Family & Relationships Jill Biden Just Returned to the Classroom to Teach In Person—and Made History
Kate Middleton wows in fuscia gown as she meets Dr Jill Biden
The Duchess of Cambridge, 39, cut an elegant figure in a £1,125 fuschia dress from Alexander McQueen with matching shoes as she arrived to meet the President's wife today.The Duchess of Cambridge, 39, cut an elegant figure in the £1,125 fuschia midi dress from Alexander McQueen as she arrived to meet the President's wife at a local school this afternoon.
Michelle and Barack.. The Obamas. For eight years (and still to this day), they were the political power couple that much of America looked toward for strength, encouragement, and light. But another duo that shines just as bright? Newly inaugurated President Joe Biden, 78, and his wife , 70.
Like the Obamas, the Bidens have a decades-long relationship that's allowed them to power through and withstand the pressures of Washington and their own personal tragedy. And when you hear their story, it won't be too difficult to understand their connection.
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In 1972, Biden lost his first wife and college sweetheart, Neilia, and one-year-old daughter, Naomi, in a car accident, leaving him to raise their two sons, Beau and Hunter, alone. But three years later, he found Jill (née Jacobs), then a co-ed at the University of Delaware.
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“She gave me back my life,” Biden said in his 2007 memoir,. “She made me start to think my family might be whole again.”
Indeed, Jill is Protector-In-Chief when it comes to Joe, especially as he hit the campaign trail in 2020. When protestors disrupted a victory speech Biden was delivering on Super Tuesday, the now-first lady was deemed a hero forwho lunged on stage. went viral on social media, but the scuffle to protect her husband did not phase Jill Biden one bit, who after the speech was over: "What a night."
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Plus, there's another role that she's equally serious about: Teacher-In-Chief. Not only is Jilland educators nationwide, but she has also always maintained that she would continue teaching during her husband's presidency—making her the first first lady to hold a full-time job outside of the East Wing. In September, after spending a year teaching remotely, the longtime educator returned to in-person classes at Northern Virginia Community College, where she teaches writing. "There are some things you just can't replace, and I can't wait to get back in the classroom," she recently told .
Ahead, everything you need to know about Dr. Jill Biden.
I love you, Jilly, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have you with me on the journey ahead.
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Cynthia Lockrey highlights the value of supporting neurodiverse children in school.Growing up, I was fortunate to go to public schools that had many programs for neurodiverse students. Even though they were segregated in separate classrooms, which thankfully has changed, I still learned many lessons from my fellow students.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden)
Jill Biden—who has worked as an English professor at Northern Virginia Community College—has continued to teach.
During his first speech as President-elect, Joe gave a: "You'll have one of your own in the White House with the first lady." Jill has been teaching for three decades. "Jill’s a mom—a military mom—and an educator. She has dedicated her life to education, but teaching isn’t just what she does—it’s who she is,” Joe continued.
In the late '70s, during the early years of her relationship with Joe, Jill began her 30-plus year career in education. She's taught writing in high school and community colleges and went on to earn two masters degrees and a doctorate in education from the University of Delaware in 2007.
Despite a brief hiatus while her husband was on the campaign trail (according to, it was the first time she took a break since 1981), she has continued to maintain a job teaching writing and English at Northern Virginia Community College for over a decade, according to . And from the early days of the campaign, the veteran educator made it clear that the title of first lady of the United States wouldn't halt her career. In , Jill said, "If we get to the White House, I 'm going to continue to teach. I want people to value teachers and know their contributions and to lift up the profession."
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To drive that point home, during the 2020 DNC, she issued a speech from her former Delaware classroom where she taught high school in the '90s. “Joe’s purpose has always driven him forward,” she said. “His strength of will is unstoppable. And his faith is unshakable, because it’s not in politicians or political parties or even in himself. It’s in the providence of God. His faith is in you—in us."
She's held up her promise since moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. After spending her first semester as FLOTUS teaching remotely, Jill—or, Dr. B— returned to teaching in person at Northern Virginia Community College in September, according to . That makes her the first first lady to leave the White House and log hours at a full-time job. (She was also the first second lady to do so.)
"There are some things you just can’t replace, and I can’t wait to get back in the classroom, this fall," she told, adding, "Working with community college students is deeply rewarding. My students work incredibly hard to make it to class, often between work and raising families. They want to learn. They bring diverse perspectives to our studies – of travels and jobs and families and challenges they’ve had to overcome. It is such an honor to be the person to walk them through their studies, to give them the key that could unlock something life-changing."
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Joe and Jill Biden went to the movies on their first date.
In 1975,, the two were introduced by Joe's brother. At the time of their first date, he was a Delaware senator with two children and nine years Jill's senior. She was in her last year at college at the University of Delaware. According to the magazine, the two went to the theater, saw the movie, A Man and a Woman, and as they say, the rest was history.
But at first, the the couple kept up with the illusion that their relationship was just "fun."
"She was just starting her own career," Biden wrote in Promises to Keep. "I think it was easier for her in the beginning of our courtship when I wasn’t thinking about marriage. We both just liked having fun with somebody again, and she wanted to keep it that way."
Joe's sons urged him to marry Jill.
In Promises to Keep, Biden explained that while he didn't introduce his (then) new girlfriend to Beau and Hunter right away, once he did, "they hit it off" and Jill was around for all major holidays including Thanksgiving and Christmas.
In fact, the boys were the first ones to suggest marriage. At the ages of 7 and 6, respectively, Beau and Hunter brought up the subject to their father while he was shaving one morning. Joe recalled the moment in a book passage featured in.
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Finally, Hunter spoke up: “Beau thinks we should get married.”
“What do you mean, guys? Beau?”
“Well,” Beau said, “we think we should marry Jill. What do you think, Dad?”
“I think that’s a pretty good idea,” I told them. I’ll never forget how good I felt at that moment.
Joe proposed to Jill Biden several times before they got engaged.
It was revealed to Vogue that President Biden had to propose to his future wife five times before she said yes. But there was no ill-will on Jill's part. She had Beau and Hunter in mind when making her decision.
"...By that time, of course, I had fallen in love with the boys, and I really felt that this marriage had to work," she told the magazine. "Because they had lost their mom, and I couldn’t have them lose another mother. So I had to be 100 percent sure.”
Of course, she eventually said yes and the couple were married on June 17, 1977.
Joe and Jill Biden had an intimate wedding.
In his book, Biden explained they were wed at the United Nations Chapel in New York City with only family in attendance, which totaled just under 40 people. Beau and Hunter accompanied them at the altar because it was their union, too.
"The way they thought of it, the four of us were getting married," he wrote. Yes, we're crying, too.
The family was complete in June 1981 when they welcomed a daughter. Her brothers got to choose her name: Ashley.
Over the years, Joe has given Jill corsages to mark special occasions.
Photographers on inauguration day spottedon Dr. Biden's wrist while the pair watched the celebratory firework show in the evening. According to their interview with People, President Biden has been giving her corsages for decades now, and it's become a romantic tradition of theirs.
"I love gardenias and so Joe would buy me a wrist corsage of gardenias. I think it was for Valentine's Day [the first time]," Dr. Biden said. "I wore it to school, to teach. It's just a tradition and he surprised me with it."
They're still making time for romance during Joe's presidential term.
The Bidens have never exactly had oodles of free time, but their schedules are particularly jam-packed with Joe's POTUS tenure beginning and Jill juggling her first lady and teaching responsibilities.
On February 25, Dr. Biden appeared on The Kelly Clarkson Show and talked about their adjustment to life in the White House.
One thing she stressed is that, despite their intense commitments, they make time each night to sit with each other for dinner away from their phones.
"He's so busy, I 'm so busy, but we do keep dinner. We have dinner together, no phones, the phones have to be off. And now we're having dinner in this beautiful home. There's a fireplace in the dining room [that they light]," she said. "We just sit and talk for a while, and then he has to go back to work into the night and I 'm grading papers."
Dr. Biden also revealed that they've done their best to keep up a family tradition of getting together with their children (and grandchildren) for weekly Sunday night meals.
They seem to have shut down their joint foundation.
Together Joe and Jill co-chaired, a non-profit that sought to support causes close to the couples' hearts: military families, advancement in community colleges, support for LGBTQ equality, and much more.
However,that when Joe announced his 2020 candidacy, they suspended the charity in efforts to remain financially transparent throughout the campaign. The foundation, which was created after he left office in 2017, raised $6.6 million in its inaugural year.
The Times wrote that following the suspension of activities, the Biden Foundation would "begin a longer process of gradually dismantling itself."appear that the foundation has been active in any way since April 2019.
The Bidens have been married for over 40 years—and have overcome tragedy.
Biden served in the U.S. Senate until 2009 when he was selected as Barack Obama's vice president. He held the position for two terms until 2017. Jill went on to earn two master's degrees and doctorate in education at the University of Delaware.
But in 2015 their family suffered unimaginable heartache after Beau—who served as Delaware's Attorney General—died of brain cancer at age 46. This affected Biden's choice to not run for president in 2016, a race he was then favored to enter. Both Joe and Jill chose to open up about Beau's illness through literature. For Biden, it was his candid 2017 memoir,. Jill's Where the Light Enters came out in 2019.
"I am thrilled to tell a story that is such an enormous part of my heart—the story of how we built and rebuilt our family,”People Magazine last October.
In their interview with People, the Bidens spoke candidly about how they have supported each other through adversity and loss during their decades of marriage.
"She has a backbone like a ramrod. Everybody says marriage is 50/50. Well, sometimes you have to be 70/30," President Biden said. "Thank God that when I 'm really down, she steps in, and when she's really down, I 'm able to step in. We've been really supportive of one another."
Dr. Biden also weighed in, talking about how their struggles have helped strengthen their bond.
"All that we've been through together—the highs, the lows and certainly tragedy and loss—there's that quote that says sometimes you become stronger in the fractured places. That's what we try to achieve."
When asked whether they've been relying on prayer to help them get through the unprecedented stress of the pandemic, President Biden revealed that Dr. Biden actually tapes notes with important messages she wants Joe to understand to his mirror.
"Jill, when she wants me to get a real message, she tapes it on the mirror above the sink where I shave. And she put up a great quote from Kierkegaard saying, 'Faith sees best in the dark,'" he explained.
She's written three books, including one about her husband.
One of the best ways to get to know Jill Biden is via her writing. Jill has published two children's books—including one about her husband.is peppered with never-before-heard anecdotes about Joe's childhood in Scranton, and the formative years that laid the groundwork for his career in politics.
Her second book,, was inspired by her , whose father was serving in the armed forces, and broaches the reality of having a parent at war. Older audiences will enjoy Jill's 2019 memoir, .
"Growing up, Jill had wanted two things: a marriage like her parents'—strong, loving, and full of laughter—and a career. An early heartbreak had left her uncertain about love, until she met Joe. But as they grew closer, Jill faced difficult questions: How would politics shape her family and professional life? And was she ready to become a mother to Joe's two young sons?," reads the publisher's description.
Essentially, it covers some topics in this article—but filtered through Jill's own words.
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