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Dhaka Tribune

Biography claims Obama proposed to Ohio professor twice before meeting Michelle

Update : 04 May 2017, 09:01 PM

Former US president Barack Obama twice proposed to another woman before he met Michelle and kept on seeing her for the first year of his relationship with the future first lady, a new biography has claimed.

Sheila Miyoshi Jager was almost entirely omitted from Obama's own biography, Dreams of My Father, where she was simply combined with his other white exes into one character. But according to Rising Star, by David J Garrow, Jager played a huge role in Obama's formative years.

So much so that even after Barack met his wife-to-be Michelle, he kept seeing Jager on and off for at least a year, the book claims.

The couple were very much in love in the mid 1980s when they were living together in Chicago, according to Jager, who described them as being 'an island unto ourselves.' Their relationship quickly progressed and in the winter of 1986, while visiting his girlfriend's parents, Barack popped the question, Jager told Garrow.

Sheila Miyoshi Jager, 53, is associate professor and director of the East Asian program at Oberlin College in Ohio COLLECTED Sheila Miyoshi Jager, 53, is associate professor and director of the East Asian programme at Oberlin College in Ohio COLLECTED

But Jager's parents were concerned that she was too young - Jager was 23 and Obama was 25 - and refused his advances. They remained together, but it was about this time that Jager began to realise her then-boyfriend's "deep-seated need to be loved and admired".

But Obama was not ready to give up on Jager, and proposed to her for a second time, asking her to join him in Harvard.

Again Jager turned him down.

She believed that his proposal was "out of a sense of desperation over our eventual parting and not in any real faith in our future".

The second marriage rejection was too much for their relationship, and the couple split. Obama went to law school where he famously met Michelle, who was working there. The couple quickly fell for each other and began dating.

But Garrow claims that Jager and Barack continued to see each other on and off after she arrived at Harvard for a teaching fellowship.

"I always felt bad about it," Jager said.

However, after Barack and Michelle married in 1992, Jager says that they stopped seeing each other and their contact was limited to the odd letter or phone call.

The Obamas have not publicly responded to the claims in the book. But it is not the first time Barack's exes have been laid bare.

Another biography by Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist David Maraniss detailed his earlier relationships with white women Alexandra McNear and Genevieve Cook, who both allegedly accused him of being self-obsessed.

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