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Joe Biden proposed 5 times to wife Jill before they married

In a 2016 Vogue article, Jill Biden recalled her first date with Joe Biden, and why she hesitated to marry him.
/ Source: TODAY

Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, have been married for decades. But their romance isn’t one of those “love at first sight” stories.

Joe Biden was introduced to his future wife by his brother in 1975. She was a college student when they went on their first date. From her perspective, Biden was not dressed to impress.

“I was a senior, and I had been dating guys in jeans and clogs and T-shirts, he came to the door and he had a sport coat and loafers, and I thought, ‘God, this is never going to work, not in a million years,’” Jill Biden recalled to Vogue. “He was nine years older than I am!”

Joe and Jill Biden
Joe and Jill Biden in 1987.George Widman / AP

All it took was a date to the movies to change her mind.

“We went out to see ‘A Man and a Woman’ at the movie theater in Philadelphia, and we really hit it off. When we came home ... he shook my hand good night ... I went upstairs and called my mother at 1 a.m. and said, ‘Mom, I finally met a gentleman,’” she said.

Joe Biden, Jill Biden
Joe and Jill Biden at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.Evan Vucci / AP

The “gentleman” clearly thought he’d met someone special, too. He would eventually propose not once, not twice, but five times before she finally said yes.

She’d hesitated because of his sons, Beau and Hunter. The boys had survived a tragic car accident a few years before that claimed the lives of Biden's first wife, Neilia, and their 1-year-old daughter, Naomi. (Beau Biden died of brain cancer in 2015.)

“I said, ‘Not yet. Not yet. Not yet,’” Jill Biden, who had been married once before, said of the proposals. “Because by that time, of course, I had fallen in love with the boys, and I really felt that this marriage had to work. Because they had lost their mom, and I couldn’t have them lose another mother. So I had to be 100 percent sure.”

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Joe Biden was obviously sure he wanted to marry her, but he wasn’t going to pop the question a sixth time. He decided to lay it all on the line. He told Vogue he issued an ultimatum to her: "'Look, this is the last time I’m asking you. I don’t care when we get married. But I want a commitment.’ And she said OK. But it took that!”

The Bidens married in 1977 and have one daughter together, Ashley. It’s a good thing Jill Biden didn’t go with her initial instinct about him.