Will there be a divorce in the White House soon? It is a ridiculous question on its face but for some strange reason this question consistently comes up in Divorce Saloon’s most popular search terms. What gives? No clue but something finally prompted me to address the question once and for all. Here’s the deal: I do not personally think the Obamas are even thinking about a divorce. But stranger things have definitely happened and in the world we live in today, unfortunately one cannot rule anything out.
Has there ever even been a divorce in the White House? That is, has a sitting U.S. president ever given his wife her divorce papers ever in the nation’s history? I am inclined to say no. But a quick Google search of this question reveals that…indeed, the answer appears to be “no.” Ronald Reagan was a divorced man prior to attaining the presidency back in the 1980s. He had long been divorced from Jane Wyman and was happily married to his true soulmate Nancy Davis Reagan when he became president. He is the only president according to my cursory research that has ever been “divorced.” A few have married in office though. I think about three presidents married in office – two after their first wives died while he was a sitting president.
But if Barack and Michelle Obama were to divorce while he is still a sitting president, he would make history all over again. He would be the nation’s first Black president; and the first president to divorce while in office. A White House divorce is probably not something Mr Obama wants as part of his legacy. Michelle would be the first First Lady of the United States to receive her divorce papers while her husband was actively engaged in serving the nation as President. It would be an unfortunate record for her as well.
The Obamas strike me as too classy and too concerned about their legacy to allow their marriage to unravel while still in office. It would be such an incredible mess, so tacky. How would it even work? Who would be the divorce lawyer? Would there be a trial? Is there a prenuptial agreement or post nup? Would it be challenged? Will Sasha and Malia be used as pawns? Will Michelle write a tell all book? It’s too much. The media would have a field day. The Republicans would have a field day and everyone who resents Obama for being a resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the first place would have a field day. He would be remembered for nothing else. Indeed, not even Bill Clinton would be remembered as unfavorably. The Monica Lewinsky Affair defines Clinton’s presidency; but it is nothing compared to what an Obama divorce would do to Barack Obama’s record.
So why are we getting these persistent queries about an Obama divorce? Who knows? I doubt it has any basis in fact. Sure, the Obamas are like any other married couple. They have their problems like anyone else, to be sure. There have probably been more than a few nights that they have slept apart (because they are angry with each other) during their stint at the White House. But it is unlikely that any of these events mean anything as fatal as a “divorce.”