Alcohol and drugs dominated Hunter Biden’s life for many years. Now he speaks openly about the most dramatic time of his life and tells how his father, the US president, behaved at the time.
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Hunter Biden was at the bottom. For weeks, Joe Biden’s son barricaded himself in an apartment in Washington, drinking bottle after bottle of vodka. He only left the apartment to drag himself to the kiosk across the street and back again. Sometimes he couldn’t wait to get the few meters back in his apartment, but took a sip on the way. “I drank like that for twelve to sixteen hours a day,” says Hunter Biden. “At some point I couldn’t even pour anything into my glass anymore.”
He lost almost ten kilos in those weeks over the turn of the year 2015/2016. “I actually only ate what was available in the liquor store.” At some point, his stomach couldn’t even stand the instant noodles that were there, says Hunter Biden. “I drowned myself in alcohol.” His father Joe Biden was US Vice President at the time. With a little security, he came to his son’s apartment, saw his condition and refused to leave until Hunter agreed to seek professional help. It wasn’t the only crash in Hunter Biden’s life, and it was far from the deepest.
Vicious cycle of excessive drug use
In his memoir entitled “Beautiful Things”, which was published in the US on Tuesday, Hunter Biden openly reports on his decades of struggle with alcohol, drugs, the vicious cycle of drug excesses, therapies and always new relapses, the severe blows of fate in his family and the relationship with his father. The German edition will be published on April 13th by Hoffmann und Campe.
Hunter Biden is now clean and his father is the President of the United States. To get such a blunt insight into the life, difficulties and thoughts of the president’s son is unusual for German standards. It is also that Hunter Biden fell into ever deeper abysses while his father rose to the highest political offices in the country.
Private strokes of fate
The life of the Bidens is marked by immense personal grief. Hunter is a son from Joe Biden’s first marriage. Biden’s wife Neilia and daughter Naomi were killed in a car accident in 1972. Hunter and his brother Beau were injured in the accident – Hunter was three years old at the time, Beau four. Joe Biden raised the two alone until he met his current wife, Jill.
Hunter Biden describes in his book how he woke up after the accident in the hospital – his brother Beau in the bed next to him. “He whispers the same three words over and over in my direction:” I love you. I love you. I love you. “, Writes Biden.” With these first conscious moments of my life, Beau became my best friend, my soul mate, the star that guides me. “
Alcoholism started as a teenager
Despite the loss of his mother and sister, Hunter Biden speaks of an almost idyllic childhood – in a team of three with his father and brother, surrounded by a large family clan who showered the brothers with love even more after the accident.
Still, Hunter Biden began “drinking seriously,” as he says, in high school. “It released my inhibitions and insecurities.” Later in life – with family, children, and job, amid work stress and financial pressures – he became a real alcoholic. First one that works, later one that no longer works. He went through several therapies, had several relapses, got tangled up in the fabric of shame, feelings of guilt, and games of hide and seek. The addiction also shattered his first marriage.
When the next disaster happened in 2015, it tore the ground from under Hunter Biden’s feet. His brother Beau died of a brain tumor at the age of 46. “I’ve never felt as lonely as I did after Beau’s death,” writes Hunter Biden. “I lost all hope.” With Beau’s death, the three-man team of father and sons also broke up.
Beau Biden: He died of a brain tumor at the age of 46. (Source: ZUMA Wire / imago images)
“Crack was my new best friend”
The binge drinking continued, Hunter finally drifted into a crack addiction, stumbled through the country looking for material, surrounded himself with shady characters from the drug universe. “Crack was my new best friend.” At times a homeless petty criminal moved in with him as a drug partner. Hunter Biden was in free fall. “The amounts of alcohol and crack I was consuming were amazing.” Later he began to cook crack himself, first trundling from fancy hotel to hotel, then from shabby motel to motel. While Joe Biden was preparing for his presidential application in 2019, Hunter Biden was lost in a crack of fog.
“It doesn’t matter how much money you have, who you are friends with, what family you come from,” he writes. The pain, the shame, the hopelessness of addiction are the same for everyone.
Hunter Biden dedicates a lot of space in the book to his brother Beau – the figure of light in his life who also supported him in the fight against alcohol addiction. At times he was looking for support in a relationship with Beau’s widow. Both would have had the hope of “keeping Beau alive by staying together, loving him somehow back to life through our love”. That was doomed to failure. The relationship got Hunter Biden in the gossip columns.
Biden: “I’m proud of him”
Joe Biden speaks often of his son Beau. Always proud of his exemplary career as attorney general, as an officer in the National Guard. Hunter, on the other hand, is rarely mentioned in his father’s speeches. When Joe Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, attacked Hunter over drug addiction during a campaign debate, Biden defended his son straightforwardly: “My son had a drug problem, but he got over it and I’m proud of him.”
In the presidential election campaign, Hunter’s Ukraine dealings made his father difficult to explain. Hunter held a lucrative position on the board of directors of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma – at a time when Joe Biden was in charge of Ukraine as Vice President. Hunter Biden goes into an entire chapter on Burisma and makes no secret of the fact that his name played a decisive role in the calling and that “the five-figure compensation paid out per month” was attractive. But he was qualified. “I haven’t done anything immoral.” Hunter Biden admits, however, that he would not do it again in retrospect – given the attack surface for his father.
His father never let him down. “He never gave up on me, he never turned me down, he never judged me, no matter how bad it was.” Once after a family reunion that ended in scandal, his father stormed out of the house with him. “He ran after me into the driveway, grabbed me, jerked me around, took me in his arms, held me in the dark and cried for an eternity.”
It wasn’t until about the time Joe Biden announced his presidential bid in the spring of 2019 that Hunter Biden suddenly fell in love with a woman who helped him leave drugs behind. A few days after their first meeting, the two married. They now have a child – and named him Beau.