Joe has one previous marriage.
* Neilia Hunter Biden: Joe and Neilia were college sweethearts. They met in the Bahamas during spring break when Joe was a junior in college. They married on August 27, 1966 in Skaneateles, New York. Joe still drives the 1967 Corvette that his father gave them as a wedding gift. Neilia died on December 18, 1972 in a car crash.
Joe on meeting Neilia: "When she turned toward me, I could see she had a beautiful smile and gorgeous green eyes."
Source: Joe Biden, Promises to Keep, page 28.
Joe about the accident that killed Neilia and Amy: “I got elected when I was 29, and I got elected November the 7th. And on Dec. 18 of that year, my wife and three kids were Christmas shopping for a Christmas tree. A tractor-trailer, a guy who allegedly —- and I never pursued it —- drank his lunch instead of eating his lunch, broadsided my family and killed my wife instantly, and killed my daughter instantly, and hospitalized my two sons, with what were thought to be at the time permanent, fundamental injuries ... They’re both, thank God, healthy and well.”
Source: Elisabeth Bumiller, "Biden Campaigning With Ease After Hardships", NYT.com, 12/14/2007.
A week before Christmas in 1972, Biden was in D.C. when his wife and infant daughter were killed in a car accident in Delaware. His two young sons were also in the car but had survived, though both were seriously injured — one needed a full-body cast, and the other suffered serious head injuries. Biden recalls feeling weirdly numb, distraught and outraged at the same time: "I began to understand how despair led people to just cash it in; how suicide wasn't just an option but a rational option ... I felt God had played a horrible trick on me, and I was angry."
Biden chaired the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary from 1987 until 1995, and during that time he took particular interest in women's rights and gender-based crimes, authoring the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). After three years drumming up support, Biden helped push the bill through Congress in 1994. Biden counts the passage of the VAWA bill as one of his "proudest moments in public life."