Joe Biden’s run for the presidency has brought his entire life into focus, including his family. More people than ever know about the tragic death of Beau Biden and the increasingly-bizarre controversies swirling around Hunter Biden.
And then there’s his daughter Ashley. Born in 1981, the youngest of the Biden kids often gets overlooked. And that’s unfortunate because she may have the most fascinating story of them all.
What are Ashley’s biggest secrets? Here is the unknown truth of Ashley Biden.
Ashley Biden started simple
It’s easy to think of Ashley Biden as yet another child of a rich and powerful politician. However, she had a simple upbringing, and that included saving money whenever possible.
For example, she revealed to Elle that as a child, she clipped coupons with her mother to save money on groceries. And her parents made sure she had a pretty normal childhood, complete with simple pleasures like the occasional school play.
When she got older, Ashley realized her dad’s power and influence and wanted to avoid being dependent on that. After getting a degree in culture and anthropology from Tulane, she spent time as a waitress figuring out her next step.
“I actually worked as a waitress in a small pizza shop in Wilmington, Del. for I think it was a few months, while I was figuring out where I wanted to go,” she said (per Politico). And the next stage in her life involved social work.
Ashley Biden dreamed of social work
After pondering her options, Ashley became a social worker. However, she has been interested in social work and social justice for most of her life.
For example, she was only in elementary school when she discovered a makeup company was testing their products on animals. She told Glamour, “I organized my school to start writing letters to [the company].”
After that, she focused on saving dolphins who were getting caught in nets in the ocean. “My dad connected me with Congressman Barbara Boxer, who I nicknamed the ‘dolphin lady,’ and she got me onto the floor to help lobby Republican [congressmen] for The Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act.”
Ashley Biden focuses on family
Joe Biden has been a busy politician for most of his life. But he taught Ashley to put family first, and he led by example.
For instance, Ashley told DETV that Joe always bonded with his children each night. “Dad was home every night to read books, say my prayers, and tuck me in bed.”
Joe would also leave a meeting at a moment’s notice if a family member called. And he wasn’t afraid to make a splash to support his children. Ashley told Politico about a time that Joe showed up to see her play in a state championship (Ashley played both lacrosse and field hockey). “One time, I had a big game, and dad actually took a helicopter and landed in the football field to see my game.”
Ashley Biden is good with children
As Ashley got older, she realized that she led a relatively privileged life compared to countless others. So she began working with children in a way to help make the world a better place.
Out of college, she worked in a child’s mental health clinic. And after completing her master’s degree, she became a case manager working in foster care. She told Delaware Today that this work is a moral imperative: “Youth intervention — and any intervention, really — is about breaking a cycle. If a kid goes to the equivalent of prison and doesn’t get services during and after his residency there, what has he gained?”
Ashley Biden finds romance
Beau Biden’s health issues and untimely passing was nothing short of a tragedy. However, it inadvertently led to the happiest moment of Ashley Biden’s life.
When Beau was hospitalized for a stroke, he got to know Dr. Howard Krein. Beau was convinced the doc and his sister would hit it off, and he convinced a reluctant Ashley to go on a date with the medical professional.
One date led to several, and a year later, Dr. Krein proposed. Ashley accepted the proposal, and it helped that her father loved Krein so much. Joe told Politico he admired that the doc asked for his blessing before proposing. “From the moment he met Ashley, he treated her as an equal. He respected her opinion…. It was clear, and he made her laugh. That’s why I love her husband.”
Eventually, Beau was diagnosed with cancer and passed away. He had been a champion for criminal justice reform and caring for children, and his death inspired Ashley to redouble her own commitment to social justice.
Ashley Biden, fashion maven
Ashley wanted to draw attention to matters of social justice. And she did so in the most unexpected way: by creating her own brand of fashion.
The brand is called Livelihood, and it primarily features hoodies. On the Today show, Ashley revealed the hoodie was an important symbol of her cause.
“It was once ubiquitous of the labor movement; currently, it’s important in the social justice movement. It’s universal in the sense that you can see a construction worker on the side of the road who is 60 years old wearing a hoodie, and you see children on the playground wearing hoodies.”
The brand’s logo is an arrow, and the story behind it is heartbreaking. She told The Lily that her brother Beau was also a metaphorical bow, shooting her to greater heights with his passing.
“We have to sometimes be pulled all the way down to shoot forward. He was my bow…. I had no choice but to shoot forward, keep going, keep aiming at my own dreams.”
Ashley Biden and economic equality
How do hoodies help with social justice, exactly? Simple: Ashley donates proceeds to programs that help with education, training, and job placement in Wilmington.
She told Delaware Today that this is all due to her father’s moral influence. “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.”
One thing we can all agree on? Beau Biden would be very proud of his sister and how she carries on his legacy.