Barack Obama stays up for three hours surfing the internet on his iPad and watching sport on television after his wife has gone to bed, it has emerged.
Despite leading the free world and ﬁghting for re-election, the US president disclosed that he has an evening routine with his wife, Michelle, that will be familiar to millions of couples.
"From the time his wife goes to bed, around 10, until he finally retires, at 1, Barack Obama enjoys the closest thing he experiences to privacy," according to a new account of his day-to-day life.
"No one but him really knows exactly where he is or what he's up to. He can't leave his house, of course, but he can watch ESPN, surf his iPad, read books, [and] dial up foreign leaders in different time zones."
Mr Obama told Vanity Fair magazine, which was given unprecedented access over eight months, that he wakes at 7am before working out in the White House gym for an hour. "You have to exercise," he explained, "or at some point you'll just break down."
He then changes into a preselected suit and eats a breakfast already chosen for him. "I don't want to make decisions about what I'm eating or wearing," he said. "I have too many other decisions to make".
Mr Obama recalled waking, startled, during his first night in the White House. But having settled in, he and Mrs Obama found a favourite spot – the Truman Balcony – where they sit in the evenings.
"It's the closest you can get to feeling outside," he said. "To feeling outside the bubble."
The President bemoaned the fact that there is a "character people see out there called Barack Obama" that he didn't recognise, and that he had lost the "moments of serendipity" of ordinary life.
"You don't bump into a friend in a restaurant you haven't seen in years," he said. "The loss of anonymity and the loss of surprise is an unnatural state. You adapt to it, but you don't get used to it."
Despite its intimate tone, the article was carefully handled by Mr Obama's staff. A conversation in which he became emotional was ordered cut from the piece by the White House, which was "perhaps wary of having the commander in chief described as in tears," according to The New York Times.