Joe Biden Proposed To Jill 5 Times Before She Said Yes

Joe Biden Proposed To Jill 5 Times Before She Said Yes

From Women's Health

  • Joe Biden's wife is Dr. Jill Biden, who has a doctorate in education.

  • She is Joe's second wife; his first wife, Neilia, died in a car accident.

  • Jill was a teacher for much of her life and gave her highly anticipated Democratic National Convention speech from her former classroom.

Most people are pretty familiar with President Joe Biden, given that he used to be Vice President of the United States and all, but you might not know much about his family, including Joe's wife, Jill Biden.

Their partnership has stood the test of time, over 40 years and counting. And, while Jill isn’t in the limelight as much as her husband, she’s shared more about her life, her career, her relationship with Biden, their family, and more while helping to campaign for her husband and now as First Lady.

So, who is Jill, other than the current First Lady and former Second Lady of the United States? Here’s everything you need to know.

She’s a doctor, TYVM.

Jill isn’t a medical doctor, but she has a doctorate in education from the University of Delaware—a title she earned in 2007, according to her official White House biography. (She did her dissertation on maximizing student retention in community colleges, btw.)

Jill also has a master's degree in English from Villanova University and a master's degree in reading from West Chester University. She's from Philadelphia originally.

She's been teaching for a long time.

Jill taught English full-time at the Delaware Technical & Community College, her White House biography says. Before that, she was a reading specialist and English teacher for 13 years in public schools. She also worked part-time with the Rockford Psychiatric Hospital Adolescent Program.

Watch Jill Biden discuss education and mental health while visiting New Hampshire:

She also vowed to continue to teach as First Lady in an interview with CBS Sunday Morning before the election.

"If we get to the White House, I’m going to continue to teach. It’s important, and I want people to value teachers and know their contributions and lift up their profession," she said.

Jill chose her former classroom as her Democratic National Convention speech location. She shared the update on Twitter: "Teaching is not what I do. It's who I am. I'll be giving my convention speech tonight from my former classroom. Brandywine High School. Room 232."

She was married before.

Jill was previously married to a man named Bill Stevenson, who she wed when she was 18 years old, just six months after they met, per The Sun. They divorced in 1975.

Jill is Joe’s second wife, too.

Joe’s first wife was his college sweetheart, Neilia Biden. Neilia and the couple’s 1-year-old daughter, Naomi, were killed just before Christmas in 1972 when a tractor-trailer slammed into their station wagon, per Biography. Biden’s sons Beau and Hunter were severely injured in the crash as well, but ended up recovering.

Jill and Joe met on a blind date.

Three years after the death of Joe's wife and daughter, his brother introduced the couple. Jill was still in college and had a very good first impression of Joe. “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," she told Vogue. "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.’”

Joe was a single dad raising his two sons when they met. Jill also helped him move on after the tragedy. "She gave me back my life," Joe wrote in his 2007 memoir Promises to Keep, per O the Oprah Magazine. "She made me start to think my family might be whole again."

Jill reminisced in a recent tweet: "'How did you get this number?' Those were the first words I spoke to Joe when he called me out of the blue on a Saturday in 1975."

She gives great advice.

Jill did her first interview as First Lady on Kelly Clarkson’s talk show, and offered up some really great advice on navigating divorce.

"I want to tell you, Kelly, I mean, this is what I would say to you if I were your mother," she said. "You know, my mother always said to me, 'Things are going to look better to tomorrow,' and if you can take one day at a time, and things will get better.”

She continued, “I look back on it now, and I think, you know, if I hadn’t gotten divorced, I never would’ve met Joe. I wouldn’t have the beautiful family I have now. So I really think things happen for the best. And I think, Kelly, over time—I don’t know how long it’s been for you—but I think over time, you heal, and you’re going to be surprised. I can’t wait until that day comes for you, and you’re going to call me up, and you’re going to say, 'Hey Jill, you were right!'"

She has five grandchildren.

Jill is mom to Ashley, a social worker, Hunter, a lawyer, and Beau, who was Delaware’s Attorney General. Beau died of brain cancer in 2015, sparking the Biden Cancer Initiative, which Jill and Joe co-founded.

Now, Joe and Jill are grandparents to five grandchildren: Naomi, Finnegan, Maisy, Natalie, and Hunter.

Jill shot down Joe's marriage proposal more than once.

Joe proposed to Jill five different times before she agreed to marry him, according to 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," Jill said. "Because they had lost their mom, and I couldn’t have them lose another mother. So I had to be 100-percent sure."

Joe chimed in and said that he actually gave Jill this ultimatum: "'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!"

She married him in 1977 in New York City. The couple had a small ceremony with 40 family and friends at the United Nations chapel followed by a lunch reception.

After their wedding, Joe and Jill honeymooned as a family with his two sons, Vogue reported.

She continued to teach while she was Second Lady.

According to her official White House profile, Jill was really busy when her husband was vice president. "As Second Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden works to bring attention to the sacrifices made by military families, to highlight the importance of community colleges to America’s future, and to raise awareness around areas of particular importance to women including breast cancer prevention, all while continuing to teach English full-time at a community college in nearby Virginia," her bio reads.

Joe is still crazy in love with her.

In the same profile for CBS Sunday Morning, Joe said that he was still madly in love with his wife: "I adore her. I’m gonna sound so stupid, I was saying the other day, when she comes down the steps and I look at her my heart still skips a beat."

He also shared a sweet message to Jilly and a photo on Instagram. He wrote: "Happy Valentine’s Day, Jilly. You're the love of my life and the life of my love."

Joe turns to Jill for advice, and she supports him on the campaign trail.

"What Jill is best at helping me do is figure out who the people around me would be most compatible with me," he said in the CBS profile. "She knows me better than I know me."

And Jill said that they also discussed his vice presidential candidate together. "We’ve talked about the different women candidates, but it’s gotta be Joe’s decision," she said. "Who he feels most comfortable with, who shares his values. And that’s what he’s always said that’s what he and Barack had." (Of course, ultimately, Joe chose Kamala Harris as his running mate.)

Jill is an avid runner.

She loves running and loves talking about it, too. Jill started running in the early 1990s when she participated in a Komen Race for the Cure around age 40. Ideally, her weekly workout routine includes five five-mile runs each week, she told Runner's World in 2010. Jill sticks to a nine to 10-minute mile pace and also adds in some strength training.

Jill finished the 1998 Marine Corps Marathon and has done several half-marathons and 10-mile races.

Jill kept up her running as Second Lady, with a couple adjustments. "I usually have someone ahead of me and someone behind me," Jill told the publication. "I just say to them, 'I need to pretend you’re not here,' because I love to run by myself, and they’re pretty respectful of that."

She's also passionate about community colleges.

Jill’s White House bio says that she see community colleges as "one of America’s best-kept secrets." In 2012, she traveled across the country as part of the "Community College to Career" tour to showcase successful partnerships between community colleges and employers. She also hosted the first-ever White House Summit on Community Colleges with then-president Barack Obama in 2010. During her husband’s time in office, Jill frequently visited campuses and met with students, teachers, and industry representatives, her bio says.

Jill wrote a children's book about Joe.

Dr. Biden also recently wrote a children’s book about her husband's childhood, Joey: The Story of Joe Biden.

"He had to overcome a lot of hardship; he was bullied as a child, and so he knows what it feels for other kids to be bullied," she said in the CBS profile. "He stood up to the bullies, and he stood up to the bullies who bullied other kids, so I think that he's resilient. I want people to know that he's empathetic because of what he's been through in life, and that he's a leader, of course."

She gets to the point.

Jill regularly posts on Instagram, and she keeps her captions short, sweet, and to the point. Evidence:

She’s an advocate for military families.

Jill is a military mom—Beau Biden served in the military for several years. Jill is so supportive of military families that she and then-First Lady Michelle Obama launched a nationwide campaign called Joining Forces in 2011 to help war vets and military spouses find career opportunities.

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