“I come from a family forged by tragedies,” says 51-year-old Hunter Biden, son of Joe, in his new memoir, Beautiful Things. When he was two, his mother and baby sister were killed in a car crash. He survived, as did his three-year-old brother, Beau. He remembers being in the back seat and seeing the head of his mother twist to the right. Then he woke up in hospital, with Beau beside him, mouthing three words over and over: “I love you. I love you. I love you.” Three weeks later their father was sworn in as a senator in their hospital room.
Beau, “my soulmate and my Pole Star”, died of brain cancer in 2015, aged 46. Hunter then began a “deep descent” into drug and alcohol addiction. He “was a bloodhound on the scent”, spending hours, and thousands of dollars, scoring crack cocaine. He has cooked his own crack in a Los Angeles hotel bungalow and been so desperate for alcohol that he couldn’t walk the block from a liquor store to his apartment without taking a swig.
Addiction broke up his first marriage. In 2019, two hours into a first date with Melissa, who became his second wife, he confessed he was an addict. “Not any more,” she replied. She took his phone, computer, car keys and wallet, and the couple moved to a house high in the Hollywood Hills. “I couldn’t go to the bathroom without her following me.” Slowly she nursed him back to life.
Hunter and Joe
Through it all, my father never gave up on me, Biden tells CBS News. While he was vice president, he “ditched his Secret Service” and came over to my apartment to try to shake me out of my addiction. Though he’s now president, they still speak every night. Joe Biden also talks to Hunter’s daughters every day. Because of his own losses, he “knows what it’s like not to be able to pick up the phone and talk to your son”.