President Joe Biden revealed that his siblings became his saving grace after the death of his first wife, Neilia Biden, and their infant daughter, Naomi.
“I had an overwhelming advantage in the loss,” Joe, 80, recalled during the Monday, July 31, episode of the “On Purpose With Jay Shetty” iHeartPodcast. “I had a really close family that was there.”
The commander in chief explained that his sister, Valerie Biden, and his brothers, Jim and Frank Biden, jumped into action to help Joe and his sons after Neilia, 30, and Naomi, 13 months, were struck by a tractor-trailer and killed while driving in December 1972. The couple’s two sons, Beau and Hunter Biden, who were 4 and 3 at the time, were also in the car but survived the accident.
“When I got home from the hospital, my sister and [her] husband already gave up their apartment and moved in,” Joe explained. “[They] helped me raise my kids.”
He also remembered one of his brothers coming over and turning their barn loft “into an apartment for himself” to assist him as a single parent.
“They were there for me. That was a gigantic difference,” Joe said. “My best friends in my life are my sister and brother[s]. I had an enormous advantage.”
The former vice president highlighted how important it is to help those in need. “When you see people who are going through something tough, it does matter if you reach out,” Joe added.
Joe’s heartbreak — which includes the death of his son Hunter, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 46 following a battle with brain cancer — has made him a sounding board for many of his constituents over the years.
He noted on the podcast that when he was a senator in Delaware, he would often attend funerals or memorials throughout the state. “People would stop and throw their arms around me [at the church],” Joe recalled. “Because if they know you know the pain, they feel they get some solace in it. It’s not always easy, but it matters just to reach out.”
Elsewhere in the episode, Joe said that he still leans on his siblings for guidance. In the years since the tragic accident, the president expanded his family to include second wife Jill Biden, whom he wed in 1977. Jill, 72, and Joe share daughter Ashley Biden, whom they welcomed in 1981. The politician also has seven grandchildren.
“My best friend is my wife,” Joe gushed on Monday. “A woman who has probably had more to do with my success is my sister, Valerie, and my brother Jim. I think that’s the place I go most [for support].”