How did Joe Biden's first wife Neilia Hunter die? Jill recalls meeting family amid 'wreckage of unthinkable loss'
While Biden was still recovering from Neilia Hunter's loss, Jill was reportedly going through a tumultuous divorce with her former husband Stevenson when they met
Presidential nominee Joe Biden and wife Jill Biden’s relationship has always turned heads. Having been married for over two decades, the couple has undeniably set major relationship goals. Only a few days ago, a video showing Biden making a call to his running mate Kamala Harris went viral, as people couldn’t stop talking about the adorable nickname ‘Jilly’ he used to address his beloved wife. However, before Jill stole Biden’s heart, he was married to his first wife Neilia Hunter, whose life ended tragically.
Hunter and Biden first met in Nassau, Bahamas, when the latter was on a spring break. Biden later moved to Syracuse University to pursue law, where even Hunter attended college. Soon, sparks flew between the two and they got married on August 27, 1966. They had three children together — Robert Hunter, Josephy 'Beau' Robinette and Naomi.
Shortly after Biden became a US Senator in 1972, he lost Neilia and their one-year-old daughter Naomi in an accident. Reportedly, Neilia and Naomi were out shopping during the Christmas holiday when their vehicle was hit by a truck. While the two sons Beau and Robert survived with severe injuries, the mother and daughter succumbed to the accident. Biden reportedly struggled to retain his seat following the tragic death of his wife and daughter. Recounting the toughest phase of his life, Biden said during a commencement speech at Yale University, "Six weeks after my election, my whole world was altered forever." Neilia Hunter Biden Park in Delaware has been constructed in her memory.
Nearly three years later, Biden met his future wife Jill on a blind date set up by his brother Frank. While Biden was still recovering from Neilia’s loss, Jill was reportedly going through a tumultuous divorce with her former husband Stevenson, whom she was married to for almost four years. After completing her graduation, Jill took up a job as a teacher in Wilmington, while she spent almost five months working in Biden’s Senate office. The couple took their relationship a step ahead and got married on June 17, 1977. They have a daughter, Ashley, together, while Jill became the stepmother for Biden’s sons from his previous marriage. However, the family was devastated when Biden and Neilia's son Beau lost his life to brain cancer at the age of 46 in 2015.
Although Jill continued pursuing her career in the field of education, she remained a major supporter of Biden, actively participating in all of his campaigns. She has also made joint appearances with Michelle Obama when her husband was serving as Barack Obama's running mate.
On August 18, Jill came forward to extend her support to husband Biden with a moving Democratic National Convention speech. Appearing in the video from Brandywine High School where she taught English from 1991 to 1993, Jill spoke at length about Biden’s nature. She said, "Like so many of you, I’m left asking, 'how do I keep my family safe?' You know, motherhood came to me in a way I never expected. I fell in love with a man and two little boys standing in the wreckage of unthinkable loss, mourning a wife and mother, a daughter and sister. I never imagined, at the age of 26, I would be asking myself, 'how do you make a broken family whole?' Still, Joe always told the boys, 'mommy sent Jill to us'. And how could I argue with her? And so, we figured it out together."
Recollecting the state Joe was in when she first met him in 1977, Jill said, "I fell in love with a man and two little boys standing in the wreckage of unthinkable loss. We found that love holds a family together." Talking about the death of their eldest son, she added, "Four days after Beau’s funeral, I watched Joe shave and put on his suit. I saw him steel himself in the mirror, take a breath, put his shoulders back, and walk out into a world empty of our son. He went back to work. That’s just who he is," praising her husband for the man that he is.