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Son of 2020 presidential candidate contender (and former Vice President) Joe Biden, Hunter Biden is bringing awareness to addiction through the family’s public platform.
At 50 years old, Hunter is no stranger to life in the spotlight. His father Joe married Neilia Hunter in 1966, and the couple had three children, including Hunter’s late brother Beau and late sister Naomi. Joe began his career as a lawyer, before entering politics in the early 1970s. From there, Joe went on to become a Senator for the state of Delaware, a position which he held for decades.
While Joe’s political career gained momentum, his family suffered from unspeakable tragedies. In 1972, just weeks after Joe was elected Senator, his wife and daughter were killed in a car accident. Hunter and his brother Beau survived the crash.
Privately coping with loss is difficult enough; the newly widowed Joe and his sons were forced to grieve in public.
Joe recently spoke out about this dynamic, stating that, “From the time they were born, including my children, they have been in the public eye. It’s not a bad place but not an overwhelmingly comfortable place to be. Everything that happens is public knowledge. You get to celebrate publicly and you have to share your grief publicly. And so they’re not naïve.”
As time passed, Hunter began to struggle behind the scenes. He started at Georgetown University in 1988, where he began to experiment with drugs and alcohol, and particularly with cocaine.
Despite this, Hunter graduated and went on to attend law school at Yale. He quickly got a job working for a banking holding company, where he climbed the corporate ladder for many years and landed in an executive role.
Hunter got married and had children, and the family made their home in Wilmington, Delaware. Though during this time, Hunter’s alcohol abuse worsened, often leading to late nights drinking that stalled his commute.
“When I found myself making the decision to have another drink or get on a train, I knew I had a problem,” he told the New Yorker.
He attempted multiple times to go sober for 30 days, but could not sustain his sobriety afterward. He attended treatment, and eventually found sobriety for a period of seven years, though he continued to struggle.
In 2010, Hunter relapsed and again attended treatment, though the relapse was a sign of further trouble that would unfold. In 2014, while working in the Navy Reserves, Hunter tested positive for cocaine and was discharged.
At the time, his father was serving as Vice President, and had also received news that his other son Beau was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Beau passed away in 2015.
After his brother’s death, Hunter attempted addiction treatment several different times.
Of his addictions, Hunter told the New Yorker, “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.”
Over the next several years, Hunter faced further problems in relation to his dealings with Ukraine, a paternity scandal, and a very public divorce.
Today, Hunter has emerged back in the spotlight, and is taking the opportunity to share his story. He has taken up painting as a form of therapy, saying that it is “literally keeping him sane.”
In a new interview with the Washington Examiner, Hunter admits that he was “addicted to crack for four years.”
Now remarried and expecting another child, Hunter has found a new outlet for creativity and self-expression, allowing him to cope with his addictions—and the public scrutiny he has endured.
As his father gears up for the 2020 election, Hunter will undoubtedly remain in the public eye, though now with a renewed commitment to sobriety and a wealth of support.
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