All The Details About Jill Biden's First Marriage And Divorce

First Lady, educator, mother, and grandmother — those are some of the roles Jill Biden has been juggling the past couple of years, and she makes it look easy. Perhaps it's because she's had plenty of practice. Biden's been married to President Joe Biden for almost five decades, and being married to a politician means you eventually get roped into all politics entails. Her early life prepared Biden for all these challenges — her adult life had a rocky start, so to speak.

Jill met her first husband, Bill Stevenson, while they were both attending the same university. They first ran into each other in Ocean City, New Jersey, while soaking up some sun on the beach. Six short months after this encounter, Jill was walking down the aisle, thinking she was marrying her soulmate. She was only 18 then, with Stevenson being a few years older, and the future looked bright. Until it didn't.

Five years later, the couple called it quits, and Jill was left with an uncertain future that looked nothing like the one she envisioned. Then she met Joe, and a beautiful love story unfolded — one that continues to this day. Getting to a point in her life where she's happily married (and now the First Lady), wasn't an easy road, but the fact that Jill eventually managed to find the love of her life gives many hope that, just maybe, happy endings do exist; you just have to weather some storms first.

Her ex-husband accused her of cheating on him

While Joe Biden's 2020 presidential campaign was in full swing, Bill Stevenson started speaking to some media outlets, claiming that Jill Biden cheated on him with Joe Biden shortly before their marriage ended. He also told Inside Edition at the time that he'd be voting for Donald Trump, so there's that.

Stevenson told the Daily Mail that Jill first met Joe in 1972 when he was running for senator and that their friendship turned into an affair in 1974. According to Stevenson, there were a few incidents that proved Joe and Jill were having a relationship behind his back. For starters, one of Jill's close friends allegedly confided in him that she was worried about Joe and Jill's relationship; then Jill forfeited meeting Bruce Springsteen with Stevenson in favor of babysitting Joe's kids. What confirmed it for Stevenson, however, was when someone came into his work and told him he saw Joe and Jill driving together. For some reason, Stevenson saw this as final proof that something was going on between the two of them. He told Inside Edition that he confronted Jill about the outing with Joe, but that "she didn't say anything," and instead looked at him silently. "I said, 'You gotta go. You gotta go get your own place,'" Stevenson recalled.

When you ask Jill, she has a different story entirely, and her spokesperson told Inside Edition that Stevenson's claims are fictitious at best.

Jill Biden's divorce got a little messy

One can't help but wonder how things would've turned out if Bill Stevenson didn't confront Jill Biden about the affair he suspected she had with Joe Biden all those years ago. Would they still be married right now? Would Joe have married someone else? Was the affair even real? Those are questions we'll probably never have answers to, but Stevenson told the Daily Mail that he wasn't at all surprised that Jill caught Joe's eye. "Everyone who meets Jill falls in love with her immediately. It's hard not to," Stevenson said.

After Stevenson confronted Jill about the affair and asked her to leave their home, Jill's family allegedly tried to intervene to save the couple's crumbling marriage. "Her father was begging me to take her back when he found out what was going on. He asked me to give her a second chance, but I wasn't interested," Stevenson claimed.

As with most divorces, this one got a little messy. When it came to the settlement, Steven's music venue, The Stone Balloon, was a sticky subject. He wasn't keen to give Jill a share, and this led to some tension and disagreements, which were eventually resolved after the judge ruled in Stevenson's favor. After the divorce, however, Stevenson found himself in hot water with the law, facing several fraud charges, and this time the judge didn't rule in his favor. Whether these shady dealings also had an impact on his and Jill's marriage isn't clear.

Jill Biden felt like a failure after her divorce

No one goes into a marriage expecting it to end, and for Jill Biden, being a divorcee at the age of 24 was devastating. Shortly after President Joe Biden was sworn into office, Jill sat down for an interview with Kelly Clarkson, and she spoke candidly about what life was like after she and her first husband parted ways.

"I didn't know anybody who had been divorced. I felt like it was a failure on my part [and] I lost my self-esteem because I kept thinking, 'What's wrong with me? Why couldn't I make this work?" she told Clarkson (via Daily Mail). She added that getting back to doing life on her own was no easy feat — she had to find herself again, and it took her over a year to get to a point where she felt okay to move on. As fate would have it, Joe Biden stepped into her life during this time. "Just unexpectedly, I met Joe and I had met him once before but it was kind of a blind date when he called me," she told Clarkson.

Joe and Jill's love story is kind of legendary — Joe's brother encouraged him to ask Jill on a date. Jill canceled a date with someone else to meet up with Joe, and the rest is history. Jill told Vogue that Joe was a real gentleman, and even though he was nine years her senior, the two of them connected instantly.

She was in a financial predicament after her divorce

At just 24, Jill Biden was divorced, single, heartbroken, and in financial trouble. It was only when she no longer had the financial support of her ex-husband that Jill realized how much she'd depended on him. She didn't have a job and barely had a dime to her name. She still needed to finish university and no longer had a place to stay. She didn't foresee that she'd ever find herself in such a difficult financial situation and vowed she would never be dependent on anyone ever again. "I knew I would never, ever put myself in that position again — where I didn't feel like I had the finances to be on my own, that I had to get the money through a divorce settlement," she told Harper's Bazaar.

As hard as this period was for her, Jill was determined not to take the easy way out. She had the option to move in with her parents, but she knew she had to make it on her own this time, broken heart and all. "I believed so much in the institution of marriage," she revealed, adding, "When the marriage fell apart, I fell hard because of that." But she managed to pick up the pieces, and in the end, she paid her own rent and graduated from university with flying colors. While it had been challenging, she rediscovered who she was and what she wanted from life during this period.

Jill Biden shared what she learned from her divorce

Jill Biden isn't someone who allows the past to determine her future; she chooses to learn from it and shares her hard-won wisdom with others. In an interview with Harper's Bazaar, the First Lady shared how she's made sure to relay some of what she's learned throughout her life to her children and grandchildren. One lesson she's really worked hard on driving home is that a woman should do her best to be independent, which is something she learned the hard way after she found herself practically penniless after her divorce. "I drummed that into [my daughter], Ashley: Be independent, be independent. And my granddaughters—you have to be able to stand on your own two feet," she told the outlet.

While making an appearance on "The Kelly Clarkson Show," Jill provided Clarkson, who was going through her own divorce at the time, with some sound advice. "My mother always said to me, 'Things are going to look better tomorrow,' and if you can take [it] one day at a time ... things will get better," Jill said. She also assured Clarkson that, even though things might look pretty bleak at the moment, the storm will eventually pass, and she'll come out the other end stronger than ever. "You're gonna be surprised, and I can't wait until that day comes for you, and you're gonna call me up and you're gonna say, 'Hey, Jill, you were right!'" she added (via Today).

Her divorce taught her how to be independent

After her divorce from Bill Stevenson, Jill Biden went on a journey of self-discovery. As hard as life was on her own, she learned that independence is invaluable, telling Harper's Bazaar that this difficult period taught her a lot about herself. "I am a woman who loves to work," she told the outlet. She went on to explain that she realized the value of having her own career and pursuing her own dreams. "I understand a woman's need to have something for herself," she said, adding that she's made sure to always have a paying job, even after she got married to Joe Biden.

In her memoir, "Where the Light Enters," Jill admitted that one of the reasons she was hesitant to get married again was because she was afraid it would mean giving up her career and newfound independence. She finally knew who she was, and she didn't want to lose that, least of all get her heart broken again. "If I gave Joe my whole heart, he had the power to break it. What if he changed his mind? What if it didn't work?" she wrote. In the end, she took the leap and managed to keep her career — even as First Lady.

Jill Biden was afraid to get married again

After a devastating divorce, Jill Biden was in no hurry to get married again. She'd been so sure that Bill Stevenson was her forever person, and their marriage only lasted five years. In her memoir, "Where the Light Enters," the First Lady recounts her whirlwind romance with Stevenson — they barely knew each other a year when they tied the knot, and in retrospect, Jill sees things a little differently. "Looking back, it may seem like that relationship was a mistake of youth," she wrote, adding, "But there was a time when I truly believed we were destined for each other."

Naturally, Jill was hesitant to jump into another relationship. When she and Joe Biden went on a blind date, the latter instantly fell in love. "When I went out with her the first time, I knew [that] this was the woman," Joe revealed on "The Drew Barrymore Show." Jill, however, was extremely cautious, and Joe had to ask her to marry him five times during the course of their relationship before she finally said yes. Jill later told Vogue that she wanted to be sure this marriage would last, especially because Joe's kids were involved and had already lost their mother in a car accident. "I couldn't have them lose another mother," she told the outlet. Luckily, Joe was a very patient guy, and Jill finally said yes after he made it clear that the fifth proposal would be his last.

Bill Stevenson has reportedly written a tell-all book about their relationship

While President Joe Biden and Jill Biden were hard at work campaigning for the 2020 election, Jill's ex-husband, Bill Stevenson, made some headlines, claiming he'd recently finished up a memoir, which he told media outlets he intended to publish. Stevenson hinted that the book would shed more light on the alleged affair Jill had with Joe behind his back. Per The Sun, he said that the book would "blow the lid off the sham story."

Many saw this as a poorly-disguised attempt from the Republican Party to deal a blow to the Biden campaign's image, but Stevenson was adamant that he wasn't trying to tank the campaign, assuring outlets that there was no lingering tension between him and the Biden couple. He did, however, admit that with all the attention focused on Jill and Joe, he felt it was an opportune time to speak up. "Everybody's saying, 'Bill, you're being so mean bringing this up now.' But if I don't do it now it's never going to be able to be brought up," he told Inside Edition. "It's years ago, but guess what, it's so current right now, because he's picking on people about character," he added. To The Sun, Stevenson said, "It's not a bitter book [...] but it does have facts in it that aren't pleasant to Jill and Joe." Despite all the hoopla, Stevenson's book is yet to see the light.

She believes her divorce from Bill Stevenson was for the best

While going through a divorce is probably one of the hardest things Jill Biden ever had to do, she now looks back on it and realizes that it played a big part in shaping her life. While she's been very open about the struggles she faced after being divorced so young, the First Lady has gotten pretty good at finding the silver lining in bleak situations.

While appearing on "The Kelly Clarkson Show," Jill admitted that her divorce from Bill Stevenson, no matter how hard it was, ended up being for the best. It's clear that she loves the life she and Joe built, and the lessons she learned have propelled her forward. "You know, I look back on it now and I think, you know if I hadn't gotten divorced, I never would've met Joe," she told Clarkson (via Today), adding, "I wouldn't have the beautiful family I have now." She wouldn't be America's First Lady either, we should add.