We have a new President and First lady in the White House which means we have a new love story to learn about. President Joe Biden lost his first wife and college sweetheart Neila Hunter Biden in a car accident in 1972 along with their 1-year-old daughter named Naomi. Their sons Beau and Hunter were critically injured but survived. According to Vogue, Joe spoke of the tragedy in a Yale commencement speech, and explained, “Six weeks after my election [for senator] my whole world was altered forever. While I was in Washington hiring staff, I got a phone call. My wife and three children were Christmas shopping, a tractor-trailer broadsided them and killed my wife and killed my daughter. And they weren’t sure that my sons would live.” While the experience was tragic, Hunter and Beau encouraged their dad to marry again and three years later Joe met Jill Biden on a blind date. She would later become their stepmom and the happy couple has been married for nearly 44 years. Here’s the ultimate timeline of their relationship.
Back in 1975, there wasn’t Tinder or OK Cupid so Joe and Jill met the good old-fashioned way- blind dates. Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff actually met the same way. According to Vogue, Joe was a 33-year-old US Senator at the time and Jill was a 24-year-old college senior. They had both been married, Joe was now a widow, and Jill filed for divorce from her husband her Junior year. In 2016 she told Vogue she was a little weary because of the age difference but knew after the date she “finally met a gentleman.” “I was a senior, and I had been dating guys in jeans and clogs and T-shirts, he came to the door and he had a sport coat and loafers, and I thought, ‘God, this is never going to work, not in a million years.” She continued, ”He was nine years older than I am! But we went out to see ’A Man and a Woman’ at the movie theater in Philadelphia, and we really hit it off. When we came home... he shook my hand good night... I went upstairs and called my mother at 1:00 a.m. and said, ’Mom, I finally met a gentleman.’”
JUNE 17, 1977
Joe and Jill got married in 1977 but he had to ask her 5 times before she finally said yes. “Joe often tells people that I didn‘t agree to marry him until the fifth time he asked me,” she said in a speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. ”The truth is, I loved him from the start.” But Jill was considering Beau and Hunter’s lives and just wanted to make sure she was 100% in. She told Vogue, ”I said, ’Not yet. Not yet. Not yet. Because by that time, of course, I had fallen in love with the boys, and I really felt that this marriage had to work. Because they had lost their mom, and I couldn’t have them lose another mother. So I had to be 100 percent sure.” They got married at the United Nations in New York City with Beau and Hunter by their sides at the altar. Joe and Jill took them on their honeymoon to celebrate their new life as a family.
Jill gave birth to their daughter Ashely Biden on June 8, 1981.
Joe announced he would run for President for the first time in Wilmington Delaware in June 1987. Four months later he withdrew from the race after allegations of plagiarism, and “exaggerating” of academic records, per Insider. Jill stood by his side as he admitted to making “some mistakes” but refused to let anyone see her “crack” and stood confidently by him. She recounted in her memoir “Where The Light Enters.” ”As a political spouse, I‘ve found that my stoicism often serves me well. In 1988, when Joe’s first presidential campaign started to look bleak, people were constantly looking for cracks in our team. We all felt scrutinized, but I refused to show weakness.”
The following year the family was challenged emotionally after Joe suffered two brain aneurysms at the age of 45. They required multiple surgeries.
Joe and Jill became grandparents for the first time in December 1993 when their son, Hunter, welcomed his first daughter. He named her after his late sister, Naomi. They have since gone on to become grandparents to six more children.
Joe wanted to run for president again in 2004 but Jill was not having it and straight-up said no. She even interrupted a meeting wearing a swimsuit with the word “No” written on her stomach. She explained in her memoir, “I was sitting at the pool in my swimsuit. My temper got the best of me. I decided I needed to contribute to this conversation. As I walked through the kitchen, a Sharpie caught my eye. I drew NO on my stomach in big letters, and marched through the room in my bikini.” She eventually let him run again in 2007 while she received her doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Delaware, earning her the title of Dr. Jill Biden. Joe handed her the degree.
In 2007 Joe published his memoir “Promises to Keep.” He credited Jill for giving him his life back and wrote, ”She gave me back my life. She made me start to think my family might be whole again.”
Joe ended his presidential campaign in January 2008 but was later announced as President Barack Obama’s running mate. He was sworn in as the 47th Vice President of the USA in 2009 with Jill by his side.
Jill supported Joe through his first term as Vice President and his second but on May 30, 2015, the family faced tragedy. After suffering headaches, and paralysis in 2013 Biden was admitted to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and diagnosed with brain cancer. He passed away 2 years later at the age of 46. Jill recalled to USA TODAY in 2019, “It was totally shattering… My life changed in an instant. All during his illness, I truly believed that he was going to live, up until the moment that he closed his eyes, and I just never gave up hope.”
Joe made the decision not to run for President in 2016 after losing his son but in 2019 he announced that he would be running for president once again. Jill took a break from teaching and helped with his campaign. They made headlines while on the campaign trail in Iowa after Joe caught her finger in his mouth. Meghan McCain said on “The View,” I thought it was silly, and they clearly still love each other and are playful.” Jill agreed with McCain and tweeted ”Guilty, we do still love each other!”
JANUARY 20, 2021
On January 20th Joe was officially sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. Three presidential campaigns later, Jill held the family bible as he took the oath of office. Their two children and grandchildren joined them. According to PEOPLE, President Joe Biden put up a photo of their late son Beau, as soon as she moved into the oval office. A photo of President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden sat next to it.