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

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Joe Biden

We all know "Uncle Joe" as our fun-loving Vice President, and now, as our 46th President of the United States.

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. 

1. Joe Biden met Neilia in the Bahamas.

That's right. The two were on Spring break in Nassau, Bahamas. After meeting, they dated while Joe attended Syracuse University.

The couple married on August 27, 1966. After the wedding, the Bidens moved to Wilmington, Delaware, where Biden was on the New Castle County Council after defeating veteran politician J. Caleb Boggs.

2. Neila Hunter Biden was killed in a car accident.

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 vehicle in a car crash.

Both Neilia and Naomi were killed while 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 tractor-trailer 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. 

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 the killed his wife and daughter 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.”

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3. Neilia Hunter Biden was Joe Biden's best friend.

Joe Biden has never been shy about his feelings for Neilia. He opened up to writer Kitty Kelley, saying, “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. 

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. 

4. Neilia Hunter had three children with Joe Biden.

Neilia Hunter Biden had two sons Beau and Hunter and one daughter Naomi with Joe Biden.

Their oldest was Beau Biden, born in 1969. Tragically, Beau died at the young age of 46 of a terminal brain tumor.

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Prior to his death by brain cancer, 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.

Their second oldest is Hunter Biden who is an American lawyer. He also is a hedge fund, venture capital, and private-equity fund investor who formerly worked as a lobbyist, banker, public administration official, and registered lobbyist-firm attorney. Hunter served on the board of Burisma Holdings, one of the largest private natural gas producers in Ukraine, from 2014 until his term expired in April 2019.

Then the third oldest would've been Naomi Biden had she not tragically passed away in the same accident that killed her mother at the ripe age of just one year old.

5. Neilia Biden was a beloved teacher. 

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.