throwing it back to my 1982 prom night and this pink satin, polka-dotted dress,” Obama captioned this photo of herself with her prom date. 

If we went to school with Michelle Obama, there’s no doubt that we’d vote for her for Prom Queen. 

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First Day Jitters

The former first lady shared a photo of herself on campus at Princeton University in 1983, looking oh-so-’80s in her denim-on-demin look.  

“I can still remember the mix of excitement, hope, anxiety, and fear that accompanied me everywhere I went during my first year of college,” Obama said. “If I could tell the girl in this photo one thing, it would be to slow down and take a breath — you’ve got this. And that’s exactly what I want to say to all of you out there who are just starting college. You’ve got this, and I cannot wait to see where your journey takes you and everything you learn and achieve along the way.”

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Too Cool for School

The former FLOTUS posted a throwback of herself on Princeton’s campus, reflecting on her time as a first generation college student.

“I know that being a first-generation college student can be scary, because it was scary for me. I was black and from a working-class neighborhood in Chicago, while Princeton’s student body was generally white and well-to-do. I’d never stood out in a crowd or a classroom because of the color of my skin before. But I found close friends and a mentor who gave me the confidence to be myself,” Obama wrote. “Going to college is hard work, but every day I meet people whose lives have been profoundly changed by education, just as mine was. My advice to students is to be brave and stay with it.”

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Power Couple

The pair met in 1989, when Obama was assigned to be her future husband’s mentor at a law firm. 

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Better Together

The pair, who look ultra cool in this photo posted by the former president, are the definition of a power couple. 

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Wedding Bells

In honor of their 25th anniversary, Obama posted an adorable throwback from her wedding. She captioned the joyous snap, “You can’t tell it from this photo, but Barack woke up on our wedding day in October, 1992 with a nasty head cold. Somehow, by the time I met him at the altar, it had miraculously disappeared and we ended up dancing almost all night. Twenty five years later, we’re still having fun, while also doing the hard work to build our partnership and support each other as individuals. I can’t imagine going on this wild ride with anybody else.”

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Happily Married

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"You and I" #21Years

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Get yourself a man who looks at you the way that Barack looks at Michelle. They are the definition of couple goals. 

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Love and Life Advice

Michelle shared another sweet wedding throwback while reflecting on her podcast episode with guest Conan O’Brien. 

“Last week on The #MichelleObamaPodcast, Conan and I reflected on our marriages. This relationship can be one of the most foundational pieces of our identities—bringing us so much joy, meaning, and support every single day. But one thing is for sure: It also takes a lot of work; a lot of honesty with ourselves and our partners. That’s one thing I’ve learned,” Michelle wrote in the caption, before asking her followers to share their own marriage advice.

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