Barack Obama’s new biography gets up close and personal.
Author and law professor David Garrow is publishing a new biography about former president Barack Obama, and it reveals No. 44 popped the question to another woman before he met Michelle.
The 1,460-page book, called Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama, details the former free leader’s political triumphs and trials and all the moments leading up to his presidency, from family to education. Along the way, Garrow came across a story involving a woman in Obama’s life before Michelle – and we’re not talking about his mother.
In the book, reviewed in The Washington Post, Garrow repeatedly highlights a woman named Sheila Miyoshi Jager – Obama’s ex-girlfriend – who opens up about her former relationship with Barack. “In the winter of ‘86, when we visited my parents, he asked me to marry him,” Jager said. But after her parents objected, claiming she was too young to be tied down, Sheila told Barack, “Not yet.”
The two remained together after Jager subtly turned down Obama’s proposal. But in the early part of 1987, Obama’s then sort-of-fiancee noticed a change in the man she loved.
“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.”
As time went on, Obama later tried to end their relationship because of race, Garrow says in Rising Star. Jager is Japanese and Dutch, and according to a friend of Obama, he needed to fully identify as an African American if he was going to be taken seriously in the political sphere.
“The lines are very clearly drawn. . . . ” Obama once told a friend, according to Rising Star. “If I am going out with a white woman, I have no standing here.”
Sheila thought that decision was “wrong,” and Barack was left feeling “trapped between the woman he loved and the destiny he knew was his.”
Just before leaving Chicago to attend Harvard Law School, No. 44 asked Sheila to marry him one last time. She ultimately – and obviously – declined, and told Garrow she thought he only did it out of “desperation” to save the relationship. After that, Barack and Sheila “continued to see each other “irregularly” throughout his 1990-91 academic year” at Harvard, but that would hold no ground once Barack met Michelle!
Watch a video highlighting details Obama’s new biography, which hits stores next Tuesday (May 9), below.