Michelle Obama on daughters Sasha & Malia having their first kiss & sleepovers during time in the White House

Michelle Obama is opening up about what it was like trying to give her kids a normal life against the backdrop of living in the White House.

The former first lady sat down with Gayle King at this year's Essence Festival in New Orleans on Saturday for a sprawling, hour-long interview that touched on many different aspects of Michelle's life, career and family.

When the conversation turned to her and Barack Obama's two daughters -- Malia, 21, and Sasha, 18 -- Michelle reflected on the family's unexpected rise to prominence and how they tried to keep their kids grounded.

"I credit my own upbringing, me and Barack," she shared. "We were regular folks, up until he gave that speech at the convention and it was like all of the sudden he was shot out of a rocket."

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Michelle Obama shows off new look at Essence Festival
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Michelle Obama shows off new look at Essence Festival
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JULY 06: A conversation with Michelle Obama takes place during the 2019 ESSENCE Festival at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on July 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JULY 06: A conversation with Michelle Obama takes place during the 2019 ESSENCE Festival at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on July 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JULY 06: A conversation with Michelle Obama takes place during the 2019 ESSENCE Festival at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on July 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JULY 06: Former First Lady Michelle Obama (L) is interviewed by Gayle King during the 2019 ESSENCE Festival at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on July 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JULY 06: Michelle Obama (L) is interviewed by Gayle King during the 25th Anniversary Essence Festival at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on July 6, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Gary Miller/WireImage)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JULY 06: Michelle Obama (L) is interviewed by Gayle King during the 25th Anniversary Essence Festival at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on July 6, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Gary Miller/WireImage)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JULY 06: Former First Lady Michelle Obama (L) is interviewed by Gayle King at the 25th Essence Music Festival at The Mercedes-Benz Superdome on July 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/FilmMagic)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JULY 06: Michelle Obama and Gayle King speak onstage during the 2019 ESSENCE Festival Presented By Coca-Cola at Louisiana Superdome on July 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for ESSENCE)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JULY 06: Michelle Obama speaks onstage during the 2019 ESSENCE Festival Presented By Coca-Cola at Louisiana Superdome on July 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for ESSENCE)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JULY 06: Michelle Obama speaks onstage during the 2019 ESSENCE Festival Presented By Coca-Cola at Louisiana Superdome on July 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for ESSENCE)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JULY 06: Former First Lady Michelle Obama is interviewed at the 25th Essence Music Festival at The Mercedes-Benz Superdome on July 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/FilmMagic)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JULY 06: Michelle Obama speaks onstage during the 2019 ESSENCE Festival Presented By Coca-Cola at Louisiana Superdome on July 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for ESSENCE)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JULY 06: Michelle Obama speaks onstage during the 2019 ESSENCE Festival Presented By Coca-Cola at Louisiana Superdome on July 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for ESSENCE)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JULY 06: Michelle Obama and Gayle King speak onstage during the 2019 ESSENCE Festival Presented By Coca-Cola at Louisiana Superdome on July 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for ESSENCE)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JULY 06: Former First Lady Michelle Obama (L) is interviewed by Gayle King at the 25th Essence Music Festival at The Mercedes-Benz Superdome on July 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/FilmMagic)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JULY 06: Michelle Obama and Gayle King speak onstage during the 2019 ESSENCE Festival Presented By Coca-Cola at Louisiana Superdome on July 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for ESSENCE)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JULY 06: Former First Lady Michelle Obama is interviewed at the 25th Essence Music Festival at The Mercedes-Benz Superdome on July 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/FilmMagic)
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Once they took center stage as the First Family of the United States, they did everything in their power to not let it go to their kids' heads.

"Our focus was to make sure they did what they needed to do, and that meant pretend like all the craziness around them wasn't happening," she explained.  "For eight years we were like, "Yup, your dad's president. That doesn't have anything to do with you. Take your butt to school. Yes, you have security, just ignore them, they're not here for you.'"

"'Your goal is to go to school, come back, get some decent grades. Don't act up. Don't embarrass us,'" Michelle added, reflecting on the values they tried to instill.

Despite these teachings, the normal things all kids experience while growing up were decidedly unusual for the Obama daughters, if not for the fame than simply because of the ever-present secret service agents.

"My kids had armed guards with them at all times," Michelle shared. "Imagine trying to have your first kiss [around] a bunch of men [with guns] and ear pieces."

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Sasha Obama goes to senior prom
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Sasha Obama goes to senior prom
Sasha Obama looking absolutely gorgeous with her date for prom last night. 💫😍 https://t.co/mxEuzAfO8e
I feel like a big brother watching my little sister go to the prom. Sasha Obama is such a beauty. And shout out t… https://t.co/KxwLr94mpj
My favorite part about Sasha Obama’s prom pics is the casual Secret Service Agent in the background https://t.co/NsNuw0OGgy
"Sasha Obama" grew up to be a beautiful young lady https://t.co/GrTsfpnxM9
Sasha Obama went to prom serving LOOKS! Pop off sis! https://t.co/uW3JHfGD5m
Sasha Obama in 2009 and on prom night 2019. She's all grown up.😭 https://t.co/Rpt4Y0128k
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"Imagine having Malia and Sasha come to your house for a sleepover. This is the call: 'OK, we're gonna need your social security number, we're gonna need your date of birth. There will be men coming to sweep your house. If you have guns and drugs, just tell them. Because they're going to find them anyway. Don't lie. They're not gonna take 'em, they just need to know where they are. And by the way, there will be a man with a gun sitting on the front porch all night. Let him come in and use the bathroom, it would just be nice.'"

"I mean, I'm surprised my kids have any friends, you know?" she added.

However, with both of her kids now out of the house and away at college, Michelle reveled in the fact that her and Barack are now "empty nesters." Not only do they have more time for themselves, their stress levels have decreased significantly.

"Not only were we parenting teenagers, but we were parenting teenagers who, every Saturday night, you had to worry about whether your kids are going to end up on Page Six," Michelle said. "It's stressful."

With their time alone in their home, she explained that she and her husband of almost 27 years are "rediscovering each other."

"This is the beauty of finding a partner you really love and respect -- because after all the highs and lows, the ups and downs we've been through, we have each other, which makes the journey worth it," Michelle reflected.

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Malia and Sasha Obama through the years
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Malia and Sasha Obama through the years

Illinois U.S. Senate candidate Democrat Barack Obama (2nd R), wife Michelle and their daughters Malia (R), 3, and Sasha (L), 6, spend time in their Chicago hotel room, November 2, 2004. Obama faces Republican candidate Alan Keys in the first Senate race with two African American candidates.

(REUTERS/John Gress)

Michelle Obama and her daughters Sasha and Malia (R) listen as her husband Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) speaks during a campaign stop in Oskaloosa, Iowa, July 4, 2007. REUTERS/Keith Bedford (UNITED STATES)
Sasha Obama walks from Jorge's Sombrero restaurant after a meal with her father U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) and her sister Malia and mother Michelle in Pueblo, Colorado November 1, 2008. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)

Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) is cheered by supporters after winning the Democratic Iowa caucuses in Des Moines, Iowa January 3, 2008. Obama is seen with his wife Michelle and daughters Malia (L) and Sasha.

(REUTERS/Jim Young/UNITED STATES)

'U.S. first lady Michelle Obama laughs while her daughter Malia reads a book to patients at the Children's National Medical Center in Washington. Also is Obama's other daughter Sasha.

(Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)

U..S President Barack Obama's daughters Malia and Sasha Obama watch the inaugural parade from their father's reviewing stand in Washington January 20, 2009. Barack Obama became the first black U.S. president on Tuesday and declared it is time to set aside petty differences and embark on a new era of responsibility to repair the country and its image abroad.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/UNITED STATES)

Sasha Obama, the youngest daughter of U.S. President Barack Obama, smiles as she looks at her sister Malia as they wait to collect takeout lunch at Nancy's restaurant in Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard, August 26, 2009.

(REUTERS/Jason Reed/UNITED STATES POLITICS)

U.S. President Barack Obama's daughters Malia (L) and Sasha play with the first family's dog Bo as they wait for Obama's return to Washington after a day trip to Ohio and Pennsylvania, where he participated in economic rallies, September 15, 2009.

(REUTERS/Mike Theiler)

President Barack Obama speaks onstage as Michelle Obama, Sasha Obama and Malia Obama look on during TNT's 'Christmas in Washington 2010' at the National Building Museum on December 12, 2010 in Washington, DC.

(Theo Wargo via Getty Images)

Malia Obama and Sasha Obama attend the first White House Dance Series with their mother, First Lady Michelle Obama, in the East Room of the White House September 7, 2010 in Washington, DC. The dance event was a tribute to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Judith Jamison, a famous modern dancer, choreographer and muse to Alvin Ailey.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama enjoys a "shaved ice" with his daughter Malia at Island Snow Hawaii while on vacation in Kailua January1, 2010.

(REUTERS/Hugh Gentry)

U.S. President Barack Obama walks with his daughter, Sasha, as they look at the White-Handed Gibbon at the Honolulu Zoo in Hawaii January 3, 2010.

(REUTERS/Larry Downing)

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, sit for a family portrait in the Oval Office, Dec. 11, 2011.

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

(Photo by Pete Souza/White House/Handout/Corbis via Getty Images)

11/23/12- The White House- Washington, DC

First Lady Michelle Obama, first daughters Malia and Sasha and first dog Bo receive the 2012 Christmas Tree.

(Photo by ImageCatcher News Service/Corbis via Getty Images)

11/21/12- The White House- Washington, DC

President Barack Obama and his daughters Malia and Sasha.

(Photo by ImageCatcher News Service/Corbis via Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama celebrates with first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia (R) and Sasha at their election night victory rally in Chicago, November 7, 2012.

(REUTERS/Jason Reed)

Sasha (L) and Malia Obama, daughters of US President Barack Obama, take a photo of themselves during the Presidential Inaugural Parade on January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC.

(JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama speaks to a cashier as he pays for books with daughter Malia at the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington on November 30, 2013 as part of Small Business Saturday.

(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama walks from Marine One with his daughter Sasha as they return to the White House in Washington January 5, 2014. Obama and his daughters were returning from a two week holiday vacation.

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Malia Obama and Sasha Obama speak onstage at TNT Christmas in Washington 2014 at the National Building Museum on December 14, 2014 in Washington, DC.

(Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage)

U.S. President Barack Obama's daughters Sasha (L) and Malia listen to their father during the pardoning of the National Thanksgiving Turkey "Cheese" at the White House in Washington November 26, 2014.

(REUTERS/Gary Cameron)

Sasha Obama, daughter of U.S. President Barack Obama, participates in the turkey pardoning ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House November 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. In a tradition dating back to 1947, the president pardons a turkey, sparing the tom -- and his alternate -- from becoming a Thanksgiving Day feast. This year, Americans were asked to choose which of two turkeys would be pardoned and to cast their votes on Twitter.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Malia Obama (R) and Sasha Obama after arrival at Malpensa Airport in Milan, on June 17, 2015.

(Photo by Andrea Spinelli/Corbis via Getty Images)

Malia Obama, daughter of U.S. President Barack Obama, participates in the turkey pardoning ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House November 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. In a tradition dating back to 1947, the president pardons a turkey, sparing the tom -- and his alternate -- from becoming a Thanksgiving Day feast. This year, Americans were asked to choose which of two turkeys would be pardoned and to cast their votes on Twitter.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Malia and Sasha Obama attend the national Christmas tree lighting ceremony on the Ellipse south of the White House December 3, 2015 in Washington, DC. The lighting of the tree is an annual tradition attended by the president and the first family.

(Photo by Olivier Douliery- Pool/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama and daughter Malia make their way to board Air Force One before departing from Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles on April 8, 2016. Obama is heading to San Francisco to take part in a Democratic National Committee roundtable discussion and to attend a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser.

(MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama and U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia (L) and Sasha (R) walk to Air Force One as they depart from Roswell, New Mexico, U.S., June 17, 2016.

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

U.S. President Barack Obama and his daughter Malia walk from Marine One to board Air Force One upon their departure from O'Hare Airport in Chicago April 7, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama and First lady Michelle Obama's youngest daughter Sasha (C) picks up her food at the Z-burger chain during the "I'm with Hillary" promotion in Washington, U.S., October 28, 2016. Customers using the password received a free hamburger today. REUTERS/Gary Cameron
Sasha (L) and Malia Obama, the daughters of U.S. President Barack Obama and U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama walk to Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., June 17, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Malia Obama attends the 2016 Budweiser Made in America Festival at Benjamin Franklin Parkway on September 4, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

(Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Anheuser-Busch)

HAVANA, CUBA - MARCH 22: (L-R) Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, U.S. first lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama react to the first run scored during an exhibition game between the Cuban national baseball team and Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Devil Rays at the Estado Latinoamericano March 22, 2016 in Havana, Cuba. This is the first time a sitting president has visited Cuba in 88 years.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Malia Obama (L) and Princess Lalla Meryem of Morocco attend an Iftar dinner at the royal palace in Marrakech, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal

Sasha Obama, daughter of U.S. President Barack Obama, attends her first State Dinner in honor of the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau at the White House in Washington March 10, 2016.

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Malia Obama attends a State Dinner at the White House March 10, 2016 in Washington, D.C. Hosted by President and First Lady Obama, the dinner is in honor of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and First Lady Sophie Gregoire Trudeau of Canada.

(Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama, U.S. first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia (R) and Sasha (L) board Air Force One at Cape Cod Coast Guard Air Station in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, U.S., August 21, 2016.

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

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