July 28th, 2014
04:52 PM ET
7 years ago

Obama admits boyhood crush on Linda Ronstadt

Washington (CNN) – During an awards ceremony at the White House, President Barack Obama whispered in the ear of superstar musician Linda Ronstadt that he once had a crush on her.

The President admitted to the crowd afterwards that, "I told Linda Ronstadt I had a crush on her back in the day " Ronstadt joined Obama on stage, along with 11 other recipients of the 2013 National Medal of Arts.

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No word from the singer of such hits as "You're no good,"  "Desperado," "It's so easy," and "Blue Bayou," on what she said back to the President.

Obama also thanked NPR Radio talk show host Diane Rehm, another Medal of Arts winner, for interviewing him when he was a struggling writer, and long before he was President.

"I've been personally touched by all sorts of these folks. " Adding, "I know all of you have been touched similarly by all of these amazing people. We are very grateful to you."

The National Endowment of the Arts, which manages the awards, says "The National Medal of Arts is the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the federal government. It is awarded by the President of the United States to individuals or groups who are deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support, and availability of the arts in the United States."

Mr. Obama says all of the honorees have brought the world, "Moments of understanding or awe or joy or sorrow, they add texture to our lives. They are not incidental to the American experience, they are central to it. They are essential to it. So we not only congratulate you this afternoon, we thank you for an extraordinary lifetime of achievement."

The White House released this list of all of 2013's honorees:

Julia Alvarez, novelist, poet, and essayist, for her extraordinary storytelling. In poetry and in prose, Ms. Alvarez explores themes of identity, family, and cultural divides. She illustrates the complexity of navigating two worlds and reveals the human capacity for strength in the face of oppression.

Brooklyn Academy of Music, presenter, for innovative contributions to the performing and visual arts. For over 150 years, BAM has showcased the works of both established visionaries and emerging artists who take risks and push boundaries.

Joan Harris, arts patron, for supporting creative expression in Chicago and across our country. Her decades of leadership and generosity have enriched our cultural life and helped countless artists, dancers, singers, and musicians bring their talents to center stage.

Bill T. Jones, dancer and choreographer, for his contributions as a dancer and choreographer. Renowned for provocative performances that blend an eclectic mix of modern and traditional dance, Mr. Jones creates works that challenge us to confront tough subjects and inspire us to greater heights.

John Kander, musical theater composer, for his contributions as a composer. For more than half a century, Mr. Kander has enlivened Broadway, television, and film through songs that evoke romanticism and wonder and capture moral dilemmas that persist across generations.

Jeffrey Katzenberg, director and CEO of DreamWorks, for lighting up our screens and opening our hearts through animation and cinema. Mr. Katzenberg has embraced new technology to develop the art of storytelling and transform the way we experience film.

Maxine Hong Kingston, writer, for her contributions as a writer. Her novels and non-fiction have examined how the past influences our present, and her voice has strengthened our understanding of Asian American identity, helping shape our national conversation about culture, gender, and race.

Albert Maysles, documentary filmmaker, for rethinking and remaking documentary film in America. One of the pioneers of direct cinema, he has offered authentic depictions of people and communities across the globe for nearly 60 years. By capturing raw emotions and representations, his work reflects the unfiltered truths of our shared humanity.

Linda Ronstadt, musician, for her one-of-a-kind voice and her decades of remarkable music. Drawing from a broad range of influences, Ms. Ronstadt defied expectations to conquer American radio waves and help pave the way for generations of women artists.

Billie Tsien and Tod Williams, architects (receiving individual medals), for their contributions to architecture and arts education. Whether public or private, their deliberate and inspired designs have a profound effect on the lives of those who interact with them, and their teaching and spirit of service have inspired young people to pursue their passions.

James Turrell, visual artist, recognized for his groundbreaking visual art. Capturing the powers of light and space, Mr. Turrell builds experiences that force us to question reality, challenging our perceptions not only of art, but also of the world around us.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (253 Responses)
  1. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Get in line for the Linda crushes...

    July 28, 2014 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  2. Herodad68

    Totally Inappropriate. His behavior is an embarrassment to himself, his marriage and our country.

    July 28, 2014 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  3. martinbay10

    Most guys of a certain age had a crush on Linda. During her time on stage, no female artist could touch her on talent and vocal chops. Linda was inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame a few weeks ago. She helped put together The Eagles.

    Years ago, she contracted Parkinson's disease , which took away her ability to sing. A tragic loss for her and us... Just check out her videos on YouTube. I loved her cover of Long, Long time by songwriter Gsry White.

    July 28, 2014 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  4. lolwat

    Ebola is ravaging Africa and Gaza is burning to the ground, and this is considered news?

    In other "news" John Boehner reveals that he really likes funnelcake- and also America's top ten noisecore artists!

    July 28, 2014 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  5. Doug Dickinson

    What? Linda Ronstadt? You sure it wasn't Stacy Lattisaw, Mr. President?? You sure? Attack Of The Name Game? Love Is A Two Way Street? 😉

    July 28, 2014 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  6. mark edwards

    I thought it was going to be a crush on Al Sharpton.

    July 28, 2014 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  7. fedupwithla

    No matter how silly he may look, Obama really can't do anything wrong, can he?

    July 28, 2014 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  8. patrick covey

    I I had a crush on Linda Ronstadt too....in fact I still do! She is so deserving of this award.

    July 29, 2014 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  9. Semper Cogitatus

    I can relate to that. Back then her singing voice was quite sexy. I think many of us who were beginning to think about girls in the early '70s could say the same. Might be the first thing I've ever agreed with him on.

    July 29, 2014 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  10. Anonymous

    Blue bayou???

    July 29, 2014 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  11. James Hausen

    Because this is what we need to be discussing. Thanks CNN! Another enlightening article.

    July 29, 2014 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  12. Tyrone

    And y'all go gaga over this??? Puleeeze...

    July 29, 2014 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  13. larswald

    I too had the biggest crush on her and why not? Nice, pretty, sexy and a great voice.

    July 29, 2014 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  14. tom

    Really nice editing here, CNN:

    No word from the singer of such aptly-named hits as, "You're no good," and, "Desperado," – on what she said back to the President.

    July 29, 2014 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  15. jeffission

    So did I, and I'm gay as a goose. Nice to see his human side.

    July 29, 2014 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  16. Sandra

    If I were her, I'd have whispered back, "I have one on you NOW!"

    July 29, 2014 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  17. Joe Schmoe

    What the hell???? WHO CARES!!!!

    WE NEED JOBS! WORLD PEACE! A STABLE POWER GRID! SECURE BORDERS!

    July 29, 2014 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  18. I shat u not

    Well there we go. Now we have enough evidence to impeach Obama. Right GOP?

    July 29, 2014 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  19. PeterD

    Innocent people are killed in Obama's Failed Foreign Policy and he is talking about Boyhood Crush. What a Leadership?

    July 29, 2014 03:20 am at 3:20 am |
  20. musician 1

    very talented singer indeed . We love you Linda!

    July 29, 2014 04:02 am at 4:02 am |
  21. Dover

    My first ever album was by her. Second was Band on the Run by Wings.

    July 29, 2014 04:16 am at 4:16 am |
  22. Mi

    It was Linda Ronstadt. You would have to be blind not to have had a crush on her.

    July 29, 2014 04:41 am at 4:41 am |
  23. Navyvet52

    The illegal immigrant invasion continues, unemployment at historic highs and all this guy does is golf and attend awards ceremony's.

    July 29, 2014 05:22 am at 5:22 am |
  24. Kathryn

    How out of touch is this news story with the current state of affairs? It seems to demonstrate this media organization's pure bias. It's so unfortunate really. There is so much going on in the world, both good and bad. I long for a true news organization.

    July 29, 2014 05:28 am at 5:28 am |
  25. newport beach

    He had a crush on mostly male flamboyant or pretty boy singers like Elton John and Bon Jovi although he and Bruce have a very special relatationship and of course he was always at sleepovers at Neverland but thats a different story.

    July 29, 2014 05:33 am at 5:33 am |
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