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This election season, voters are marking their ballots with a wide range of issues—from climate change to racial injustice—on their minds. They'll also be taking the character of both presidential candidates into consideration. And at the Democratic National Convention, speakers painted a portrait of Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden as a man whose family has always been central to his very being. He's also a man whose family has suffered profound loss and heartbreak.
Here's the scoop on Joe Biden's wife Dr. Jill Biden, as well as their children Hunter, Beau, Ashley, and his late daughter Naomi, and grandchildren Naomi, Finnegan, Maisy, Natalie, Robert, and a newborn boy grandson, whose name has yet to be revealed, born earlier this year.
Joe Biden's Wife Dr. Jill Biden
Dr. Jill Biden, 69, the former Second Lady of the U.S., met Joe in 1975 on a blind date arranged by Joe's brother Frank. The then U.S. Senator from Delaware was a widower, having lost his first wife, Neilia Hunter Biden and their 1-year-old daughter Naomi in a tragic car accident in 1972. The tragedy left him a single dad to their two sons Beau and Hunter.
Meeting Jill was a game-changer for the grieving senator. In his 2007 memoir Promises to Keep, Joe wrote, "She gave me back my life. She made me start to think my family might be whole again."
His sons ended up loving Jill, a teacher and University of Delaware graduate, just as much as their father, famously telling Joe at one point, "Dad, we think it's time we married Jill." The senator proposed five times before Jill agreed. The doctor of education explained in her DNC speech why she held off on saying yes: "I loved the boys so much. I had to be sure that it had to be forever."
She realized it was, and the two tied the knot on June 17, 1977. In 1981, their daughter Ashley Biden was born.
In addition to being a wife and mom, Jill is a dedicated, lifelong educator. She began her career as an English teacher in local public schools, earned two Masters degrees in reading and English, and went on to get her Doctorate in Education in 2007. She taught English and worked as a reading specialist in Delaware public schools, and later taught English Composition at Delaware Technical and Community College, a position she held for 15 years. She proudly continued teaching at Northern Virginia Community College while serving as Second Lady.
Joe Biden's Children
In 1972, at just one, Joe's daughter tragically died in a car accident alongside with her mother Neilia.
Joseph "Beau" Biden
Joe Biden's eldest son Beau tragically lost his battle with brain cancer in 2015. From 2007 to 2015, he served as the attorney general of Delaware, a position in which he met and became friends with vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris, who at the time was attorney general of California. Before that, he was in the Army National Guard as a major. He had planned to run for governor of Delaware before his passing.
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"After our son, Beau, died of cancer, I wondered if I would ever smile or feel joy again. It was summer, but there was no warmth left for me," Jill said during her 2020 Democratic National Convention speech. "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."
Beau is survived by his wife, Hallie Olivere, and his two children, Natalie Biden and Robert Hunter Biden II.
Robert "Hunter" Biden
Beau's younger brother Hunter is an attorney and founder of venture capital firm Eudora Global. He has made tabloid headlines for his struggles with substance abuse and for tying the knot just days after meeting his now second wife Melissa Cohen. He was previously married to Kathleen Buhle, with whom he shares three children: Naomi (named after her late aunt), Finnegan, and Maisy Biden.
When he was younger, he would often accompany his brother Beau and father to D.C. when Congress was in session. Hunter told The New Yorker of his experience standing by his dad's side, “Beau and I have been there since we were carried in baskets during his first campaign. We went everywhere with him. At every single major event and every small event that had to do with his political career, I was there."
Ashley Blazer Biden
Biden's youngest child graduated from Tulane University. She has dedicated her career to public service, serving as as social worker in Delaware for 15 years and the executive director of the Delaware Center for Justice, a criminal justice reform-oriented nonprofit. "The passion started at a very young age," she told Glamour in 2017. "My dad is a lifelong public servant; my mom was a public-school teacher—it’s in my DNA."
Joe Biden's Grandchildren
Naomi, 26, named for her late aunt, is the eldest child born to Hunter and his first wife Kathleen. She graduated from Columbia Law School, and Joe gave a socially-distant keynote speech at her commencement. She notably accompanied her grandpa on trips to New Zealand, Australia, Turkey, and Mongolia while he served as VP.
Naomi's younger sister, Finnegan, 20, was named for her great-grandmother, Joe's late mother, Catherine Eugenia "Jean" Finnegan Biden. She's currently a rising senior at the University of Pennsylvania.
Naomi and Finnegan's little sister, Maisy, 18, is famously best friends with Sasha Obama. They graduated together from Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. In a DNC video interview, alongside her sisters and cousin, Maisy said of her grandpa, "He always calls with the same energy even after he's just done 15 interviews in a row."
Natalie, 16, is first child of Beau and his widow Hallie. She said of her grandma Dr. Jill Biden at the DNC, "I would say she’s not your average grandmother. She's a prankster, she's very mischievous. When she goes on a run, sometimes she'll find like a dead snake and she'll pick it up and put it in a bag and she'll use it to scare someone."
Robert "Hunter" Biden
Beau and Hallie's second child goes by Hunter like his uncle. He is 14.
New Grandson Biden
Hunter and his second wife Melissa Cohen welcomed a child together in March 2020. His name has yet to be revealed, but Cohen’s brother told the New York Post that the baby is a "beautiful and healthy baby boy."