The life of Dr. Jill Biden, an educator who worked full-time during Joe Biden's career and plans to keep her job after moving into the White House

ReutersJill Biden listens to a speech being given by her husband, former Vice President Joe Biden, in Denison, Iowa in November 2019.
  • Joe Biden has been projected to win the 2020 presidential election, defeating President Trump.
  • His wife, Dr. Jill Biden, has emerged as one of his most forceful surrogates.
  • She has campaigned tirelessly alongside him throughout his 2020 election and has been his anchor throughout his decades-long political career.
  • She is a committed educator, who has continued teaching English throughout Joe Biden’s tenure as Vice President and plans to keep her job after moving into the White House.
  • Scroll down to learn more about First Lady-elect, Jill Biden.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Dr. Jill Biden became the First Lady-elect after her husband, Joe, became the projected winner of the 2020 presidential election on Saturday.

She has not only campaigned tirelessly alongside him throughout the victorious race but has also supported Joe throughout his decades-long political career.

Though Jill is a passionate supporter of her husband, she is also fiercely independent.

She worked as an English teacher throughout Joe’s tenure as Vice President from 2009 to 2017, becoming the first known Second Lady to work full time while serving alongside her husband.

The Bidens, married for 43 years, have endured a series of highs and lows — from his vice presidency to the 2015 death of her stepson Beau Biden from brain cancer.

Here is a look inside the life of First Lady-elect, Jill Biden.


Jill Tracy Jacobs was born in Hammonton, New Jersey, on June 3, 1951. Her father was a bank teller while her mother stayed home full time to care for the family’s five daughters.

Getty ImagesJill Biden in Chicago, Illinois, in November 1987.

Source: Vogue


While growing up, Jill moved around a lot, eventually settling in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. She spent most of her childhood there and adopted a slight Philly accent as well as a lifelong love for local sports teams.

Google Maps

Source: Washington Post


When she was 15, she started her first job as a waitress. “From an early age, I knew I wanted my own money, my own identity, my own career,” she told Vogue in 2008.

ReutersJill Biden speaks during a stop on Joe Biden’s ‘No Malarkey!’ campaign bus tour in Mason City, Iowa, on December 3, 2019.

Source: Vogue


Four years later, in 1971, Jill married Bill Stevenson, a former college football player whom she met the summer before graduating high school.

Steve Liss/The LIFE Images Collection/ Getty ImagesJill Biden watching as Joe Biden announces his bid for 1988 Democratic presidential nomination at the Wilmington train station in June 1987.

Source: Vogue


That year she also started college at the University of Delaware, majoring in English.

Jim Young/ReutersJill Biden arrives for the start of the final round of the National Spelling Bee in Washington in May 2009.

In 1972, she and Stevenson opened the Stone Balloon Tavern and Concert Hall by the University of Delaware. It would go on to become one of the country’s most successful college bars.

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Playboy magazine once listed the bar and concert hall as “one of the 100 Top College Bars in America,” according to its website

The bar hosted iconic American artists, including Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

Source: Vogue


This wasn’t the only job Jill did in her college years. She also modelled for a local agency, but she insists she “wasn’t a model.”

Christina Jamison/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty ImagesJill Biden speaks during Joe Biden’s rally in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, in November 2008.

“I might’ve done five jobs where you get paid, like, 20 bucks,” she told Vogue in 2008. “But I wasn’t a model.”


By 1975, she and Stevenson had drifted apart and filed for divorce that year. She was in her junior year at the time, and decided to take the year off: “Things were a little too rough, too emotional. But I knew I would finish,” she said.

Monica Quesada/ReutersBiden visiting a school in Pavas near San Jose, March 30, 2009.

She would go on to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Delaware in 1975, according to the university.

Source: Vogue


Later that year, she was set up on a blind date with Joe Biden by Joe’s brother, Frank. When Joe showed up at her front door, 24-year-old Jill recalled thinking: “Thank God it’s only one date.”

ReutersFormer Vice President Joe Biden hugs his wife Jill, with his granddaughter Finnegan looking on in the background, at the Nevada Caucus on February 21, 2020.

“The guys I had dated had bell bottoms and clogs. When Joe showed up at my door, I took one look at his perfect suit and his leather loafers and I thought: ‘Thank God it’s only one date,'” she was quoted as saying in The New York Times.

But when the date was over, she had changed her mind drastically, telling her mother: “Mum, I finally met a gentleman,” Vogue reported.


At the time, Joe Biden was a 33-year-old Delaware senator, widowed after a horrific car accident three years prior killed his wife Neilia and one-year-old daughter, Naomi.

Bettmann/Getty ImagesThen Senator-elect Joe Biden, Neilia, and their sons Hunter and Beau cut his 30th birthday cake in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 20, 1972.

A few weeks after the 1972 December election, Neilia’s station wagon was hit by a tractor-trailer as she pulled out from an intersection.

Joe and Neilia’s sons Hunter and Beau, who were sitting in the backseat with their sister Naomi, survived the accident with minor injuries. Naomi didn’t.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle


Despite the fact that Joe Biden was nine years older and had two children, he and Jill had an instant connection and fell in love quickly.

Getty ImagesJoe and Jill Biden after he announced his bid for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination in June 1987.

Still, it took five marriage proposals for Jill Biden to say yes.

Getty ImagesThe Biden family standing at the back of a train, campaigning for Joe to be the Democratic presidential nominee, in June 1987.

Source: Vogue


“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 mum, and I couldn’t have them lose another mother,” Jill told Vogue of the time.

ReutersJoe and Jill Biden arrive at the Human Rights Campaign dinner in Washington, DC, on September 15, 2018.

Source: Vogue


Eventually, she said yes, and they married in an intimate ceremony in New York on June 17, 1977. The couple took the Biden sons on their honeymoon.

Getty ImagesJoe and Jill Biden dance at the Convention Centre in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2009 — the day of then-President Barack Obama’s inauguration.

The entire family was “all marrying each other,” Vogue reported, paraphrasing Joe and Jill.


Despite her husband’s very public life, Jill was always wary of the spotlight, didn’t like politics, and wanted to make sure that she could still focus on her own ambitions.

Joe Biden announcing his withdrawal from the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination on September 23, 1987, with Jill standing behind him.

Source: Politico


As Joe built his political career, Jill completed a master’s degree in education and worked as a teacher — all while pregnant.

Getty ImagesJill Biden at Miami Dade College in Florida in May 2019.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden was going to work and commuting from Washington, DC, to Wilmington, Delaware on Amtrak nightly, according to the New York Times.

In 1987, Jill Biden earned a second Master of Arts degree in English from Villanova University, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.


The couple gave birth to Ashley Blazer Biden on June 8, 1981, and Jill decided to stop working for two years to look after Ashley, Beau, and Hunter.

Tim Chong/ReutersJoe and Jill Biden with their daughter Ashley and son-in-law Dr. Howard Krein walking through the Singapore Botanic Gardens on July 26, 2013.

Despite her husband’s 1988 bid for the presidency — which he eventually dropped out of — Jill still wasn’t very involved in politics.

Keith Meyers/APThe Biden family at Joe Biden’s announcement of his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1987.

Source: Vogue


But this changed in 2004 when President George W. Bush was reelected. Then Jill urged Joe to run for president again because she was “so against” the 2003 Iraq war.

Alex Wong/Getty ImagesFormer president George W. Bush speaks at his first news conference at the White House after his re-election in November 2004.

“I literally wore black for a week. I just could not believe that he won, because I felt that things were already so bad. I was so against the Iraq War. And I said to Joe: ‘You’ve got to change this, you have to change this,'” she was quoted as saying in The Washington Post.


Meanwhile, at the age of 55, she earned a doctorate in education under her maiden name — Jill Jacobs — at the University of Delaware in 2007.

Getty ImagesJill Biden visiting Fort Belvoir Elementary School in Virginia in June 2009.

Source: Los Angeles Times


While Jill rarely campaigned for her husband in previous years, she took on a more public role in his 2008 race, holding a series of events with Michelle Obama.

Getty ImagesMichelle Obama and Jill Biden at Barack Obama’s victory speech at his election party in Chicago, Illinois, on November 4, 2008.

Source: Politico


But she still continued to teach, only joining her husband on the campaign trail on the weekends.

Jim Young/ReutersBarack Obama, Michelle Obama, Jill Biden, and Joe Biden at a campaign event at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, in August 2008.

“My wife, Jill, who you’ll meet soon, who’s drop-dead gorgeous,” Joe Biden told a crowd in Springfield, Illinois, on the day he was announced as Barack Obama’s running mate, according to Politico.

“My wife, Jill, she also has a doctorate degree, which is a problem,” he added jokingly.


She even continued to teach English at Northern Virginia Community College during Joe’s two terms as vice president, becoming the first known Second Lady to work while in the role.

AP Photo/Morry GashBarack and Michelle Obama, and Jill and Joe Biden wave after Obama’s presidential acceptance speech in Chicago n November 2008.

Source: The New York Times


While working as a teacher, she deliberately distanced herself from her famous husband. Some of her students didn’t even know she was Joe Biden’s wife, calling her only by her preferred name, “Dr. B.”

Getty ImagesJill Biden hugging a campaign worker in Springfield, Missouri, in October 2008.

While she had pictures of her children and grandchildren at work, she never put one up of her husband.

According to Politico, she also tried to get her accompanying secret service agents to dress so they wouldn’t be noticeable.

“My standard line when students ask me if I am married to the VP is to say that I am one of his relatives. That usually quiets them,” she once told The New York Times.

Source: USA Today


Meanwhile, she still attended to her duties as Second Lady, including supporting military families, attending the Invictus Games in London, and raising awareness on the value of community colleges.

ReutersFormer Vice President Joe Biden, Jill Biden, President Barack Obama, and Prince Harry watching a a wheelchair basketball event at the Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada, in September 2017.

Source: Agence France-Presse


But during Joe’s vice presidency the Bidens were faced with another tragedy: Beau, Jill’s stepson, and Joe’s son, died of brain cancer in May 2015.

Jason Reed/ReutersBeau Biden at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, in September 2012.

The loss was devastating for Jill, who said later: “My life changed in an instant. All during his illness, I truly believed he was going to live, up until the moment that he closed his eyes, and I just never gave up hope.”

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/ReutersJill and Joe Biden leaving the funeral for Beau Biden at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Wilmington, Delaware, in June 2015.

Source: USA Today


Beau’s death led Joe to announce that he wasn’t going to run for the 2016 presidential election. Jill stood by his side when he made that announcement at the White House in October 2015.

Bryan Woolston/ReutersFrom left to right: Beau Biden’s brother Hunter, son Robert, widow Hallie, father Joe, daughter Natalie, and stepmother Jill Biden at his funeral mass at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Wilmington, Delaware, in June 2015.

But when he decided to run in 2020, it was much to do with Jill. According to The New York Times, she was “enthusiastically” in favour of his decision.

ReutersJoe and Jill Biden arrive at a campaign event in Manchester, New Hampshire, on February 10, 2020.

Source: The New York Times


During the election race, Jill tirelessly campaigned for her husband, even pulling out of her teaching responsibilities temporarily to do so.

Jim Urquhart/ReutersJill and Joe Biden at his South Carolina primary night rally in Columbia, South Carolina, on February 29, 2020.

Source: The New York Times


She took on a public role as a vocal surrogate for her husband, as well as acted privately as a trusted confidante for him.

Patrick T. Fallon/ReutersJoe and Jill Biden arrive to speak to supporters at his party after the Nevada Caucus in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. February 22, 2020.

Source: The New York Times


“She’s like the adviser in chief. Kind of like the relationship [Joe Biden] had with Obama, he’d be the last person in the room — that’s Jill”, a long-time friend and former senator, Ted Kaufman said of her.

Yuri Gripas/ReutersJill Biden addressing the Human Rights Campaign dinner in Washington, DC, in September 2018.

Source: The New York Times


Her appearance on the campaign trail has also led to some bizarre moments.

Reuters/Brian SnyderJoe Biden laughs while being introduced by Jill Biden in Council Bluffs, Iowa, in November 2019.

Source: The New York Times


At a campaign event in Iowa last November, Joe went off script and nibbled on his wife’s finger while she was speaking at an event. She seemed to laugh it off.

Getty Images/Joshua LottDemocratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden bites the finger of his wife Jill Biden as she introduces him during a campaign event on November 30, 2019 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Source: Business Insider


She also jumped up to protect her husband from a protester who stormed the stage at his Super Tuesday victory speech in Los Angeles in March. The moment quickly became a meme, and she was hailed “a hero” online.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/APJill Biden leaping up to protect her husband during his speech in Los Angeles, California, on March 3.

Source: Business Insider


Throughout the race, the Bidens demonstrated a united front, and Joe looked to his wife to keep him going. “The happiest times I’ve seen him have been when Jill is doing something,” Sen. Kaufmann said.

Brendan McDermid/ReutersJoe and Jill Biden hug after a primary night speech at the National Constitution Centre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on March 10, 2020.

Source: The New York Times


Jill became First Lady-elect on November 7 after Joe won the 2020 presidential race, beating President Donald Trump. She was by his side when he gave his victory speech in their home state Delaware.

Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty ImagesPresident-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, wave to supporters after addressing the nation from the Chase Centre November 07, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware.

Jill plans on keeping her day job after she moves into the White House but has also said she will put education and advocating for military families and cancer awareness on her agenda.

Win McNamee/Getty ImagesPresident-elect Joe Biden and family watch fireworks from stage after Biden’s address to the nation from the Chase Centre November 07, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware.

These are all causes she pursued as the second lady as well.

Source: USA Today

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