Photo Essay

  • A shower of confetti, as Michelle and her daughters celebrate Barack Obama’s Senate victory in Chicago, Nov. 2, 2004. Barack Obama defeated Republican candidate Alan Keyes to become the only African-American senator in the United States.
  • A Jan. 5, 2005 file photo shows Vice President Dick Cheney, right, administering the Senate oath to Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, during a mock swearing-in on Capitol Hill as his wife Michelle, center, and children, Malia, front left, and Sasha look on.
  • Michelle Obama reaches out to shake hands with supporters of her husband, then-presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama, as they arrive for a rally at the University of Illinois - Chicago on Feb 11, 2007.
  • The Obamas walk the inaugural parade route in Washington, Jan. 20, 2009.
  • First Lady Michelle Obama attends a meeting of the Corporation for National and Community Service at the Department of Commerce on Wednesday, May 20, 2009.
  • Planting with local school children at the White House Kitchen Garden March 16, 2011 in Washington, DC.
  • The first couple enjoys a basketball game between the between the Michigan State Spartans and the North Carolina Tar Heels aboard the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson on Nov. 11, 2011 in San Diego, California.
  • First Lady Michelle Obama and her mother Marian Robinson applaud a speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Sept. 6, 2012.
  • Mrs. Obama has lunch with Midshipmen at King Hall during her visit to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, April 17, 2013.
  • The First Lady practices her balance as she exercises with pre-kindergarten children at the Savoy School, one of eight schools selected last year for The Turnaround Arts Initiative at the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, May 24, 2013.
  • President Barack Obama, holding a tortilla from the buffet table at the White House Cinco de Mayo celebration, smiles at his wife as they get on the elevator to the private residence following the event on May 4, 2009.
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Happy Birthday, Michelle Obama

By msnbc staff

First lady Michelle Obama turned 50 on Jan. 17. The president’s wife is one of the most admired women in America, an advocate for children’s health and for military families–while also focusing on what she described as her most important job, mom-in-chief. Here’s a look at some moments from her life in the past 10 years, in public and private.