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"Unthinkable loss" and dating his late brother's wife: Hunter Biden's complicated life.

Amid the turbulence of the countdown to the US election on November 3, there is one name that has moved from the periphery to the spotlight.

Hunter Biden. 

The 50-year-old is the the youngest son of Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, and has had a career as an investment advisor and lawyer.  

From Donald Trump’s callous attacks on Hunter’s drug addiction to his relentless scrutiny over Hunter’s business dealings, the Trump campaign is desperately trying to use Joe Biden’s son as a vehicle to discredit the presidential-hopeful. 

Hunter Biden is Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's youngest son. Image: Getty. 

For months, the president has led a crusade against Hunter Biden, alleging his father Joe Biden illegally used his role as vice president to enrich his son’s overseas business dealings. Whilst the Trump camp insists the Biden family are politically corrupt, Joe and Hunter have always denied any legal wrongdoing. 

But beyond the scrutiny over his public career, Hunter Biden’s private life has been filled with tragedy and personal turmoil. 

Robert Hunter Biden was born in 1970, one year after his older brother, Joseph Beau Biden (who, like Hunter, went by his middle name). Hunter Biden was the middle child of Joe Biden’s three kids to his then-wife, Neilia Hunter - the pair also shared their youngest daughter, Naomi Biden. 

In 1972, Joe Biden won the U.S. Senate election Delaware. Just weeks later, Neilia Hunter was in her car with their three children, on their way to purchase a Christmas tree. A car collided with theirs and Neilia and Naomi were killed. The two boys survived the crash but were left with serious injuries. Beau had multiple broken bones, and Hunter was left with a fractured skull - eventually making a full recovery. 

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Watch: Joe Biden speaks about the death of his wife and daughter. Post continues below.


Video via ABC News

Joe Biden suddenly was left to raise his two young sons, then four and two years old.

Five years after the accident, Joe Biden met Jill Jacobs, whom he would marry in 1977 and who became a step-mother to Hunter and Beau.

“I fell in love with a man and two little boys standing in the wreckage of unthinkable loss. Mourning a wife and mother; a daughter and sister. I never imagined, at the age of 26, I would be asking myself, ‘How do you make a broken family whole?’” Jill Biden reflected at the Democratic National Convention said in 2020.

Over 40 years after losing his sister and mother, tragedy hit the Biden family once more. 

In 2010, Beau Biden suffered a small stroke, according to The New York Times

In 2013, doctors diagnosed him with brain cancer and removed a small lesion from his brain. He underwent radiation and chemotherapy treatment, but died on May 20, 2015, aged 46. By the time Hunter Biden was 43, he had lost his brother, sister and mother. 

Hunter and Beau Biden with their father, Joe Biden, in 2009. Image: Getty. 

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Then-President Barack Obama delivered a eulogy at Beau's funeral, calling him "a good man. A man of character. A man who loved deeply, and was loved in return."

Beau and Hunter were incredibly close. Hunter told The New Yorker in 2019 that: “If we wanted to jump off a cliff into a watering hole, I would say, ‘I’m ready, let’s go,’ and Beau would say, ‘Wait, wait, wait, before we do it, make sure there aren’t any rocks down there.’”

In the same year as his brother’s death, Hunter Biden was allegedly exposed in a data leak from Ashley Madison - a dating website for people seeking extramarital affairs. Hunter, who at the time was married to his wife of 22 years Kathleen Biden, denied having an account on the website. Nevertheless, he and his wife split two months later. The pair had three daughters: Naomi, Finnegan, and Maisy.

Hunter Biden and his then-wife Kathleen Biden. Image: Getty. 

In 2017, Hunter’s ex-wife Kathleen Biden said that he Biden had allegedly “created financial concerns for the family by spending extravagantly on his own interests (including drugs, alcohol, prostitutes, strip clubs, and gifts for women with whom he has sexual relations), while leaving the family with no funds to pay legitimate bills,” in court documents obtianed by the media.

The same year as the finalisation of his divorce, whispers of a new relationship emerged, and were later confirmed by Hunter himself. 

His new partner was named as Hallie Biden, widow of Hunter’s brother, Beau, and former sister-in-law of Hunter himself.

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“Hallie and I are incredibly lucky to have found the love and support we have for each other in such a difficult time, and that’s been obvious to the people who love us most,” Hunter told Page Six in 2017. “We’ve been so lucky to have family and friends who have supported us every step of the way.” 

Hallie Biden with her then-husband, Beau Biden. Image: Getty. 

Joe Biden showed support for his son. 

“We are all lucky that Hunter and Hallie found each other as they were putting their lives together again after such sadness,” Biden also told Page Six in 2017. “They have mine and Jill’s full and complete support and we are happy for them.” 

Later, in 2019, Hunter spoke to The New Yorker about asking his father to publicly make a statement about his new relationship.

“I said, ‘Dad, Dad, you have to.’ He said, ‘Hunter, I don’t know if I should. But I’ll do whatever you want me to do.’ I said, ‘Dad, if people find out, but they think you’re not approving of this, it makes it seem wrong. The kids have to know, Dad, that there’s nothing wrong with this, and the one person who can tell them that is you.’ ”

In April 2019, it was reported that Hunter and Hallie had amicably split after a two-year relationship. 

In May 2019, Hunter Biden proposed to a woman, Melissa Cohen, after less than a week of knowing her. A month later, they married and have since welcomed a child into the world. 

Hunter Biden during the Democratic National Convention in August this year. Image: Getty. 

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Indeed, it’s been a life of personal twists and turns. Throughout it all, Hunter has also suffered from well-documented alcohol addiction and drug abuse. 

In October 2014, the Biden family faced media attention once again when it was reported Hunter had been discharged from the Navy Reserve after testing positive for cocaine.

Although Biden didn't comment on the matter, Hunter shared his own statement at the time.

"It was the honour of my life to serve in the US Navy, and I deeply regret and am embarrassed that my actions led to administrative discharge," he said, according to CNN

"I respect the Navy's decision. With the love and support of my family, I'm moving forward."

In the first presidential debate in September, Trump used this addiction against his opponent, Joe Biden. 

"Hunter got thrown out of the military. He was thrown out, dishonorably discharged for cocaine use," said Trump, "and he didn't have a job until you became vice president." 

Biden has been open about his addiction, telling The New Yorker he began experimenting when he was a teenager. 

“Look, everybody faces pain,” he said. “Everybody has trauma. There’s addiction in every family. I was in that darkness. I was in that tunnel—it’s a never-ending tunnel. You don’t get rid of it. You figure out how to deal with it.”

Feature image: Getty. 


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