President-elect Joe Biden and Jill's love story: How blind date led to 43-year marriage that survived tragedy and cheating rumors
Joe Biden is the winner of the 2020 Elections and is expected to become the oldest president when he is inaugurated in January. In a statement, the President-elect said, “I am honored and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in Vice President-elect Harris. In the face of unprecedented obstacles, a record number of Americans voted.”
He added, “Proving once again, that democracy beats deep in the heart of America. With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation. It’s time for America to unite. And to heal. We are the United States of America. And there’s nothing we can’t do if we do it together.” Calling himself “Jill's husband,” Joe thanked his wife Jill Biden. “As I said many times before, I'm Jill's husband. And I would not be here without her love and tireless support.”
Joe, 77, and Jill, 69, have been married for 43 years and their sweet love story is one for the ages. Here's a glimpse into their beautiful bond and lifelong partnership.
When Joe met Jill
In March 1975, love knocked on the couple's door when the two met on their first date — in Philadelphia. Both had been stung by tragedy and heartbreak. In 1972, Joe lost his first wife and college sweetheart, Neilia, and one-year-old daughter Naomi. She had divorced Bill Stevenson, a former college football player, after tying the knot in February 1970 when she was 18.
She was 24 and Biden was a freshman senator, nine years her senior as he stood in a sports coat and loafers. On the night of their blind date, she caught a glimpse of his shoes and thought the relationship was never going to take off. She confessed in a 2016 Vogue interview, “I was a senior, and I had been dating guys in jeans and clogs and T-shirts, [and] 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.'”
They went to see the movie ‘A Man and a Woman’ at a Philadelphia cinema, then to dinner, where conversation flowed better than she expected. “It was kind of a blind date that we went out on and I didn’t think I’d really — I thought, ‘OK, I’ll go out with him once and that’ll be it,’” she recalled. “I just didn’t think he would appeal to me.” When Joe brought Jill home he shook her hand goodnight and she ran upstairs to call her mother at 1 am, confessing, “Mum, I finally met a gentleman.”
Is the ‘blind date’ false?
Much later, Jill's ex, Bill dubbed Joe as a “homewrecker” and said the story of how Joe and Jill met on a blind date is totally fabricated, as per a Daily Mail report. The 72-year-old shared from his home in Wilmington that their affair started two years after they got married. At the time, Jill was 23, and Joe, 31. Bill claims the two were working together on Biden's first campaign for the senate. “Jill and I sat in the Bidens' kitchen. We worked on his campaign. I gave $10,900 to his first campaign — in cash. I know exactly when it was. Bruce Springsteen was going to play at The Stone Balloon and I had to go to Northern New Jersey to pay him in advance.”
He continued, “I asked Jill to go with me and she said no — she had things to do, she had to look after Joe's kids, Beau and Hunter. It was kind of a big deal to go meet Springsteen. I had no idea she and Joe were that kind of friendly. Then one of her best friends told me she thought Joe and Jill were getting a little too close. I was surprised that she came to me.”
He added that the affair was confirmed in October that year. “I was at work and a guy came in and asked: ‘Do you own a brown Corvette?’ I said yes, it's my wife's car. He said back in May it had crunched his bumper and they told him to get an estimate and he never heard back from them. I said: ‘Wait a minute. Who is they?’ And he said: ‘Funnily enough, Senator Biden was driving.’ I asked Jill to leave the house, which she did. Her father was begging me to take her back when he found out what was going on. He asked me to give her a second chance, but I wasn't interested. I considered Joe a friend. I'm not surprised he fell in love with Jill. Everyone who meets Jill falls in love with her immediately. It's hard not to.” The claims, however, have not been verified and Bill hasn't specified the book he is planning to pen that down in.
Popping the question fives times
During the early years, the two planned on keeping things “fun”, as Joe recalled: “We both just liked having fun with somebody again, and she wanted to keep it that way.” A strong career woman, she became a teacher following her graduation and it took a while for her to meet Joe's sons, Beau and Hunter. But once she did, the trio hit it off and their lives quickly became intertwined.
One morning, while his dad was shaving, Beau told Joe, “We think we should marry Jill. What do you think, Dad?” The kids were more than ready to welcome her as their “second mother” but Jill wasn't ready. Reluctant to walk down the path of marriage, she kept saying no whenever Joe would pop the question. “After the disappointment of my divorce, I never wanted to feel so out of control of my heart again,” she later divulged in her memoir ‘Where the Light Enters’. She added, “Being Joe's wife would [also] mean a life in the spotlight that I had never wanted.”
It took two years and five proposals for Joe to convince her after a string of “not yet” responses. Jill later confessed, “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.” Joe remembers giving Jill an ultimatum, saying, “‘Look, this is the last time I’m asking you. I don’t care when we get married. But I want a commitment.’ And she said okay. But it took that!”
A marriage of true minds
On June 17, 1977, the pair exchanged vows in New York City at the United Nations chapel. With about 40 family members and close friends in attendance, a reception lunch was held at the Sign of the Dove. The family of four then reportedly embarked on a honeymoon together because according to Joe and Jill, they were all marrying each other.
In her speech at the 2020 Democratic Convention, she admitted motherhood had come to her in a way she “never expected”. She said, “I fell in love with a man and two little boys standing in the wreckage of unthinkable loss. I never imagined, at the age of 26, I would be asking myself, 'How do you make a broken family whole?'" During their marriage, “Joe always told the boys, ‘Mummy sent Jill to us’ and how could I argue with her?"
Four years later, in June 1981, the pair welcomed a daughter, Ashley — a name chosen by her two older brothers. Although she never legally adopted Beau and Hunter, Jill always raised and thought of the two boys as her own.
Sailing through troubled times together
After being reelected to six more Senate terms, Joe Biden ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 but withdrew later. Interestingly, Jill opposed the idea of her husband running in the 2004 presidential election. At one strategy meeting, she entered in a swimsuit with the word “NO” inscribed on her belly. She changed her mind after George W Bush's reelection in 2004 and urged him to run for president again. In 2008, he was selected by Barack Obama as his running mate. When Obama was elected, Joe became Vice-President and Jill was the Second Lady of the United States.
In 2013, Beau died after being diagnoses with brain cancer at 46. “I feel like a piece of china that's been glued back together again. The cracks may be imperceptible — but they're there,” Jill wrote in the aftermath of Beau's death. She put the family back together in those troubled times.
More recently, Jill took an active role in her husband's presidential campaign with The Biden Foundation. As his biggest support system, she has rallied for him and pulled him away when he got too close for comfort during the Covid-19 scare. Joe has always credited her for his success. “She's the strongest person I know, she has a backbone like a ramrod. She loves fiercely, cares deeply,” he said during the Democratic National Convention. In her memoir, Jill penned down, “We have had our hearts wrung and broken. But the only place we are safe from all the dangers of love is hell. And one thing in my life has stayed the same: Joe and I have always had each other...” As the two become America's POTUS and FLOTUS, they seem to have eyes set on transforming the nation.