After taking the Oath of Office on January 20, 2021, Joseph R. Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden officially became the 46th President and First Lady of the United States. But moving to the White House is just one of many milestones in their over four-decade-long relationship. From their initial blind date to President Biden's five (!!!) marriage proposals to their time as Vice President and Second Lady, here is everything you need to know about President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden's relationship.
- After meeting in 1975, Joe Biden proposed to Jill Biden five times before they finally wed on June 17, 1977. They welcome their first and only daughter, Ashley, in 1981 and Jill became the mother to Joe's two sons, Beau and Hunter, from a previous marriage.
- Before running for president in 2020, Joe ran in 1988 and 2008 while Jill campaigned by his side.
- During their time as Vice President and Second Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017, Jill continued to work full-time as an English professor in Virginia.
- On January 20, 2021, the couple became the 46th President and First Lady of the United States.
1975: Blind Date
Joe Biden and Jill, née Jacobs, first met in 1975 on a blind date organized by Joe's brother. He was a 33-year-old senator at the time, while she was a 24-year-old college senior—and both had been married before. Joe's marriage to first-wife Neila Hunter came to a tragic end when she was killed during a 1972 car accident along with their infant daughter, Naomi (his two sons, Beau and Hunter, survived the crash), and Jill ended her marriage during her junior year of college.
"How did you get this number," were the first words Jill spoke to Joe when he called her out of the blue in 1975. Per Jill, the couple went to see A Man and a Woman at a movie theatre in Philadelphia and "really hit it off." She recalled to Vogue later, "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: Five Proposals and One Wedding
Two years later, Joe and Jill married on June 17, 1977, at the United Nations Chapel in New York. It did, however, take Jill a few proposals to commit to the marriage. In fact, Joe proposed to Jill five times before she finally said yes! "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," Jill told Vogue.
Joe's sons, Beau and Hunter, stood with the couple at the altar as they exchanged vows in front of around 40 guests. They celebrated with a reception lunch at Sign of the Dove before honeymooning as a family of four.
June 8, 1981: Ashley Biden Is Born
On June 8, 1981, Joe and Jill welcomed their first and only child together. The new parents gave sons Hunter and Beau the duty of naming their new sister, to which they chose Ashley Biden.
June 10, 1987: First Presidential Campaign
After years of serving in the Senate, Joe set his eyes on the White House. With Jill and his three children by his side, he announced his candidacy for president during the 1988 election on Jun10, 1987.
September 23, 1987: Closing the Campaign
His candidacy was short-lived, however, and on September 23, 1987, he announced the end of his campaign with Jill by his side yet again.
December 1993: Welcoming Grandchildren
Joe and Jill became grandparents in December 1993 when their son, Hunter Biden, welcomed his first daughter, Naomi Biden. She was named after Joe's late daughter and Hunter's late sister who was tragically killed in a car accident in 1972.
After welcoming their first grandchild, Joe and Jill would go on to become grandparents to six more children: Finnegan and Maisy Biden (daughters of Hunter and ex-wife Kathleen Biden), Natalie and Robert "Hunter" Biden (daughter and son of the late Beau Biden and wife Hallie Biden), as well as two babies—one girl and one boy—whom Hunter had in 2018 and 2020 with Lunden Alexis Roberts and second-wife Melissa Cohen, respectively.
2004: Jill Says No
Despite being a strong proponent of her husband's political aspirations in the past, Jill was clear that she did not want Joe to run in the 2004 presidential election. She was so adamant that she interrupted a meeting discussing Joe's potential candidacy wearing a swimsuit with the word "No" written on her stomach.
She wrote in her memoir, Where The Light Enters, "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.”
January 7, 2007: Another Presidential Race
After President George W. Bush was re-elected in 2004, Jill reportedly was ready for her husband to campaign the following election. On January 7, 2007, the Delaware Senator entered the 2008 presidential race.
January 2007: Dr. Jill Biden
Later that month, Jill received a doctorate degree in educational leadership from the University of Delaware. And as she became Dr. Jill Biden, her husband Joe was there to hand her the degree.
July 31, 2007: Promises to Keep
In 2007, the then-U.S. Senator published a memoir titled "Promises to Keep." In the book, Joe opened up about his relationship with Jill, writing, "She gave me back my life. She made me start to think my family might be whole again."
January 3, 2008: Another Closed Campaign
After a year of campaigning, Joe ended his presidential campaign in January 2008.
August 22, 2008: Dynamic Duo
But while his presidential dreams were paused, the 2008 presidential election made way for another opportunity: Vice President. As soon as President Obama announced Joe as his running mate on August 22, 2008, the two families developed a close bond and Jill joined bother her husband and the Obamas on the campaign trail.
January 20, 2009: The VP and Dr. B
Joe became the 47th Vice President of the United States on January 20, 2009. During the inauguration, it was Jill who held the Biden family bible as Biden was sworn into office. When the family moved to the official vice presidential residence in D.C., Jill made a historic move as the only known second lady to have worked a full-time, paying job. As an English professor at Northern Virginia Community College, she supposedly encouraged her students to call her Dr. B, per the Los Angeles Times, and continued to teach full-time for Joe's eight-year term.
February 14, 2010: Joe Loves Jill
On Valentine's Day in 2010, Joe gifted his wife a tree swing on the grounds of the vice president's residence. The spot was marked with a plaque that read "Joe Loves Jill."
January 20, 2013: Another Four Years
After President Obama and Vice President Biden's successful re-election campaign in 2012, Joe was re-sworn in with Jill by his side on January 20, 2013.
January 6, 2015: Unimaginable Tragedy
On January 6, 2015, Joe's son Beau, whom he shared with his first wife, passed away from brain cancer. The tragedy caused Joe to shy away from a presidential run the following election year.
April 25, 2019: Presidential Hopeful
But as the 2020 presidential race edged closer, Joe announced that he would be seeking the presidency once again. Jill decided to take a break from teaching and help her husband on the campaign trail.
September 10, 2019: Where The Light Enters
Jill published her own memoir, Where The Light Enters, in 2019. Like Joe's own memoir, the book gave rare insight into the early days of their romantic relationship. She wrote, "After the disappointment of my divorce, I never wanted to feel so out of control of my heart again. But in the months that Joe and I were dating, that desire ran up against a new reality: I was falling in love."
November 20, 2019: An Interesting Display of Affection
While on the campaign trail in Iowa, Jill took a turn at the podium to introduce her husband at a rally. But during her remarks, the presidential hopeful nibbled on Jill's fingers as she gestured to the crowd. When "The View" host Meghan McCain said, "I thought it was silly, and they clearly still love each other and are playful," of the moment, Jill tweeted "Guilty, we do still love each other!"
March 3, 2020: Jill Is His Secret Service
Jill is a woman of many talents and defending her husband against protesters just happens to be one of them. During a Super Tuesday rally, Jill protected her husband as a protester stormed the stage. Later Joe told the crowd, "I’m probably the only candidate running for president whose wife is my Secret Service. Whoa, you don’t screw around with a Philly girl, I’ll tell you what."
November 6, 2020: A Successful Campaign
Joe and Jill's White House aspirations finally became a reality when it was projected that Joe had won the 2020 presidential race. As the President-elect and the future First Lady, Joe and Jill's love story will soon include their own time at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
December 17, 2020: Defending Dr. Jill Biden
After a controversial op-ed in The Wall Street Journal questioning Dr. Jill Biden's right to use "Dr." was published, a whirlwind of commentary ensued. While folks debated the soon-to-be First Lady's prefix awarded to her from earning a doctorate in education from the University of Delaware in 2007, the only opinion she seemed to care about was her own, and of course her husband Joe Biden's. The President-elect restrained himself when asked about the incident in an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and put it like this: “I have been suppressing my Irish-ness for a long time.”
We applaud Joe Biden for keeping his response classy while defending his lady (and our expected First Lady)!
January 20, 2021: 46th President of the United States
On January 20, 2021, Joe Biden officially became the 46th President of the United States. His wife, and now First Lady Jill held the family bible as he took the Oath of Office on the steps on the United States Capitol Building. In addition to former presidents, first ladies, and members of Congress, the couple was joined by their two children and seven grandchildren.