Everything To Know About Neilia Hunter, Joe Biden's First Wife

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Joe Biden

When Joe Biden announced that he would be running for President in the 2020 election, people immediately began looking more closely at the man.

Sure, we all know "Uncle Joe" as our fun-loving Vice President, and now, as our 46th President of the United States, but who is the guy, really?

You might think of Joe as being very happily married to his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, but did you know that wasn't always the case?

That's not to say they had some sort of scandalous past, though. In fact, it was quite the opposite.

Who is Joe Biden's first wife, Neilia Hunter Biden?

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Prior to meeting and marrying Jill, Joe was married to Neilia Biden. Here's everything you need to know about Joe Biden's first wife. 

The story of Joe Biden's first wife is both sad and tragic. 

If you know anything about Joe Biden, then you probably know he is happily married to Dr. Jill Biden. But what you might not know is that Biden's marriage to Jill is his second.

No, the man didn't have some sort of messy divorce. It's actually a deeply sad story.

Before Jill, Joe Biden was married to Neilia Biden. Shortly after Biden turned 30 and was elected to the Senate, his wife Neilia was preparing for Christmas.

She decided to take a drive with the couple's three children, Beau, Hunter, and one-year-old Naomi in the hopes of picking out a Christmas tree. Tragically, she wound up colliding with another car.

Neila Hunter Biden was killed in an auto accident.

Both she and baby Naomi were killed. Beau and Hunter survived. 

The man who was driving the other vehicle involved in the accident was Curtis C. Dunn, who was behind the wheel of a truck. 

There was no alcohol involved, and many believe that the accident simply took place when a distracted Neilia was dealing with the children, turned her head, and drifted into the wrong lane. 

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Though Curtis passed away in 2008, his daughter Pamela Hamill wouldn't rest until she got an apology from Joe Biden himself.

She believes that he has publicly implied alcohol was involved in the crime when that was not the case.

“I just burst into tears,” she said. “The story already is tragic enough, why did he have to sensationalize it by saying my father was drunk? My family is outraged.”

Neilia Hunter Biden was Joe Biden's best friend.

Joe Biden has never been shy about his feelings for Neilia. He opened up t writer Kitty Kelley and said: 

“Neilia was my very best friend, my greatest ally, my sensuous lover. The longer we lived together the more we enjoyed everything from sex to sports. Most guys don’t really know what I lost because they never knew what I had.”

But it was thanks to Neilia opening his heart that Joe was able to keep living his life. 

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In fact, it was the open heart he cultivated during the years of his marriage to Neilia that allowed him to marry again, this time to Jill Tracy Jacobs.  

When they met, she was an English teacher, and the duo was set-up on a blind date. Luckily, sparks flew and Joe wasn't afraid to reach for his second chance. 

Neilia Hunter Biden's son Beau Biden died of a brain tumor.

Tragically, Beau, one of Joe's sons with Neilia, died at the young age of 46 of a terminal brain tumor.

Prior to his death, Beau had been excited about his own political aspirations. He was, in fact, planning to eventually run for governor. Even without winning an election, the former attorney general of Delaware was impressive in his own right. 

About his son, Joe Biden said that Beau was “quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known.”

In addition to his time as a lawyer, Beau also served in the Iraq war and was a dedicated father and husband.

For Joe Biden, losing his son was like losing Neilia all over again. 

Grief over Neilia Hunter Biden's death changed Joe Biden.

Grief can impact people differently. For Joe, it's ultimately made him the man that he is today, though his road has not been easy.

He's quoted as saying:

“For the first time in my life, I understood how someone could consciously decide to commit suicide. Not because they were deranged, not because they were nuts, because they’d been to the top of the mountain and they just knew in their heart they’d never get there again, that it was … never going to be that way ever again. 

Keep thinking what your husband or wife would want you to do. Keep thinking what it is, and keep remembering those kids of yours, or him or her the rest of their life, blood of my blood, bone of my bone, because, folks, it can and will get better.”

Neilia's former students, recently spoke about her in a feature in a local newspaper.

Sue Spooner, who was a student of Neilia's when she taught middle school English, recently spoke about "Miss Hunter's" legacy in an interview with a local newspaper.

“We all loved her in the neighborhood,” she said. Spooner even attended Neilia and Joe Biden's wedding with a group of classmates when she was 14 years old.

Spooner cherishes the hand-written note that was given to her by her former teacher, which simply reads, "It was wonderful, your being at the wedding.”

Neilia's former neighbor, JoAnne DelVecchio — who was close to the Biden family when they lived in Syracuse, New York — also reflected on her warm character and the memories she has of the Biden family.

"A lovely person, just beautiful in every way," DelVecchio said.

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. She's an experienced generalist with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, pop culture, and true crime. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr

Editor’s Note: This article was originally posted on April 26, 2019 and was updated with the latest information.