While they’re no strangers to the demands of political office, the presidency has presented quite a few challenges for Joe and Jill Biden.
For a start: just finding time to see each other.
After more than four decades of marriage, their relationship faced a major hurdle when Joe, formerly the senator of Delaware and later the 47th vice president of the United States, was elected to the top spot in November 2020.
Speaking in Vogue magazine’s August issue, of which Jill (70) is the cover star, the president candidly shared just how much things have changed for them since they moved into the White House.
"I miss her. I'm really proud of her. It's not like we can just go off like we used," he told the magazine.
"When we were living in Delaware and married, once a month we'd just go up to a local bed and breakfast by ourselves, to make sure we had a romantic time to just get away and hang out with each other."
But these days setting aside quality time to be alone together is easier said than done.
"All kidding aside, that's part of the problem,” Biden (78) says. “You can't. I'm not complaining. It's part of the deal. But this life prevents it. It's just harder."
These days their schedules are jam-packed and their diaries are worked out weeks and sometimes even months in advance.
Also complicating matters is that on top of her first-lady duties, Jill has chosen to continue her role as a lecturer at Northern Virginia Community College where she teaches writing.
"She's been travelling all over the country, and doing major events for me . . . and for the country,” Biden says. “And so I'll find that I'm working on a hell-of-an-important speech and I'm distracted. And then I may not be working on one and I want to go and hang out with her, and she's working on an important speech! Or grading papers."
Still, having just celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary, these two know what it takes to have a thriving marriage and are more determined than ever to carve out the quality time they need.
"We have to figure out a way – and I mean this sincerely – to be able to steal time for one another," Biden says. "I think that's the deal."
Jill is in whole-hearted agreement, adding: "We have to, I think, try a little harder to make time for one another."
From finding love with each other after their first marriages, surviving the loss of a child to becoming the first couple of the United States, the couple’s bond has allowed them to withstand the pressures of Washington and numerous personal and professional setbacks.
We take a lot at the highlights and low points of their long love affair.
The future president and Jill Taylor Jacobs met in 1975 after the politician’s first wife, Neilia Hunter Biden, and infant daughter Naomi tragically died in a car crash in 1972. Jill had finalised her divorce from Bill Stevenson just before being introduced to Biden by his brother, Frank, who had known her in college.
Despite their nine-year age gap, their relationship became serious fast, and Jill began helping Joe care for his sons, Beau and Hunter.
But despite their obvious connection, the former senator proposed to his now-wife five times before she accepted.
“[After each proposal], 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 revealed in November 2016.
“Because they had lost their mom, and I couldn’t have them lose another mother. So, I had to be 100 percent sure.”
The couple held their wedding ceremony at the United Nations chapel and a reception lunch at Sign of the Dove in New York City. They took sons Beau and Hunter on their honeymoon.
Biden and Jill welcomed their daughter, Ashley. "Our family was complete," Jill said in a video shown at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
Biden runs for president, but his short-lived campaign quickly folds after allegations of plagiarising his speeches and exaggerating his academic records from college and law school, according to The New York Times.
"'I made some mistakes,'' he said as he announced the end of his campaign, through which the couple presented a united front.
The politician suffered his first of two brain aneurysms, the second of which occurred nearly three months later.
When Jill earned her doctorate in education from the University of Delaware, Biden was there to hand her degree to her. He’d previously supported her as she defended her thesis to earn her doctorate.
Biden gushed about his love for Jill in his memoir, Promises to Keep, crediting her with saving him after the tragic loss of his young wife and infant daughter.
“She gave me back my life,” he wrote. “She made me start to think my family might be whole again.”
Jill joined Biden at a rally in Springfield, Illinois, where Barack Obama picked him to be his running mate during the 2008 election. At the time, Jill opened up about how her long-time love has always been supportive of her career.
“After Joe was elected vice president, people started questioning whether I could keep teaching. Not Joe,” she explained. “He was there standing by my side saying, 'Of course you should. It's who you are, Jill’.”
Biden’s son, Beau, from his first marriage died of brain cancer at age 46.
Biden released a video announcing his candidacy in the 2020 presidential race, and was able to count on Jill during a campaign event that saw protestors storming the stage.
After Jill fought them off, Biden joked: “I’m probably the only candidate running for president whose wife is my Secret Service.”
During his victory speech after winning the election against Donald Trump, Biden referred to himself as “Jill’s husband”.
February 2021The president paid tribute to his wife with a sweet Valentine’s Day message."The love of my life and the life of my love. Happy Valentine’s Day, Jilly," he tweeted.
SOURCES VOGUE.COM, TIME.COM, NYTIMES.COM, USMAGAZINE.COM, INSIDER.COM, USATODAY.COM, EONLINE.COM, OPRAHDAILY.COM