Michelle Obama finally reveals why she will not run for office

Supporters of former first lady Michelle Obama have spent years hoping and sometimes even begging her to run for office -- and time and time again, she has disappointed them by saying she won't.

But in one of her first public engagements since leaving the White House in January, the former first lady opened up about why she's unwilling to run -- to protect her family.

SEE MORE: Trump mocks Obama big Wall Street paycheck

"It's all well and good until you start running, and then the knives come out," she said on Thursday, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

"Politics is tough, and it's hard on a family," she continued. "I wouldn't ask my children to do this again because, when you run for higher office, it's not just you, it's your whole family."

See what Barack, Michelle and Malia have been up to since leaving the White House:

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The Obamas post-presidency
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ORLANDO, FL - APRIL 27: Former United States first lady Michelle Obama smiles during a conversation at the AIA Conference on Architecture 2017 on April 27, 2017 in Orlando, Florida. Michelle Obama is making one of her first public speeches at the Orlando Conference since leaving the White House. (Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images)
Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a meeting with youth leaders at the Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago to discuss strategies for community organization and civic engagement in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., April 24, 2017. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
MUMBAI, INDIA - NOVEMBER 7, 2010: US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle wave as they board Air Force One to depart for New Delhi from Chattrapati Shivaji International airport in Mumbai on Sunday. President Barack Obama left the Indian city of Mumbai for New Delhi. (Photo by Kunal Patil/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 18: Malia Ann Obama seen out in Manhattan on April 18, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Robert Kamau/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 29: Malia Ann Obama is seen in Tribeca on March 29, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Alo Ceballos/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 24: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) The 44th President of The United States Barack Obama, poses backstage at The Roundabout Theatre Company's production of 'Arthur Miller's The Price' on Broadway at The American Airlines Theatre on February 24, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
Former U.S. President Barack Obama sits on a boat during a kite surfing outing with British businessman Richard Branson during his holiday on Branson's Moskito island, in the British Virgin Islands, in a picture handed out by Virgin on February 7, 2017. Jack Brockway/Virgin Handout via REUTERS FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY
THIS IMAGE IS BINNED Former U.S. President Barack Obama tries his hand at kite surfing during a holiday with British businessman Richard Branson on his island Moskito, in the British Virgin Islands, in a picture handed out by Virgin on February 7, 2017. Jack Brockway/Virgin Handout via REUTERS FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Former U.S. President Barack Obama and British businessman Richard Branson sit on a boat during Obama's holiday on Branson's Moskito island, in the British Virgin Islands, in a picture handed out by Virgin on February 7, 2017. Jack Brockway/Virgin Handout via REUTERS FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 08: Malia Obama is seen arriving at The Weinstein Company on February 8, 2017 in New York, New York. (Photo by Alessio Botticelli/GC Images)
UNSPCIFIED, BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS - FEBRUARY 1: In this undated image Former President Barack Obama takes a break from learning to kitesurf at Richard Branson's Necker Island retreat on February 1, 2017 in the British Virgin Islands. Former President Obama and his wife Michelle have been on an extended vacation since leaving office on January 20. (Photo by Jack Brockway/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 24: Malia Obama is seen walking in Soho on February 24, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 24: Malia Obama is seen walking in Soho on February 24, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 24: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Director Terry Kinney and The 44th President of The United States Barack Obama chat backstage at The Roundabout Theatre Company's production of 'Arthur Miller's The Price' on Broadway at The American Airlines Theatre on February 24, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 24: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) (L-R) Malia Obama, The 44th President of The United States Barack Obama, Danny DeVito, Mark Ruffalo, Jessica Hecht and Tony Shalhoub pose backstage at The Roundabout Theatre Company's production of 'Arthur Miller's The Price' on Broadway at The American Airlines Theatre on February 24, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 24: Malia Ann Obama is seen out in Manhattan with friend on February 24, 2017 in New York, New York. (Photo by Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 24: Malia Ann Obama is seen out in Manhattan with friend on February 24, 2017 in New York, New York. (Photo by Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 24: Malia Obama seen out in Manhattan on February 24, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Robert Kamau/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10: Michelle Obama leaves Upland restaurant on March 10, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10: Barack Obama leaves Upland restaurant on March 10, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
ORLANDO, FL - APRIL 27: Former United States first lady Michelle Obama (L), and Robert A. Ivy, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Institute of Architects greet the audience during the AIA Conference on Architecture 2017 on April 27, 2017 in Orlando, Florida. Michelle Obama is making one of her first public speeches at the Orlando Conference since leaving the White House. (Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images)
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The remarks came during an event she joined at the American Institute of Architects' annual conference.

The Obama daughters were not even teenagers when Barack Obama first moved into the White House, and while the press largely abided the unofficial rule against coverage of young first children, Michelle faced significant criticism during her time in the White House.

From her work to reduce childhood obesity through her "Let's Move" campaign to her fashion choices -- critics did not hesitate to share their sometimes blunt disdain for the former first lady.

SEE MORE: Professor who taught Obamas: Michelle should have been president

Michelle Obama may be done subjecting her family to the harsh political spotlight, but at least one key figure believes she would have made the better president.

Charles Ogletree, a Harvard professor who taught both of the Obamas, said recently of Barack, "you know his wife should have been president, absolutely."

See Michelle Obama pal around with her buddy George W. Bush:

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Photos of pals Michelle Obama and George W. Bush together
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Photos of pals Michelle Obama and George W. Bush together
Former President George W. Bush (L) holds hands with first lady Michelle Obama during a memorial service following the multiple police shootings in Dallas, Texas, U.S., July 12, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Former president George W. Bush (L) and First Lady Michelle Obama talk during a memorial service following the multiple police shootings in Dallas, Texas, U.S., July 12, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
First lady Michelle Obama kisses former President George W. Bush as he shakes hands with U.S. President Barack Obama after Bush spoke at a memorial service for five policemen killed last week in a sniper attack in Dallas, Texas July 12, 2016. At left is former first lady Laura Bush. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Former first lady Laura Bush ( from L to R), former president George W. Bush, first lady Michelle Obama, U.S. President Barack Obama and U.S. Representative John Lewis (D-GA) participate in a commemoration at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, March 7, 2015. Obama called on Americans to carry forward the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement on Saturday during a visit to Selma, Alabama, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a march that sparked the 1965 Voting Rights Act. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ANNIVERSARY SOCIETY)
(L-R) Former U.S. first lady Laura Bush and former president George W. Bush join current first lady Michelle Obama and U.S. President Barack Obama for a commemoration at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, March 7, 2015. With a nod to ongoing U.S. racial tension and threats to voting rights, Obama declared the work of the Civil Rights Movement advanced but unfinished on Saturday during a visit to the Alabama bridge that spawned a landmark voting law. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ANNIVERSARY SOCIETY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
U.S. President Barack Obama (L) poses alongside former U.S. President George W. Bush, former first lady Laura Bush and first lady Michelle Obama after the Bushs' official White House portraits were unveiled during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington May 31, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY)
U.S. President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, former president George W. Bush (2nd L) and Laura Bush salute the flag during tenth anniversary ceremonies at the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site in New York, September 11, 2011. The 9/11 attacks changed life in the United States forever, but 10 years after the devastating hit, New Yorkers have learned to live in a more dangerous world and are ready to move on. REUTERS/Allan Tannenbaum/Pool (UNITED STATES)
U.S. President George W. Bush greets U.S. President-elect Barack Obama (L) on the North Portico of the White House in Washington, January 20, 2009. First lady Laura Bush is second from left, and Michelle Obama is at right. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES)
U.S. President George W. Bush (R) kisses Michelle Obama on the North Portico of the White House in Washington January 20, 2009. First lady Laura Bush (L) and President-elect Barack Obama chat prior to going inside the White House. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES)
US President George W. Bush greets President-elect Barack Obama and his wife Michelle (C) as they arrive to the White House in Washington, November 10, 2008. REUTERS/Jim Bourg (UNITED STATES)
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