Family and personal life
Obama met his wife, Michelle Robinson, in June 1989 when he was employed as a summer associate at the Chicago law firm of Sidley Austin. Assigned for three months as Obama's adviser at the firm, Robinson joined him at group social functions, but declined his initial offers to date. They began dating later that summer, became engaged in 1991, and were married on October 3, 1992. The couple's first daughter, Malia Ann Obama, was born in 1998, followed by a second daughter, Natasha ("Sasha"), in 2001.
Applying the proceeds of a book deal, the family moved in 2005 from a Hyde Park, Chicago condominium to their current $1.6 million house in neighboring Kenwood. The land adjacent to their house was simultaneously sold to the wife of developer Tony Rezko, a fundraiser for several prominent Illinois politicians from both major political parties, and the transaction later attracted some media scrutiny. Rezko was investigated for unrelated corruption charges, for which he was later convicted. Although Obama was not accused of any wrongdoing, he donated $150,000 in Rezko-linked campaign contributions to charity. In December 2007, Money magazine estimated the Obama family's net worth at $1.3 million. Their 2007 tax return showed a household income of $4.2 million, up from about $1 million in 2006 and $1.6 million in 2005, mostly from sales of his books.
In a 2006 interview, Obama highlighted the diversity of his extended family. "Michelle will tell you that when we get together for Christmas or Thanksgiving, it's like a little mini-United Nations," he said. "I've got relatives who look like Bernie Mac, and I've got relatives who look like Margaret Thatcher." Obama has seven half-siblings from his Kenyan father's family, six of them living, and a half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, the daughter of his mother and her Indonesian second husband. Soetoro-Ng is married to a Chinese Canadian. Obama's mother is survived by her Kansas-born mother, Madelyn Dunham. In Dreams from My Father, Obama ties his mother's family history to possible Native American ancestors and distant relatives of Jefferson Davis, president of the southern Confederacy during the American Civil War.
Obama plays basketball, a sport he participated in as a member of his high school's varsity team. Before announcing his presidential candidacy, he began a well-publicized effort to quit smoking. "I've never been a heavy smoker," Obama told the Chicago Tribune. "I've quit periodically over the last several years. I've got an ironclad demand from my wife that in the stresses of the campaign I do not succumb. I've been chewing Nicorette strenuously." Replying to an Associated Press survey of 2008 presidential candidates' personal tastes, he specified "architect" as his alternate career choice and "chili" as his favorite meal to cook. Asked to name a "hidden talent," Obama answered: "I'm a pretty good poker player." Obama is left-handed, but prefers his right hand for some tasks.In The Audacity of Hope, Obama writes that he "was not raised in a religious household." He describes his mother, raised by non-religious parents (whom Obama has specified elsewhere as "non-practicing Methodists and Baptists") to be detached from religion, yet "in many ways the most spiritually awakened person that I have ever known." He describes his Kenyan father as "raised a Muslim," but a "confirmed atheist" by the time his parents met, and his Indonesian stepfather as "a man who saw religion as not particularly useful." In the book, Obama explains how, through working with black churches as a community organizer while in his twenties, he came to understand "the power of the African-American religious tradition to spur social change.