Everything we know about Hunter Biden’s wife, Melissa Cohen Biden

Cohen and Biden got married within a week of meeting but Hunter writes ‘that decision never felt rash or harebrained or reckless’

Gustaf Kilander
Wilmington, DE
Tuesday 11 June 2024 21:27
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Hunter Biden’s federal gun trial

Melissa Cohen Biden has been at her husband Hunter Biden’s side throughout his federal gun trial, looking on as a Delaware jury found the president’s son guilty of three felony gun charges on Tuesday morning.

The 38-year-old activist and aspiring documentary filmmaker married Hunter Biden — who’s now been convicted of buying a firearm while being addicted to crack cocaine — in 2019, following a previous marriage to Los Angeles businessman Jason Landver that ended in 2014 after two years. They share a 4-year-old boy, Beau Jr., who was named after Hunter’s late older brother.

President Joe Biden talks to his Marine escort as he walks with grandson Beau and first lady Jill Biden as son Hunter Biden (R) walks with his wife Melissa, upon arrival at Fort McNair in Washington, DC, on March 31
President Joe Biden talks to his Marine escort as he walks with grandson Beau and first lady Jill Biden as son Hunter Biden (R) walks with his wife Melissa, upon arrival at Fort McNair in Washington, DC, on March 31 (AFP via Getty Images)

Cohen Biden was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, and briefly lived at a “children’s home” before she was adopted by a Jewish South African couple with three sons, Biden wrote in his memoir Beautiful Things.

She studied interior design in South Africa, then moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA at the age of 22, the Daily Mail noted in 2019. Biden has said she speaks five languages, including Italian and Hebrew, writing in his book that she’s an “aspiring documentary filmmaker.”

Following her divorce, she launched a crowdfunding effort for her documentary film about tribal communities, which was set to be called “Tribal Lands.”

“I am Melissa and I'm going to take you back to the continent where I was born,” she said in a trailer for the film, according to The List.

“As an African-born western woman raised by its native people, Melissa can confidently provide viewers with a unique narrative of adventure and discovery while representing another ethnic and gender demographic,” a statement about the film said.

Hunter Biden, center, President Joe Biden's son, accompanied by his mother, first lady Jill Biden, left, and his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, right, walking out of federal court after hearing the verdict, Tuesday, June 11, 2024, in Wilmington
Hunter Biden, center, President Joe Biden's son, accompanied by his mother, first lady Jill Biden, left, and his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, right, walking out of federal court after hearing the verdict, Tuesday, June 11, 2024, in Wilmington (AP)

Her activism has focused on animal rights and antisemitism, with a friend telling the Mail that “She loves animals and the wild and is fervently anti-poaching, and lately she has become very vocal about antisemitism.”

When they got together in 2019, Biden was struggling with substance abuse, a lifelong issue that ultimately led to his guilty verdict.

It was a chance meeting. After being rejected from a hotel in Los Angeles, to which he’d escaped following a family intervention over his drug use, Biden chatted up a group at the rooftop pool who suggested he meet one of their friends: Cohen. They met up the very next day.

She arrived in “oversized sunglasses pushed atop her honey-blond hair,” Biden writes in Beautiful Things.

He told her she had the same blue eyes as Beau Biden, his late brother. Then he told her he was in love with her before admitting to his substance abuse.

“Not anymore. You’re finished with that,” Cohen said, according to Biden.

She ultimately helped him get sober, according to the memoir, taking his phone, car keys, wallet, and computer, deleting all his contacts apart from close family, and turning to “steel” when drug dealers appeared at the door as she made them leave.

Within a week of meeting Cohen, Biden proposed, according to The New Yorker.

Hunter Biden, son of US President Joe Biden, joined by his wife Melissa Cohen Biden, arrive at the J Caleb Boggs Federal Building in Wilmington, Delaware, on June 11, 2024.
Hunter Biden, son of US President Joe Biden, joined by his wife Melissa Cohen Biden, arrive at the J Caleb Boggs Federal Building in Wilmington, Delaware, on June 11, 2024. (AFP via Getty Images)

By the next morning she had accepted his proposal, and Biden bought the simplest wedding bands he was able to find before calling a marriage service that sent over an officiant.

“I called my dad and said that we just got married. He was on speaker, and he said to her, ‘Thank you for giving my son the courage to love again,’” Biden told the magazine.

Biden writes in his memoir that Melissa dealt with “my whining and crying and scheming” before asking her to marry him.

“The decision never felt rash or harebrained or reckless. It felt urgent. I felt like I’d been given a reprieve,” he wrote.

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