In a brief excerpt of Beautiful Things, scheduled for April, Hunter writes: "I come from a family forged by tragedies and bound by a remarkable, unbreakable love" 

By Virginia Chamlee
February 04, 2021 12:06 PM
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Hunter Biden
| Credit: Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images

Weeks after dad Joe Biden's inauguration as president, Hunter Biden — whose career and addiction issues became conservative fodder for campaign-season attacks — announced he will release a memoir about his struggles with and recovery from drugs and alcohol.

Due out April 6, Beautiful Things "details Hunter's descent into substance abuse and his tortuous path to sobriety," according to a news release Thursday morning (first reported by the Associated Press).

The memoir will be published by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. The publisher did not disclose financial terms.

The book appears to have been written with little notice during the presidential campaign in which Republicans tried to make Hunter a central figure and the attack line "Where's Hunter?" a common conservative refrain.

The younger Biden, who has no official involvement in the White House and did not work on the campaign, has talked multiple times in recent years about past business dealings and parts of his personal life, including his addiction and recovery and the shadow of older brother Beau's 2015 death from brain cancer.

According to the AP, the title of Hunter's forthcoming book references "an expression he and his brother would use with each other after Beau's diagnosis, meant to emphasize what was important in life."

In brief excerpt of Beautiful Things released by Gallery Books Thursday, Hunter, 51, writes: "I come from a family forged by tragedies and bound by a remarkable, unbreakable love." 

At times, Hunter has also avoided the spotlight as Donald Trump and Trump's allies tried to turn his low-profile and personal issues into an attack on his character.

Hunter Biden
| Credit: Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images

Hunter's struggles with addiction have been well-publicized: He spoke at length to The New Yorker in 2019. His past work on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma and in China was also a major target for conservatives during the 2020 presidential race, while the Bidens dismissed the criticism as baseless smears.

No wrongdoing has ever been found — though Trump's fixation on the issue led to his impeachment in 2019.

Hunter has acknowledged his work created a bad impression if nothing else.

"Did I make a mistake? Well maybe in the grand scheme of things, yeah," he said in an interview with ABC News. "But did I make a mistake based upon some ethical lapse? Absolutely not." 

"I don't think that there's a lot of things that would have happened in my life if my last name wasn't Biden," he said then.

The same year of Beau's death, Hunter went through a public and messy split from his longtime wife, Kathleen, with whom he shares children Finnegan, 21, Maisy, 20 and Naomi, 26.

In court documents during their divorce, Kathleen claimed that her ex had "created financial concerns for the family by spending extravagantly on his own interests" during their separation.

Those spending habits, she alleged in the documents, included putting money toward "drugs, alcohol, prostitutes, strip clubs, and gifts for women with whom he has sexual relations." (An attorney for Hunter told PEOPLE at the time that he "loves and admires Kathleen as a person, a mother, and a friend. He hopes their privacy can be respected at this time.")

In the midst of the couples' separation, Hunter's personal life again sparked headlines when the family confirmed that he had begun dating Beau's widow, Hallie.

It later came to light that their relationship lasted just months, though their split did not become public for more than a year.

There were other issues, such as a 2019 paternity suit that revealed Hunter had fathered a child with an Arkansas woman, despite his denials. After a DNA test proved he was the father, Hunter settled with the woman, who has avoided publicity.

That same year Hunter married South Africa native Melissa Cohen, a documentary filmmaker, after a days-long, whirlwind romance.

The couple welcomed a baby in March 2020, less than a year after they wed.

In his candid series of interviews with The New Yorker in 2019, Hunter got personal about his problems, calling his addiction a "darkness." He also spoke of his dad's unfailing support.

"I was in that tunnel — it's a never-ending tunnel. You don't get rid of it. You figure out how to deal with it," Hunter told the magazine.

He also opened up about his many attempts to get sober, telling The New Yorker he had entered treatment programs multiple times, first relapsing in November 2010 before going to rehab programs and continuing the cycle for several more years.

Hunter Biden (left) and Joe Biden
| Credit: Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images

In the September 2020 presidential debate, Trump accused Hunter of having been "thrown out of the military ... dishonorably discharged for cocaine use."

Saying "that is simply not true," Biden instead said his son "like a lot of people we know at home ... had a drug problem. [Hunter] worked on it. He fixed it. And I'm proud of him."

Hunter was discharged from the Navy in 2014 after failing a drug test, but it was not dishonorably, as Trump claimed.

Advance praise for Hunter's book from author Stephen King, sent by the publisher, calls the memoir "harrowing and compulsively readable."

"Hunter Biden proves again that anybody — even the son of a United States President — can take a ride on the pink horse down nightmare alley," King writes in the blurb. "Biden remembers it all and tells it all with a bravery that is both heartbreaking and quite gorgeous. He starts with a question: Where's Hunter? The answer is he's in this book, the good, the bad, and the beautiful."

As the AP notes, White House-era books from a president's family aren't unusual: Donald Trump Jr. published two books while his dad was in the Oval Office.

In their own statement regarding Hunter's release, the president and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden said, according to the AP: "We admire our son Hunter's strength and courage to talk openly about his addiction so that others might see themselves in his journey and find hope."