The differences between President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama are, by now, well documented. And unsurprisingly, so too are the differences between their wives. In fact, Melania Trump and Michell Obama have had their clothing choices compared, their gardening skills juxtaposed, their facial features and body language analyzed side-by-side, and their speeches contrasted. Indeed, the comparisons between the two first ladies can seem endless and inevitable. But
how Melania and Michelle talk about their husbands and their marriages may prove these first ladies aren't complete opposites after all.
Not every love story begins the same, and so it goes for the Obamas and the Trumps. While Trump is reported to have met Melania at a New York Fashion Week Party in Manhattan in 1998, the Obamas met via their work at a corporate law firm in Chicago in 1989.
In an interview with
Harper's Bazaar in 2016, Melania said she rebuffed Trump's initial request for her phone number, asking instead for his as a means of testing to see how serious he was about her. Michelle has also said that she initially turned down Obama's requests for a date.
But both women eventually gave in to their respective men. According to Melania, her first date with Trump consisted of dinner and a visit to Moomba, then an A-list hot-spot. Michelle told ABC News that her first date with Obama was spent visiting a museum, watching a movie, and getting ice cream.
Both couples would eventually marry, although their relationships followed different timelines. While Trump married Melania in 2005, some seven years after they'd first met, the Obamas married in 1992, roughly three years after they'd first met. Over the years, both women have had plenty to say about their marriages and their husbands.
It's A Lot Of Responsibility To Be Married To A Man Like Trump Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
"We work very hard, both of us," Melania said of Trump in a 2015 interview with
Parenting magazine . "It's a lot of responsibility for a woman to be married to a man like my husband. I need to be quick, smart and intelligent."
But according to Melania, that responsibility didn't make her marriage feel like work. "When you have love and respect and the best time together it feels fantastic," she said. "It's really something special."
Melania Doesn't Want To Change Trump Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images
"I know my husband. We have a great relationship. We are both very independent," Melania told
Parenting magazine . "We know what our roles are and we are happy with them. I think the mistake some people make is they try to change the man they love after they get married."
Melania advised against thinking you could change your partner, and instead told readers to just accept them. "He loves business, he breathes business. I love that about him, I love that," Melania said of Trump. "Doesn’t bother me. I am very independent. It is important to understand each other. If you need to change someone it will never work. You will try your whole life and never succeed."
Trump's Not As Bossy At Home As He Is At The Office Win McNamee/Getty Images News/Getty Images
"Maybe he makes demands in his business... but not at home," she told CNN's Larry King of Trump shortly after they were married in 2005. "
We are very equal in the relationship and that's very important. You know, to marry a man like Donald, you need to know who you are and you need to be very strong and smart. He needs to know that he can rely on me sometimes." Melania Thinks It's Important To Give Trump Space WPA Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images
"I don't want to say, 'come home and be with me,'" Melania said in a joint interview with Trump in 2005, according to CNN. "I don't want to change him.
I want to give him space and I think thats very important in the relationship." Melania Describes Trump As A Leader With An Amazing Heart
"Amazing heart. Amazing mind. Leader," Melania said when asked to describe Trump in one word during an interview with Fox News'
On the Record. "That's what I say, leader." Melania Gives Trump Her Opinions But Lets Him Do What He Wants Drew Angerer/Getty Images News/Getty Images
"We are both very independent — I let him be who he is and he lets me be who I am," she told CNN's Anderson Cooper in 2016. "I don't try to change him. He's an adult.
He knows the consequences and so I let him be who he is. I give him my opinions, many, many times and I don't agree with everything that he says, but that is normal."
Melania went on to say she often disagrees with Trump about some of the language he uses.
Michelle And Obama Enjoy A Healthy Rivalry Based In Love Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images
"We have a healthy rivalry, it's all about love," Michelle recently told author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie regarding the process of writing her memoir while Obama was in the process of writing his.
She Loved Obama Just The Way He Was Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images
"Our life before moving to Washington was filled with simple joys," Michelle said in a speech at the
2012 Democratic National Convention. "Saturdays at soccer games, Sundays at grandma's house, and a date night for Barack and me was either dinner or a movie, because as an exhausted mom, I couldn't stay awake for both."
But while simple, it was a life Michelle said she loved. "I loved the life we had built for our girls," she said. "I deeply loved the man I had built that life with and I didn't want that to change if he became president. I loved Barack just the way he was."
But The White House Didn't Change Obama
"When people ask me whether being in the White House has changed my husband, I can honestly say that when it comes to his character, and his convictions, and his heart, Barack Obama is still the same man I fell in love with all those years ago," Michelle went on to say at the
2012 Democratic National Convention. "He's the same man who, when our girls were first born, would anxiously check their cribs every few minutes to ensure they were still breathing, proudly showing them off to everyone we knew. That's the man who sits down with me and our girls for dinner nearly every night, patiently answering their questions about issues in the news, and strategizing about middle school friendships." Michelle Is Super Honest With Obama About How She Feels Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images
"One thing [that] is true [is] that I talk very candidly to my husband about how I feel, but that's the kind of relationship we have," Michelle once told CBS News
in 2012. The Obamas Took Time To Rediscover Themselves As a Couple Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Since leaving the White House the Obamas have taken time to rediscover what it feels like to be just Michelle and Barack. "We are finding each other again," the former first lady said. "We have dinners alone and chunks of time where it's just us — what we were when we started this thing: no kids, no publicity, no nothing.
Just us and our dreams." Michelle's Marriage To Obama Takes Work, And She Thinks That's Normal
Michelle opened up about how her marriage to Obama has weathered the storms brought on by his political career in
a 2009 interview with The New York Times. "It's unfair to the institution of marriage, and it's unfair for young people who are trying to build something, to project this perfection that doesn't exist," she said. "If our ups and downs in our marriage can help young couples sort of realize that good marriages take work." The former first lady said the image of an always perfect marriage was "the last thing" she and Obama wanted to project.
But while Melania and Michelle may approach their marriages differently, they have agreed on one thing — the secret to a happy marriage is separate bathrooms. Both women have, at separate times, divulged that
separate bathrooms are the key to making a marriage a success.