Vice President Joe Biden is a total stud, as evidenced by the resurfacing of a throwback photo from his twenties. Between that and his recent viral stardom (best memes ever?), the country has taken even more interest in his back-story, especially concerning his love life. While the government man boasts a beautiful bromance with President Barack Obama, Vogue just revealed insights into his other big relationship—his 39-year marriage to Dr. Jill Biden.
Jill is actually the VP's second spouse. His first wife, college sweetheart Neilia Biden, died just weeks after Joe was elected senator of Delaware. She and the couple's three children—Naomi, Beau, and Hunter—were struck by a tractor-trailer on a Christmas shopping trip. Only Beau and Hunter survived.
Joe Biden has experienced an incredible amount of loss (Beau just recently passed away from cancer), but he largely credits Jill for his ability to carry on. "She gave me back my life," he shared in his 2007 memoir, adding, "she made me start to think my family might be whole again."
But how did their romance start?
According to Vogue, Joe's brother introduced the pair three years after the tragedy. Joe has since confessed he thinks their meeting was a gift from Neilia.
Jill Biden (then Jacobs) was divorced and still a college student at the time, and on their first date, she admittedly had doubts about their compatibility. "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, and I thought, 'God, this is never going to work, not in a million years.' He was nine years older than I am!" The SLOTUS shared. "But we went out to see A Man and a Woman at the movie theater in Philadelphia, and we really hit it off. 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.'"
Sounds like a happily-ever-after story, right? Not so fast. Apparently, it took Joe Biden five tries before Jill agreed to get engaged! But alas, she had a good reason for rejecting his proposals.
"I said, 'Not yet. Not yet. Not yet.' Because by that time, of course, I had fallen in love with the boys [Beau and Hunter], 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."
Finally, Joe cracked. "'Look, this is the last time I’m asking you. I don’t care when we get married. But I want a commitment,'" he recalls saying. "And she said okay. But it took that!"
After that, the wedding bells came easy, and the couple married on June 17, 1977. Held at the United Nations chapel in New York City and later at the Sign of the Dove, the celebration hosted approximately 40 of the pair's closest family and friends. In two amazingly sweet gestures, Beau and Hunter not only stood by their parents at the altar—they accompanied the newlyweds on their honeymoon.
Since then, Joe and Jill Biden have had another daughter, Ashley, and maintain a strong and lasting relationship.
Turns out Michelle and Barack Obama aren't the only incredible couple leaving the White House come January.