Courtesy Obama Robinson Family Archive From left: Malia, Michelle and Sasha Obama
As Michelle Obama hits the road on Tuesday to promote her new book to audiences in six cities, she wants photographers and the news media to know that her daughters remain off-limits.
On the eve of publication of The Light We Carry, Obama, 58, said in an interview with People en Español that the hardest truth she shares in the part-memoir, part-self-help book is anything having to do with Malia, 24, and Sasha, 21.
"It is hard for me to delve too deeply, for example, into the lessons I've learned as a parent because I'm trying to protect the privacy of my girls," she says. "You have to pull back on how much you share about their lives and how much you put them back out in the public eye because they're not looking for the attention."
The former first daughters, who Obama says share an apartment in the Los Angeles area, go about their post-White House private lives while frequently stalked by paparazzi. (As a matter of editorial policy for the private children of public figures, PEOPLE does not publish paparazzi of the Obama daughters.)
It's a fact of life that their mom vehemently rejects, even as she pulls back the curtain on her famous family's life a bit to share how, for example, she and her husband Barack cope with empty-nesting and parenting from afar. (Turns out the former president is the most active on the family text chain, protectively spamming his girls with articles about staying safe.)
"I'm trying to be helpful" on the topic of parenting, Obama explains to the Spanish-language outlet, "and my only examples are in my own parenting." So, she adds, "I find that to be a constant struggle of give and take."
"How much do I tell so that the media understands that my girls are not asking to be in the limelight? They are not social media stars. They are not looking to be followed by the paparazzi just because their mom wrote a book. ... And I hope the media hears me when I am saying this," says Obama.
She added that her daughters read and approved the book's passages about them prior to publication, but repeated: "They are not seeking the light."
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