HE'S inching closer to stealing the White House from Donald Trump, and Joe Biden has a huge family support network behind him in the fierce presidential race.
The 77-year-old politician's increased lead in the Electoral College means that he could seal a victory in the bitterly contested presidential battle.
And by his side throughout the nail-biting contest has been his loyal wife Jill, 69, and their children, whose fierce support have seen him overcome horrific tragedy- including the death of his first wife and child in a car crash.
Here we look inside the close-knit Biden family…
Tragic first marriage and how second wife Jill has been his rock
Joe met his first wife Neilia in the Bahamas while visiting Nassau on spring break. They married in August, 1966, and moved to Wilmington, Delaware, where Joe was on the New Castle County Council.
She was a school teacher at the time and the pair went on to have three children together, Beau, Hunter and Naomi.
However, tragedy struck around one year after Naomi's birth, in 1972, when Neilia, then 30, took her kids Christmas shopping.
Both Neilia and their daughter Naomi were killed in a horrific car crash, when their vehicle was struck by a truck, while their sons Beau and Hunter were seriously injured, but survived.
A heartbroken Joe was left raising their sons alone, before he went on to find love with his current wife Jill.
In her autobiography Where The Light Enters, Jill described meeting Neilia before they got together, and recalled her "warm, genuine smile".
"It was profoundly unfair," Jill wrote. "To take a mother from her children; to take a daughter from her father. Joe Biden had had everything, and in a horrible second, it was gone."
Prior to marrying Joe, Jill was married to Bill Stevenson, a former college football player.
And she's admitted it wasn't love at first sight with her second husband.
"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 told The New York Times.
She fell for him all the same, but Joe reportedly had to propose several times before she agreed to marry him in 1977 – when she became stepmother to his two surviving sons.
Jill has continued her work as a teacher throughout her husband's political career, including during her time as Second Lady, when she taught English at a Northern Virginia community college.
“Being a teacher is not what I do but who I am,” she wrote in her 2019 memoir.
And it follows a strong independence from a young age, as she told Vogue in 2008: “From an early age, I knew I wanted my own money, my own identity, and my own career."
She spent eight years serving as the Second Lady during the Obama administration, and quickly formed a strong bond with Michelle.
“Jill is not just brilliant, but she is kind. She is very funny, and she is one of the strongest people I know,” Mrs Obama said during their final joint event in office. “And I love and admire her with all my heart.”
Jill made headlines earlier this year when she rushed to protect her husband against vegan protesters, as they stormed a stage while he gave a speech in Los Angeles.
It was just one small sign of her strong support for her other half, and she famously credited Joe with overcoming tragedy in the past in her recent keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.
"How do you make a broken nation whole?” she asked. “The same way you make a broken family whole. With love and understanding. And with small acts of kindness. With bravery and faith.”
She continued: "Joe’s purpose has always driven him forward. His strength of will is unstoppable. And his faith is unshakable."
Devastating loss of second child
Joe and Jill suffered another shocking blow on May 30, 2015, when Joe's eldest son Beau died of brain cancer at the age of 46.
I’ve had many titles over the years, but my forever favorite is “Mom”. Beau and Hunt—the boys who made me their mother. And Ashley—the daughter who completed our family.This marks my 41st Mother’s Day and I hope all the mothers are surrounded by love and laughter today.
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Joe said in a statement at the time: “It is with broken hearts that Hallie, Hunter, Ashley, Jill and I announce the passing of our husband, brother and son, Beau, after he battled brain cancer with the same integrity, courage and strength he demonstrated every day of his life."
He added: “In the words of the Biden family: Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known.”
Beau had served for two terms as the former attorney general of Delaware and as a Major in the Delaware Army National Guard.
In 2014, he announced plans to run for governor of Delaware. He nearly followed his father's footsteps in 2010 when he mulled over a run for the US Senate, but was sidelined by a mild stroke.
He was married to wife Hallie Olivere from 2002 and the couple had two children together.
Surviving son Hunter – and his scandalous personal life
Joe's only surviving son from his first marriage is Hunter Biden.
Hunter graduated from Yale University and currently serves as a lawyer and investment adviser.
However, the 50-year-old has come under scrutiny after a range of controversies have recently come to light.
Notably, the former VP's son has been accused of serving the "strategic interests" of China's government and military while he served as a board member of Beijing-based investment firm BHR Partners.
Hunter also served on the board of Ukrainian gas giant Burisma between 2014 and 2019. President Trump has repeatedly alleged corruption on Hunter's part during his time at the firm, though has offered no evidence of wrongdoing.
Elsewhere, in October, the New York Post claimed to have seen a copy of a laptop hard drive allegedly belonging to Hunter, handed it by Trump's personal attorney Rudi Giuliani.
The hard drive purportedly contained evidence of $21,000 of payments to a "live cam" site, tens of thousands of dollars spent at a strip club, and photos in which Hunter appeared to be intoxicated.
The credibility of the claims has been widely questioned, and a letter signed by dozens of intelligence officials and published by Politico suggested Giuliani may have been the target of a Russian misinformation operation.
Joe has said the reports are part of a "smear campaign" and strongly denied ever using his position as vice president to help his son.
Hunter is married to South African filmmaker Melissa Cohen, 32. The pair wed in May 2019 and their son was born the following year in March 2020.
She is his second wife after his marriage to Kathleen Buhle in 1993, who he shares three children with.
In 2016, after his split from his first wife, Hunter began dating Hallie Biden, the widow of his brother, Beau.
Joe and Jill released a statement supporting them at the time, saying: "We are all lucky that Hunter and Hallie found each other as they were putting their lives together again after such sadness."
Their relationship failed to go the distance, however.
Biden was hit with a paternity suit in May of 2019 by Arkansas woman Lunden Alexis Roberts, 28, who claimed he was the father of their 18-month-old child.
She alleges they met at a strip club that she worked at in Washington DC.
In January 2020, a court ruled Biden was the father, and he agreed to pay child support in the paternity case.
He had denied fathering the child, but the court determined that he was the father of the toddler, identified as Baby Doe.
Hunter has previously struggled with alcohol and drug addiction, and told The New Yorker: "I was in that darkness… I was in that tunnel – it’s a never-ending tunnel. You don’t get rid of it. You figure out how to deal with it.”
Elusive daughter Ashley
Jill and Joe share one daughter together, Ashley, who lives her life largely out of the spotlight.
Ashley started her career as a social worker/career development and education liaison, but later went into social justice advocacy.
She was named executive director of the Delaware Center for Justice in 2014, which focuses on criminal justice reform.
"My dad always taught me that silence is complicity and that I must stand up for anyone who was being treated unfairly. That has stayed with me through adulthood, and is the guiding principle in my professional life," she explained to Delaware Today.
She married Dr. Howard Krein in 2012.
The grandkids supporting him – and they're friends with Obamas
Joe and Jill also have seven grandchildren together.
His late son Beau had two children with his wife Hallie before he died, Natalie, 16, and Robert "Hunter" II, who was born in 2006 and named after his uncle.
Robert recently joined sister Natalie and his cousins in reciting the pledge of allegiance at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
Elsewhere, Joe's son Hunter shares three children with former wife Kathleen – Naomi, 26, Finnegan, 20, and Maisy.
He also has a son with current wife Melissa, who they welcomed earlier this year. The pair are yet to reveal his name.
Joe's eldest grandchild, Naomi, was named after the former VP's daughter who passed away.
The best dates📸by @vpphotog
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Anyone who wants to get to @joebiden, will have to get past us first 👊 ⚡️💪😜
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She recently graduated from Columbia law school. Before then, she was a student at the University of Pennsylvania and graduated in 2016, along with Tiffany Trump.
She has tweeted in the past, “I am proud to be your granddaughter every single day” to the Democratic presidential nominee.
Her brother Finnegan was named after Joe’s mother, Catherine Eugenia "Jean" Finnegan Biden.
According to the Chicago Tribune, their sister Maisy is close to Barack Obama's daughter Sasha, whom she went to school with and played on the same basketball team.
"Her best friend is Sasha Obama," Joe confirmed.
Joe and Jill also have another grandchild, Baby Doe, after a court ruled Hunter was the father of Lunden Alexis Roberts' baby.
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