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This Rock Star Woke Up in the Lincoln Bedroom After Drinking With President Obama

"The president laughed his head off, but he does tell people that he drinks me under the table."

Most people will never see the inside of the White House, but one musician found himself passed out in the Lincoln Bedroom after an evening of drinking with the president. In a new interview with BBC's The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show, U2 frontman Bono revealed that then-President Barack Obama found him asleep in the historic room when he and his wife, Ali Hewson, were spending time at the White House. The rock star claims that it wasn't just the cocktails that led to him disappearing during their visit. Read on to see what he had to say.

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Bono has an allergy to salicylates.

Bono at European Council headquarters in Belgium in 2018
Alexandros Michailidis / Shutterstock

Bono explained on the Nov. 1 episode of The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show that he is allergic to salicylates, which are found in various fruits and vegetables, medicines like aspirin, and alcoholic drinks, according to WebMD.

"My head will swell up like a balloon and pop or I fall asleep—anywhere," Bono said of how he feels after ingesting salicylates. "I've fallen asleep in really awkward spots. I fell asleep on the lighting desk of the Sonic Youth. They mixed around me and couldn't be nicer. I've slept on the street. I've sleep on car bonnets. And indeed, I did fall asleep in the White House, and they were very, very good about it, actually."

He left for a nap at the White House.

Ali Hewson and Bono at the premiere of "Brooklyn" in Ireland in 2015
G Holland / Shutterstock

While Bono and Hewson were at the White House, he became tired and wandered off to take a nap, leaving Obama confused.

"The 44th president of the United States, he mixes cocktails. He doesn't have too many. He's very measured," Bono explained. He added that, after having cocktails and wine combined with his allergy, he had to slip out and lay down somewhere.

"And the president said to Ali after about 10 minutes, 'Where's Bono gone?' She said, 'Ah, he's just gone for a sleep.' He said, 'I'm sorry?' She said, 'He has to. He just has to go for these sleeps. He'll be back in 10 minutes. I've been with him for 30 years, don't you worry a thing about him, Mr. President. I'll go find him.'"

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Bono was found in the Lincoln Bedroom.

Bono in Paris in 2017
Frederic Legrand – COMEO / Shutterstock

Bono said that Obama insisted on coming with Hewson to find him.

"And there I was in Lincoln's bedroom, asleep, and they just woke me up and laughed," he shared. "[Obama] doesn't believe the allergy thing. He does make strong cocktails, though, just saying."

(Despite the name, the Lincoln Bedroom is not where Lincoln actually slept, and the location of the room with that title changed years ago. The furniture in the room was purchased by Mary Todd Lincoln, though.)

He elaborated on the story in his new memoir.

Bono and Barack Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. in 2006
Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images

Bono, who has been spotted hanging out with Obama on various occasions, also writes about the Lincoln Bedroom incident in his new book, Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story. According to People, he writes in the book that Obama guessed he might be in the Lincoln Bedroom, because he had asked about the Gettysburg Address earlier in the evening.

"Good instinct," Bono writes. "They walked into the Lincoln Bedroom, and there I was, out cold, head in the bosom of Abraham Lincoln, on his very bed. 'Falling asleep in the comfort of our freedoms,' as I spun it afterward."

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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