The Obamas are “Becoming” — billionaires. The Barack Obama Foundation has seen its contributions soar
The launch of Michelle Obama’s cross-country book tour for her new memoir, “Becoming,” last week is just the latest marker on the road to fabulous wealth for the former first couple, who are on their way to becoming a billion-dollar brand.
In addition to a $65 million book advance and an estimated $50 million deal with Netflix, both of which she shares with husband Barack Obama, the former first lady is poised to rake in millions from appearances on her 10-city US tour and sales of merchandise connected to her autobiography.
And like her husband, Michelle Obama is currently in demand as a speaker for corporations and non-profits, commanding $225,000 per appearance, The Post has learned.
Forbes estimated the couple made $20.5 million in salaries and book royalties between 2005 — when Obama became a federal senator and they first arrived in Washington — and 2016. They are now worth more than $135 million.
And that figure does not include the cash they are raking in for public speaking.
In October 2017, Michelle Obama was a keynote speaker at the Pennsylvania Conference for Women, a non-profit that promotes education and networking.
Obama did an on-stage interview with Hollywood producer and writer Shonda Rhimes in Philadelphia for an audience of 12,000.
The New York-based Harry Walker Agency Inc., which books both Obamas for speaking gigs, billed the Pennsylvania Conference for Women $225,000 in 2017, according to the non-profit’s most recent tax filings.
Barack Obama currently rakes in $400,000 per speech, and earned at least $1.2 million for three talks to Wall Street firms in 2017. The fees come on top of his $207,800 annual presidential pension, which he began receiving as soon as he left office.
Months after leaving the White House, the former president agreed to speak at a health care conference organized by financial services company Cantor Fitzgerald. This was in addition to $800,000 that he earned for two speeches to Northern Trust Corp and the Carlyle Group.
“Becoming” is already set to turn into an international best seller. In the book, Michelle Obama reveals details of her personal life, such as the couples counseling she sought with her husband and her struggles after a miscarriage, describing how she went on to conceive her two daughters by in vitro fertilization.
In addition to its US launch, the book was released in Australia, Ireland, South Africa, the UK, India and New Zealand. It will also be published in 25 languages around the world, according to a press release from Penguin Random House, the book’s New York-based publisher.
“Becoming” has already been chosen for Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club, a distinction that has catapulted many authors to mega bestseller status.
Tickets for “A Conversation with Michelle Obama” at sports venues across the country have also become a hot commodity.
Prices for Obama’s appearance at Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center next month currently range from $307 to $4,070, which includes a photo with Michelle Obama and a signed copy of “Becoming.”
In addition to cash from appearances and book sales, Obama will also reap the benefits of hawking 25 different items of merchandise connected to the book, many of which bear her likeness and feature inspirational messages.
The items include T-shirts and hoodies, a $20 “Find Your Voice” mug, and “Find Your Flame and Keep It Lit” candles, which retail for $35 each. Ten percent of the proceeds from the sales will go to the Global Girls Alliance, an initiative under the Barack Obama Foundation to provide education to adolescent girls around the world.
Barack Obama also donated some of the profits of his three bestselling books to charity.
According to Forbes, he donated $392,000 in royalties from a children’s book — “Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters” — to the Fisher House Foundation between 2009 and 2015. The non-profit supports families of veterans.
He raked in a combined $8.8 million for “The Audacity of Hope,” published in 2006, and his children’s book, which was released in 2010. He also made nearly $7 million from “Dreams from My Father.”
In addition to their multi-million dollar literary empire, the couple is set to reap the benefits of a creative production deal they signed with Netflix earlier this year.
The multi-year $50 million deal calls on the Obamas “to produce a diverse mix of content, including the potential for scripted series, unscripted series, docuseries, documentaries and features,” which will be broadcast in 190 countries, according to a statement from the streaming service, which has 125 million subscribers around the globe.