Since setting off to Harvard in 2017, Malia Obama has been living it up at college, grabbing headlines for underage drinking poolside rosé, smoking, and — in a move not so dissimilar from Britney Spears and her famed umbrella — verbally eviscerating a grandmother who snapped her photo without permission. Basically, she’s just been doing normal college stuff, and that includes finding herself a hot, British, millionaire boyfriend named Rory Farquharson. Hey, if you’re going to earn one of the most prestigious degrees in the world, you might as well have fun while you’re doing it.
In the past, former President Barack Obama claimed he was “pretty relaxed” about his daughters entering the dating pool, largely because they were under the watchful eye of the Secret Service. “There’s only so much these guys can do! These poor young men come by the house,” he told Raleigh’s WDCJ radio station (via ABC News) in 2016. However, since moving to Cambridge, Malia is out on her own, left to inadvertently defy her mother’s parting wishes. According to Page Six, Michelle Obama warned her eldest to avoid the pages of the infamous tabloids.
Needless to say, that didn’t work out. It’s hard to stay incognito when you’re traveling the globe with your lover like a reenactment of those few weeks when Taylor Swift dated Tom Hiddleston. So, who’s Malia Obama’s beau? At the time of this writing, the pair have been dating for nearly three years, and it looks like it’s getting serious.
Malia Obama and Rory Farquharson were first spotted kissing at a Harvard tailgate
Though Harvard seemed like it would be an adjustment for someone used to living the White House (hello, cramped dorm rooms), Malia Obama appeared to have no problems adjusting. In November of her freshman year in 2017, the then-new student was spotted doing what college kids do best — hanging out at a football tailgate and publicly making out. As it turned out, her partner-in-crime during the PDA fest, the boy TMZ originally labeled as a “mystery man,” was later identified as Rory Farquharson. Little did we know that young love was blossoming right before our eyes.
According to TMZ, the make-out session happened at Obama’s first Harvard-Yale football game, a monumental occasion for the Ivy League set. Per the Daily Mail, she wore a stylish Harvard bucket hat and puffer jacket while Farquharson donned a long-sleeve Harvard shirt. In short: they were just moments into their budding relationship and they were already matching (or, more realistically, just showing some school pride). Go Crimson, and Go Malia!
The couple went public during Malia Obama's second semester
It took a couple months for Malia Obama and Rory Farquharson to go public following their papped PDA at the Harvard tailgate. We don’t know when they made things official, but by the former first daughter’s second semester, the pair were unabashedly an item — and vying for separate best-dressed titles. Chalk it up to the consequences of tabloid culture.
In January 2018, USA Today spotted the couple on their first public outing: a stroll through New York City on an unseasonably warm day. Subsequently, Vanity Fair celebrated the pair for “master[ing] New York City street style,” largely due to Farquharson’s truly British taste in Harry Potter-style sunglasses. “The only thing we’ll say is this: look at his tiny, tiny, tiny sunglasses! Look at them! If you can even see them! They’re so tiny,” they wrote.
This was the first time Farquharson’s fashion outshined Obama’s, but it’s probably not the last (though it’s not like Harper’s Bazaar is lining up to writing a guide to Farquharson’s duds just yet). Is this how Michelle Obama felt during Barack Obama’s whole tan suit debacle?
Rory Farquharson is considered 'quite a catch' back home
Malia Obama didn’t just do good with Rory Farquharson — she did great. The Brit was apparently one of Harvard’s most eligible bachelors, with an impressive education and sports career behind him. According to the Daily Mail, he attended the $42,500-a-year Rugby School, one of England’s most prestigious private schools, which ranks just under Eton and Harrow. For reference, past students include former UK prime minister Neville Chamberlain, Sherlock Holmes writer Anthony Horowitz, and Harry Potter actor Robert Hardy.
At the Rugby School, Farquharson held the position of head boy. But he wasn’t just gifted in the world of academics, previously holding a spot in the Blue Bunsen Society, the school’s chemistry club. He was also a talented athlete, playing both golf and rugby. According to The Telegraph, insiders claimed that the Brit was “very popular” and fancied by his female classmates. Overall, they described him as “quite a catch.” Basically, Farquharson’s exactly the type of person you’d bring home to mom and dad. Snaps for Malia!
It's not the White House, but it'll do
Though the Obamas have an astounding net worth, they don’t need to bankroll their eldest daughter’s longtime beau. Rory Farquharson is from a very well off family, so much so that the Daily Mail dubbed him Malia Obama’s “millionaire British boyfriend.” Excuse us, but where can we get one of those?
According to The Telegraph, Farquharson’s father is a chief executive of Insight Investment Management Limited, and his mother is a qualified accountant. The pair have a massive six-bedroom detached home in Woodbridge, Suffolk worth around $2.1 million. The Daily Mail reports that they also have a second $2.3 million property in Islington, a posh London neighborhood where Obama was spotted “enjoying the bars and restaurants” over Christmas break at the start of 2020.
Needless to say, even though Harvard costs more than $72,000 a year to get the traditional college experience, this couple probably won’t be saddled with any student debt. In a letter to his 16-year-old self, Farquharson even admitted that his mom offered to buy him a new car if he waited until he was 21 years old to drink spirits, even though the drinking age in the UK is 18.
Rory Farquharson has links to British royalty
Former first daughter Malia Obama is just about as close as you can get to royalty in the United States. As we know, we haven’t had a king or queen since a few years after our ancestors decided to turn the Atlantic ocean into a giant cup of tea. While this would probably be intimidating to the average college suitor, Rory Farquharson doesn’t seem to sweat it. The student has royal links of his own back in the UK.
According to Express, Farquharson is only a couple degrees away from the Queen and Prince Charles. The Brit’s second cousin, Andrew, was reportedly the Queen’s Master of Household and lived at Buckingham Palace. She liked him enough to make him a member of the Royal Victorian Order, and he was so good at his job that Charles allegedly “poached him” from his mother and brought him to work at Clarence House.
That’s not Farquharson’s only brush with royalty. According to The Telegraph, the Brit’s athletic career brought him to the 2015 Rugby World Cup Opening, where he was featured alongside Prince Harry in a video. This was, of course, years before Harry gave up his royal title and moved to Los Angeles with Meghan Markle. If there’s anyone who could handle Obama’s intense lifestyle, it’s definitely Farquharson.
You know it's serious when they delete their social media
Malia Obama has always been private about her social media use. On the surface, it looks like she’s one of the few celebs without an Instagram account, but she might have a finsta. According to People, former first lady Michelle Obama — who has more than 43 million followers on Instagram — inadvertently spilled the tea when she admitted that she doesn’t follow her daughters on social media. This sort of confirmed that Malia has social media to follow. Furthermore, The Verge reported on some alleged Instagram leak in 2015, which showed a candid photo of someone who looked exactly like Malia wearing a t-shirt from the Brooklyn-based rap collective Pro Era (yes, the Obamas have cool taste in music).
When Malia was in the White House, she had limited access to Facebook, but even in the real world, she’s completely locked down whatever accounts may exist. This also goes for the accounts belonging to her beau, Rory Farquharson. According to Vanity Fair, the Brit deleted his social media accounts around the same time that the pair went public. The Telegraph claimed that he had previously been a “vocal critic” of Donald Trump on Twitter — and he’d have to be. It’d be pretty awkward around Thanksgiving if Farquharson supported a guy who habitually touted a racist conspiracy theory about his girlfriend’s dad.
In any event, the couple’s relationship was officially serious enough for Farquharson to go off the grid. To Gen Z, that means they’re pretty much getting married, right?
The Obamas approve of Malia's beau
As much as we’d like to imagine this couple as a transatlantic, modern version of Romeo and Juliet, we’re sorry to say that there’s no relationship drama here. Rory Farquharson reportedly nabbed a glowing stamp of approval from Barack and Michelle Obama — and why wouldn’t he? Imagine your parents being angry that you brought home a millionaire with an Ivy League education who has loose ties to British royalty? It doesn’t get any better on paper. Regardless, this isn’t why the former first couple approved.
According to R Online, the Obamas were “less than thrilled” with their so-called wild child’s college friends. The tabloid definitely alluded to the fact that Malia’s a supposed hard-partier and claimed she had the audacity to twerk on a “convicted felon” friend and party “with a bong in clear view.” Hey, it was her freshman year! Per the tabloid, the Obamas hoped that her new beau would “bring a little stability.” In other words: steer her away from the red solo cups and back to the books, even though none of us know her GPA or her major. In reality, Malia’s probably doing just fine.
Aside from any speculation, dating a former first daughter has its pitfalls, and no one knows this better than the Obamas. The couple are so fond of Farquharson that they allegedly sent him a letter apologizing for any unwanted attention he might get for dating their daughter. No one said being famous was easy!
Deck the halls! Malia Obama is already spending Christmas with Rory Farquharson
Meeting the parents is a big step for a couple. After Rory Farquharson met the Obamas and received the thumbs up, it was only a matter of time before Malia had to do the same. The only problem was that Cambridge, Mass. is a haul from the UK, which coincidentally has a Cambridge that’s much closer to the Farquharsons’ London pad. Luckily, Rory’s family had no problem hanging stateside.
In July 2019, the Daily Mail spotted Malia and her British beau enjoying brunch at a luxury resort in California with people who appeared to be the Farquharsons. We’re not sure if this was the first time Malia met the parents, but the former president’s daughter reportedly seemed “really calm and relaxed.” A few months later, it was clear she got their stamp of approval. The Daily Mail reported that Malia spent the Christmas holidays with Rory’s family in London as their relationship grew increasingly more serious. There, they traded Malia’s scandalous bottle of rosé for mulled wine, probably. That’s just speculation, though.
Malia Obama and Rory Farquharson are smokers, much to the Obamas' dismay
Malia Obama’s smoking habits — which may or may not include cannabis, depending on which tabloid you ask — have long been scrutinized. Even R Online tried to make it seem like Barack Obama was giving his daughter the cold shoulder after she was papped while smoking a suspicious looking cigarette at Lollapalooza in 2016 (a stretch, but the tabloids are totally relentless). The media circus was so bad that even Ivanka Trump, whose father has long positioned himself as Barack’s political rival, defended the former first daughter on Twitter.
As it turns out, Malia’s longtime beau, Rory Farquharson, shares the same vice, much to the likely dismay of her parents. The couple have been spotted puffing across the globe during lunch breaks at Harvard and on romantic strolls in London. This might just be the only thing the Obamas don’t approve of in their daughter’s relationship, but they’ve dealt with it before.
Barack had a longtime smoking habit, which Michelle Obama, who launched the Let’s Move! health initiative during her time as first lady, allegedly helped him kick it around 2010. In an interview with Politico, former House speaker John Boehner revealed that the former president never snuck a cigarette, because “he’s scared to death of his wife.” Apparently, Malia does not have that same fear.
To be engaged or not to be engaged?
It’s clear that Malia Obama’s relationship with Rory Farquharson is getting serious — but just how serious? According to Globe, wedding bells were apparently on the horizon, at least until they weren’t. Our dreams of a happily ever after have been swiftly crushed, but for reference, Globe‘s greatest hits include a clearly made-up story about Kate Middleton staging a hunger strike during Prince Williams’ alleged cheating scandal. They don’t have the best track record, but we digress.
Per Micky, who captured Globe‘s print report, Malia reportedly infuriated her father by accepting a proposal from Farquharson. Disregard the fact that the Obamas seem to approve of the pair’s relationship, which is ironically also something Globe reported. In this case, though, the former president allegedly believed it was “too soon” and claimed he wouldn’t pay for an “elegant English wedding.” He was even reportedly thinking about refusing to walk his daughter down the aisle.
Thankfully, nothing ever came to that. Another Globe report claimed that Malia called off the engagement (probably because Globe‘s readers would eventually start to notice that she never actually got married). According to the tabloid-debunking site Gossip Cop, none of this was true. They’re making graduation plans, not wedding plans.
Rory Farquharson has dreams of being a husband and father
Though Rory Farquharson may have not popped the question to Malia Obama, he does see that in his future. According to The Telegraph, it appeared like the Brit planned to pursue a career in finance like his investment banker father, because his former Twitter account reportedly followed several banking-related accounts. Per The Sun, he might also opt for law school since he’s studying law at Harvard. Generally, that’s how that goes.
Regardless of his lofty career aspirations, Farquharson doesn’t appear to prioritize any of it over his family. In a letter to his 16-year-old self, he admitted that his relationships are “the most satisfying and important things of all in life,” and he planned to focus on nurturing them.
“One day you’ll get married and start a family, and all the rivalries and silly preoccupations of school life will be a distant memory,” he wrote. “And so my final piece of advice is actually not advice at all but an order: have fun!” Kissing at a tailgate checks that box!
Are Malia Obama and Rory Farquharson making the move?
At the time of this writing, Malia Obama and Rory Farquharson aren’t getting married, but they may be thinking about taking a massive step in their relationship. With the Brit reportedly set to graduate in the class of 2020 (if he hasn’t already graduated, at the time of this writing), the pair may be looking to move in together.
In January 2020, amidst Malia’s holiday visit to the UK, Hello! speculated that shacking up is the couple’s most logical next step. They believe Malia and Rory will end up in North London near Rory’s parents, rather than stateside with the Obamas. Honestly, their families are wealthy enough that they could probably just do both. Meanwhile, the Evening Standard (via Hello!) predicted that the pair will opt for a one-bedroom flat that was listed at just over $1 million, but it’s a little too early to tell. Malia hasn’t even graduated and still has to attend classes at Harvard until 2021, though the 60 percent of students went virtual for the fall 2020 semester.
It’s unclear if she’s in that group, but as we know right now, Barack and Michelle Obama had both attended Harvard by the time they met — so, it wouldn’t be strange for Malia to follow in her parents footsteps’. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens after graduation.
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