Joe and Jill Biden have been married for 43 years — here’s a timeline of their relationship

  • Joe Biden had to propose to Jill five times before she said yes.
  • They have each written memoirs where they share the history of their love story.
  • They have been at each other's sides during celebrations, such as the inauguration in 2009 and 2013, and devastating losses, such as the death of their son Beau.
  • Jill has become a key member of Biden's 2020 presidential campaign.
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It took some convincing for Jill Taylor Jacobs to agree to marry Joe Biden. 

"Joe often tells people that I didn't agree to marry him until the fifth time he asked me," she said in a speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. "The truth is, I loved him from the start."

Through their 43 years together, Joe and Dr. Jill Biden have been at each other's sides through successes and failures, through joyful celebrations and devastating losses.

Keep scrolling for a complete timeline of their relationship.

1975: Joe Biden's brother introduced him to Jill Taylor Jacobs.

Joe was a 33-year-old US senator, and Jill was a 24-year-old college senior. Both had been married before. Joe's wife and daughter died in a car crash in 1972, leaving him a widower with two sons, and Jill and her husband filed for divorce in her junior year. 

"I was a senior, and I had been dating guys in jeans and clogs and T-shirts, he came to the door and he had a sport coat and loafers, and I thought, 'God, this is never going to work, not in a million years,'" Jill Biden told Vogue. "He was nine years older than I am! But we went out to see 'A Man and a Woman' at the movie theater in Philadelphia, and we really hit it off. When we came home … he shook my hand good night … I went upstairs and called my mother at 1:00 a.m. and said, 'Mom, I finally met a gentleman.'"

June 17, 1977: The couple married after Joe proposed five times.

"I said, 'Not yet. Not yet. Not yet,'" Jill told Vogue of Joe's proposals. "Because by that time, of course, I had fallen in love with the boys, and I really felt that this marriage had to work. Because they had lost their mom, and I couldn't have them lose another mother. So I had to be 100 percent sure."

They 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.

1981: The couple welcomed daughter Ashley.

"Our family was complete," Jill said in a video shown at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

June 1987: When Joe announced his candidacy for president, Jill was by his side.

He announced his presidential run in Wilmington, Delaware.

September 1987: They presented a united front when he withdrew from the race.

His short-lived campaign had been enveloped in scandal, with allegations of plagiarizing 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.

The New York Times described Jill's face as "a study in dejection." Jill later wrote about controlling her emotions in her memoir "Where The Light Enters."

"As a political spouse, I've found that my stoicism often serves me well," she wrote. "In 1988, when Joe's first presidential campaign started to look bleak, people were constantly looking for cracks in our team. We all felt scrutinized, but I refused to show weakness."

1988: Joe had two brain aneurysms. The couple posed outside the hospital when he was discharged after the first of two operations.

Joe had a pulmonary embolism later that year as he recovered. In her book, Jill writes about watching as "EMTs carried him down the steps of our house on a stretcher."

2007: Joe wrote about his love for Jill in his memoir, "Promises to Keep."

"She gave me back my life," he wrote. "She made me start to think my family might be whole again."

2007: Jill earned her PhD in education from the University of Delaware. At the graduation, Joe handed Jill her doctorate.

She became Dr. Jill Biden.

2008: Barack Obama chose Joe as his running mate, and the two families developed a close bond.

The "bromance" between Barack Obama and Joe went viral.

January 2009: Jill held the family's Bible when her husband was sworn in as vice president.

The Bible has been in the Biden family since the 1890s.

Joe supported her career, too. She made history as the first known second lady to hold a full-time job. She was an English professor at Northern Virginia Community College.

"As second lady, she was teaching full time for eight years, 15 credits a semester," Joe said in a video shown at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

"I said, 'I know I can do both jobs,'" she said.

She encouraged students to call her "Dr. B.," according to the Los Angeles Times. 

2010: On Valentine's Day, Joe surprised her with a tree swing marked with a commemorative plaque on the grounds of the vice president's residence.

The plaque reads "Joe loves Jill. Valentine's Day 2010."

2010: They took diplomatic trips together, such as their visit to Israel.

They took other trips together, such as attending the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

2012: At the Democratic National Convention, Jill spoke about Joe's support for her career and his strength in the face of loss.

"After Joe was elected vice president, people started questioning whether I could keep teaching," she said. "Not Joe. He was there standing by my side saying 'Of course you should. It's who you are, Jill.'"

2013: When President Obama won a second term, Jill held the Bible again when Joe was sworn in at the inauguration.

As they had in 2009, they danced together at more inaugural balls.

2015: Tragedy struck when their son Beau Biden died of brain cancer.

Still reeling from the loss, Joe decided not to run for president in 2016.

2019: Jill released her own book, "Where The Light Enters," in which she wrote about falling in love with Joe in the early days of their relationship.

"After the disappointment of my divorce, I never wanted to feel so out of control of my heart again," she wrote. "But in the months that Joe and I were dating, that desire ran up against a new reality: I was falling in love."

April 2019: When Joe entered the 2020 presidential race, Jill became an important voice in his campaign.

For the first time since 1981, she took a break from teaching to help him on the campaign trail.

December 2019: In an unusual campaign stop moment, Joe nibbled on his wife's finger as she spoke to a crowd in Iowa.

Jill was gesturing behind herself as she spoke, barely missing Joe's face as he pretended to dodge. Joe then leaned forward while her arm was outstretched and bit down on the tip of her index finger. She appeared to laugh it off.

Jill later tweeted a video of the hosts of "The View" discussing the moment, where Meghan McCain said, "I thought it was silly, and they clearly still love each other and are playful," and replied, "Guilty, we do still love each other!"

March 2020: She fought off protesters who stormed the stage on Super Tuesday, leading Joe to joke, "I'm probably the only candidate running for president whose wife is my Secret Service."

"Whoa, you don't screw around with a Philly girl, I'll tell you what," he said. "I thought I heard on the news on the way over that that the committee in charge of Secret Service decided they have to start providing Secret Service for us. I think that's because they're afraid Jill's going to hurt someone. I tell you what man, I married way above my station."

August 2020: Jill delivered a keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention from the high school classroom in Delaware where she used to teach English.

"Love makes us flexible and resilient," she said in the speech. "It allows us to become more than ourselves, together, and though it can't protect us from the sorrows of life, it gives us refuge, a home. How do you make a broken family whole? The same way you make a nation whole: with love and understanding and with small acts of kindness."

They have been married for 43 years.

Time will tell if they return to the White House as president and first lady.

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