Inside Hunter Biden's First Marriage And Why It Ended

Recently, Hunter Biden has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Rumors have been swirling that Biden has been involved in some shady foreign business dealings, which have made him very rich. Being the sitting president of the United States' son places you under a microscope, and whatever Biden has been involved in has come back to haunt him and his family at the worst possible time. The 2024 elections are looming, and while Biden is in the hot seat right now, he also made the news a few years ago for something other than those alleged business dealings.

Those in the know are aware that Biden used to be an addict. He also used to be married to Kathleen Buhle. His first marriage ended in shambles largely thanks to his addiction. Biden and Buhle were married for 24 years before filing for divorce, and naturally, there was some media interest given President Joe Biden's prominent role in American politics. Biden and Buhle met in 1992 and tied the knot in 1993. By 2017, they were getting divorced after being separated for two years. The couple had three daughters, and in the beginning, they were madly in love. "He treated me in a way I hadn't been treated before," Buhle told CBS News. Now, Biden is married to Melissa Cohen, a South African filmmaker, and Buhle is taking back her life. Read on for a look at Biden's marriage, and where it all went wrong.

Kathleen Buhle didn't always feel like a true Biden during her marriage

While Kathleen Buhle never felt rejected by the Bidens, she didn't feel entirely accepted either. In her memoir "If We Break: A Memoir of Marriage, Addiction, and Healing," Buhle recalled meeting Joe Biden for the first time, saying that he made her feel incredibly welcome and accepted and took to calling her his daughter. "Honey, my boy tells me he loves you, so that means I love you too. Understand? I love you," Buhle recalled Biden telling her. The first time she felt a bit out of place, however, was when she was spending the day with the Biden family after she and Hunter Biden got married. Her husband's aunt, who was taking pictures, called for a snap that featured "Biden blood only." While this phrase would continue to haunt Buhle throughout her marriage, she really started to feel like she wasn't truly a part of the family when Joe Biden became vice president during former President Barack Obama's tenure.

As is the custom, the immediate family of the president and vice president all got a Secret Service detail assigned to them; this included Hunter Biden and his family, but Buhle was not assigned a protective detail, even though her children were. "I felt embarrassed," Buhle writes in her book. "Did this mean I was less important than my husband and my kids? What I heard in his words: I was not truly a Biden," she added.

Kathleen Buhle never managed her own finances while she was married to Hunter Biden

Thanks to the media circus surrounding Hunter Biden's financial dealings, Kathleen Buhle has been questioned about her husband's finances. What shocked many was that she claimed to never have been involved with any of her and Biden's financial dealings. In fact, she said that Biden handled all their finances and she never had any idea what was going on. At the time, she thought that ignorance was bliss, and that's how it remained throughout their marriage.

Many would likely point out that knowing nothing about your partner's (or your own) finances while married isn't usually a good thing, and research backs this up. A 2022 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that couples who combine their finances usually have a healthier relationship and have a lower breakup rate than those who keep their finances separate, or in the Bidens' case, leave it up to one person entirely. "It's embarrassing to say that I ceded all financial control to my husband and kept my head buried in the sand," Buhle told Good Morning America during an interview. "I liked the nice things. And I didn't want to think about the cost at which they were coming," she added. Aside from making her aware that they were in a bit of a pinch with the IRS, Buhle says she never had any knowledge of her husband's financial dealings.

Hunter Biden had a drug and alcohol addiction

Hunter Biden used to be an addict, and naturally, this had an adverse impact on his marriage. Kathleen Buhle knew her husband was in too deep. During an interview with CBS News, she opened up about Biden's struggle with addiction, revealing that his alcohol addiction reached a dreadful peak in 2003, prompting his first stint in rehab. Biden speaks about his addiction in his memoir, "Beautiful Things," and admits that he used to be so desperate for a drink that he'd crack open a bottle moments after leaving the liquor store, unable to make the short walk home without having a drink.

Alcohol was not the only thing Biden was addicted to, however. He also smoked crack. Buhle first discovered this new addiction after Biden's brother, Beau Biden, died of brain cancer in 2015. His brother's death sent Biden over the edge once more, and his addiction escalated. "At that point, he was gone, when I found the crack pipe. Beau had just died. His addiction was as bad as it was," Buhle said, adding, "It was escalating. ... He was just in an awful place." In his memoir, Biden admitted that he smoked crack in 15-minute increments. His dealer eventually moved in with him, and Biden learned to make his own crack. A family intervention is what landed him back in rehab, but the damage to his marriage was already done.

Kathleen Buhle and Hunter Biden kept his addiction under wraps

Few addicts like to admit they're addicts, let alone to the whole world. It was no different for Hunter Biden. In his memoir, "Beautiful Things," Biden said that addiction doesn't discriminate — it doesn't care who you are or who your family is — it's one of those things in life that can affect anybody. Just like many other addicts, Biden often refused to admit that he had a problem, and his private life was shrouded in secrecy while he and his wife, Kathleen Buhle, maintained a happier public front. Buhle told MSNBC that Biden would often gaslight her whenever she tried to get through to him about his addiction. "[T]he gaslighting in my experience was a defense in order [for Hunter] to continue using," she said.

Buhle often felt helpless in the face of her husband's addiction, and she felt something else that was far worse: shame. She now sees that there was no reason to be ashamed — in fact, shame only made things worse. "You know, we all worried about my ex-husband's addiction, but we weren't talking about it ... so we were all sort of in our own private world of fear," she admitted. Buhle added that opening up about Biden's addiction is what finally set her free, and she encourages women in similar situations to speak up instead of allowing shame to rule their lives.

Kathleen Buhle started to feel like she was the reason Hunter Biden was drinking

In her memoir "If We Break," Kathleen Buhle revealed that she and Hunter Biden experienced seven blissful years after his first stint in rehab. Things were looking up — the couple rebuilt their marriage, and Buhle felt that their relationship was "stronger than ever." But then Biden landed himself back in rehab in 2012. Buhle suspected that he was drinking again, but Biden refused to admit it to her, and this put their relationship through the wringer once again. Buhle was unsure how to handle the situation. The more she tried to confront Biden about his relapse, the more he withdrew from her, denying her allegations. "He made me think that I must be crazy, when what I wanted from him was honesty. But I didn't know how to ask for it," Buhle wrote in her book.

Buhle noticed the telltale signs of Biden's second relapse by the time 2013 came around. She lost her trust in him, and he lost his trust in her because he felt she was policing him all the time. With Biden's repeated relapses, Buhle started blaming herself, thinking that perhaps she was the reason he couldn't stay sober. "Sometimes I even believed that it was my own skepticism about him that was the problem," she wrote.

Kathleen Buhle discovered Hunter Biden had been unfaithful but couldn't bring herself to leave him

Hunter Biden's addiction wasn't the only challenge his marriage faced. Kathleen Buhle later discovered that not only was her husband being opaque about his addiction, but he'd also been unfaithful to her on several occasions. Shortly after Biden's brother, Beau Biden, died of brain cancer, Buhle discovered that Biden had been involved with various women during his travels. Speaking to Anthony Mason for CBS News, she spoke candidly about her husband's extramarital affairs. "You said you learned that there wasn't one Hunter or two Hunters, but there were many," Mason prompted Buhle during the interview, to which she replied, "Right. Well, don't smoke crack."

It all started when Biden left his iPad lying around. In her memoir "If We Break," Buhle recounted that the iPad contained some racy photos Biden took of a woman in a hotel room. Buhle confronted him and he fessed up. She learned that, by that time, Biden had slept with five different women. "All prostitutes. All outside the country," Buhle wrote. Biden said that he'd only done it while drunk, which didn't make things any better.

Buhle considered leaving Biden but decided to stick it out once again after her therapist cautioned that losing his wife so soon after his brother would send Biden over the edge. Beau Biden's widow, Hallie Biden, also advised against it. So Buhle stayed, but this didn't last for long.

Hunter Biden had an affair with his late brother Beau Biden's widow

Shortly after Kathleen Buhle decided to stay with Hunter Biden, she stumbled upon an even worse truth. She knew Biden was spending a lot of time with his late brother's wife, Hallie Biden, but that wasn't exactly odd. She'd just lost her husband, and Biden had just lost his brother. As it turned out, Biden's frequent visits to Hallie weren't as innocent as Buhle believed, and it was her daughter, Finnegan Biden, who eventually discovered what was really going on.

In her memoir "If We Break," Buhle wrote that her daughter saw some text exchanges between Biden and Hallie and eventually told her mother, who upon going through her husband's phone herself, found evidence of other affairs. That was it for Buhle — she was done, and she filed for divorce in 2016.

His marriage in shambles, Biden got ready to start a new life with Hallie, but the media got wind of their relationship, and so did Biden's family. He told The New Yorker that he asked his father, Joe Biden, to endorse the relationship publicly; he knew it would cushion the media blowback. His father, unsure at first, eventually agreed. Biden even spoke to Page Six about his relationship with Hallie, saying, "Hallie and I are incredibly lucky to have found the love and support we have for each other in such a difficult time, and that's been obvious to the people who love us most."

Hunter Biden had another affair with a stripper

While Hunter Biden was seeing Hallie Biden, he reportedly also regularly hung out at a strip club in Washington, D.C. A few years later, Kathleen Buhle saw her husband's name popping up in headlines again — this time because he was facing a paternity lawsuit. Even though they were already divorced, that may not have made those headlines sting any less.

The woman who filed the lawsuit, Lunden Alexis Roberts, worked as a stripper at the club Biden reportedly visited on numerous occasions. Sources told Page Six that they could confirm Biden was at the club, with one saying "he was well known" around there. Another confirmed that Roberts got pregnant while working there. Biden, however, claimed he never had sex with Roberts. In his memoir, "Beautiful Things," Biden admitted that he can't even remember ever meeting Roberts before she sued him for paternity. That is why he agreed to a paternity test — he truly believed he hadn't fathered a child with her. However, the paternity test showed that he was indeed the father of Roberts' child, and Biden subsequently started paying child support.

Buhle hasn't really spoken out about the situation, and one can't exactly blame her. In her memoir "If We Break," Buhle admitted to steadily growing accustomed to Biden's behavior and shenanigans, so finding out that her husband slept with a stripper while dating her sister-in-law probably shocked her less than it would most.

Kathleen Buhle realized that she and Hunter Biden were too dependent on each other

When you ask Kathleen Buhle why she and Hunter Biden's marriage ended in divorce, she'll tell you that it was, in part, because they were too dependent on each other. In her memoir "If We Break," Buhle speaks candidly about the breakdown of her marriage, saying that she and her husband had the wrong love language and that she realized too late that her whole identity was tied up in him. "From the beginning, needing each other became part of the language of our love, and soon my sense of value and self-worth came almost entirely from that need," she wrote. 

Because Buhle's happiness was entirely tied to her husband, she never wanted to admit to herself or others what an impact his addiction had on their family. "I became adept at hiding the truth, at lying. To the girls. To the outside world. To my friends and my family and to myself," she admitted in the book, adding, "In the end, it shouldn't be surprising that [Hunter] never realized his addiction's impact on our family, because I never really told him."

Kathleen Buhle and Hunter Biden both wrote memoirs in an attempt to heal from their broken marriage

In 2021, Hunter Biden published a memoir titled "Beautiful Things," which details his journey with addiction. He doesn't hold back and speaks candidly about how bad his addiction really was and all the consequences that followed his poor decisions. He even told CBS News that he once spent 13 consecutive days smoking crack, drinking, and barely sleeping. He also revealed that he took his memoir's title from the last words his brother, Beau Biden, spoke to him before he died. Of course, his brother's death sent him into another addiction spiral that would last several years. Now, Biden is sober and rebuilding his life, and writing the memoir was part of the healing process for him. His ex-wife, Kathleen Buhle, wrote her memoir "If We Break" for the same reasons.

Speaking to People, Buhle was open about how hard her divorce was. "When my marriage ended, I felt like I'd lost my sense of who I was," she told the outlet, adding, "But what I also realized through those crushing experiences is that I needed to find a way to stand on my own." Buhle hopes that by speaking openly about her journey, she'll help other women who find themselves in similar situations. "Writing this book has been incredibly healing for me," she said. And now that it's out in the world, it'll hopefully do the same for others.