Painting, Hunter told The New York Times, "puts my energy toward something positive" and "keeps me away from people and places where I shouldn't be"

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After months of political scrutiny in the wake of conservative conspiracy theories and the shadow of an ongoing paternity lawsuit, former Vice President Joe Biden‘s son Hunter Biden recently told The New York Times that his painting hobby is “literally keeping me sane.”

Hunter, 50, spoke to the Times in a rare interview that largely focuses on the artwork that’s been keeping his mind off his tumultuous public life.

He was dragged partly into the spotlight by President Donald Trump and partly by a suit from a woman who said he was ignoring their baby together.

Hunter is not quoted in the Times piece commenting on either the suit, filed by Lunden Roberts in Arkansas last year, or the conspiracies spread about him by Trump and Trump allies, which were then at the center of Trump’s impeachment in December.

Painting, Hunter told the Times, “puts my energy toward something positive” and “keeps me away from people and places where I shouldn’t be.”

The article touches on Hunter’s long-fought battle with addiction that he says led him to go into rehab facilities about “seven or eight times.”

“I was addicted to crack for four years,” he said. “I went through a really long period of addiction and I was at a point where I didn’t read, write, think. I don’t do things halfway. That can be a problem.”

Hunter Biden
Hunter Biden in 2016
| Credit: Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images

Hunter was thrust into the center of Trump’s impeachment because of the president’s belief in a right-wing conspiracy theory that the Bidens were involved in a scandal with a Ukrainian energy company. (No evidence has emerged of wrongdoing.)

Hunter said on Good Morning America last year that he had shown “poor judgment” about his past business ties, given his dad’s government work, but he said that he did not “do anything improper.”

The suit he faces from Roberts, in Arkansas, has continued the scrutiny of his personal life, which previously made headlines when he began dating the widow of older brother Beau Biden, who died in 2015.

Roberts said in court papers that she and Hunter had a child together in 2018. He denied it, but a court-ordered paternity test proved otherwise. She also said that Hunter ignored their child, refusing to pay her for child support — and that Hunter is a “stranger” to his baby and that, as of December, he had “provided no support for this child for over a year,” though he denied this, too.

The case was settled earlier this year. Permanent child support will be determined in May.

He got married last year after a days-long relationship with filmmaker Melissa Cohen; the two are now expecting a child.

Speaking with Times, Hunter reflected on his notoriety, driven by conservative critics.

“The one thing I have left is my art,” Hunter told the Times. “It’s the one thing they can’t take away from me or conflate with anything else.”