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Michelle Obama: Leaving White House 'surprisingly emotional'

Michelle Obama has said packing up to leave the White House has been "surprisingly emotional" as she reflected on her eight years in the spotlight.

The First Lady told NBC's The Tonight Show she felt "like crying" just thinking about it.

When asked by host Jimmy Fallon if preparing to leave the White House for good had been emotional, she said: "It is. It is. I feel like crying right now.

"I didn't think it was going to be that emotional, because it's like 'yeah we're ready, we're good, we're ready to go, it's been eight years, eight years is enough, we're packing up', but no - it's been surprisingly emotional for all of us in ways that we didn't expect.

"We can't go back to that house. It's not like you can knock and say 'can I see my room?'

"Once you're out, you're out. That oath is real. We'll be standing at the gates saying 'remember us'. So it's good to have a few photos to remember what those rooms look like."

Mrs Obama was giving her final television interview as First Lady a day after her husband, Barack Obama, gave his final address to the nation as US President.

Barack Obama wipes away tears during his farewell speech in Chicago. Credit: AP

In front of a huge crowd in Chicago on Tuesday night, Mr Obama was visibly emotional when he spoke about his family.

When asked what the experience was like for her, Mrs Obama said: "She (my daughter Malia) looked over me and said 'I can't believe it, I'm going to cry through the whole speech' and I was like it's OK."

During her time in the White House, Mrs Obama has set up a number initiatives to improve the health and education of children. And she said she won't be giving the work up when the Trump administration takes over.

"We've made plans for continuation of all the work that we're doing," she said.

"I will continue to stay involved in these issues as long as I live. I didn't take these on because I'm the First Lady, I took them on because they meant something to me."

President Barack Obama is joined by First Lady Michelle Obama and his daughter Malia after his farewell speech. Credit: AP

She continued: "Our kids health - the fact we have made really big strides to change the health of our kids, especially through the school lunch programme which I hope does not get touched because that makes sense.

"We have to keep doing things that make sense for our future. Our kids need to eat well, they need to eat healthy and we can't start changing that when they go to school.

"Education is my passion. For this next generation, if you want to be leaders you've got to get a great education. So we're going to keep sending those messages, hopefully not just here but around the world, working on girls' education. I'm not done. I'm too young."

The First Lady also revealed she had given advice to Donald Trump's wife Melania.

Donald Trump with his son Barron and wife Melania. Credit: AP

She said: "We talked about kids and the importance of family and creating them some safe spaces to protect that family space."

Mrs Obama insisted Trump's new team would get her support, telling Jimmy Fallon that American democracy is "not about party" or "demonising the other side," adding: "We're all trying to get stuff done".

"We're going to be supportive to the Trump administration as much as we can be," she said. "I'm available for Melania, for Ivanka, for anyone to give that advice.

"We'll be there to help them as much as they want our help."