A look at who's who in the soon-to-be first and second families

By Virginia Chamlee
November 18, 2020 02:45 PM
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On Nov. 7, many in America got their first look at what will soon be a familiar sight: the families of Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris on stage together, after the president-elect and vice president-elect gave their victory speeches in the hotly-contested 2020 election.

Below, a look at who's who in the soon-to-be first and second families, from future First Lady Jill Biden and first-ever "Second Gentleman" Doug Emhoff to Harris' young grandnieces.

Joe Biden's Family

Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Jill Biden

Dr. Jill Biden (née Jacobs) first met the former vice president, now 78, when she was still in college. She reportedly turned down proposals five times before agreeing to marry the then-Delaware senator, who had two young sons (Beau, the elder, and Hunter) from his previous marriage, which ended in tragedy after a 1972 car wreck killed Biden's first wife, Neilia, and their 13-month-old daughter, Naomi. 

The Bidens married in June 1977 and welcomed daughter Ashley in 1981. A longtime educator, Dr. Biden works at Northern Virginia Community College, where she teaches English. She has said she will continue to teach when she becomes first lady, as she did when she was second lady under President Barack Obama.

From left: Hunter Biden, his new baby, Joe Biden
| Credit: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Hunter Biden

Biden's elder son Beau, a former National Guardsman and state attorney general, died from brain cancer in 2015. Beau was his dad's "soul" and younger son Hunter is his "heart," Biden has said.

But Hunter became a prime target for conservatives in the presidential election, as President Donald Trump argued his past business dealings overseas proved Hunter was corrupt while Trump's allies attacked some of his personal problems, including a history of drug addiction about which he has spoken openly.

(There had been other headline-making troubles, including a contested divorce from his first wife, Kathleen, after which he began dating his older brother's widow with his family's support; and, last year, a paternity lawsuit by a woman in Arkansas who said Hunter was ignoring their baby.)

The president-elect has defended Hunter, 50, over both his addiction issues and previous business dealings, which government officials acknowledged created the perception of a conflict of interest though there has never been evidence of wrongdoing.

"My son, like a lot of people, like a lot of people you know at home, had a drug problem. He’s overtaken it. He’s fixed it. He’s worked on it. And I’m proud of him,” Biden said at the first presidential debate against Trump, in September, after Trump derided Hunter's struggles with drug use.

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.”

“Did I make a mistake? Well, maybe in the grand scheme of things, yeah,” he said then. “But did I make a mistake based upon some ethical lapse? Absolutely not.”

Speaking with The New Yorker, he also talked about his drug issues.

“Look, everybody faces pain,” he told the magazine last year. “Everybody has trauma. There’s addiction in every family. I was in that darkness. 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 shares three daughters with ex-wife Kathleen as well as a child born in 2018 with the Arkansas woman and a baby boy, born in March, with wife Melissa Cohen, a South African filmmaker.

The Nov. 7 victory speeches marked the first public appearance of Hunter's young son, who could be seen in the president-elect's arms on stage.

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Ashley Biden

Ashley, the president-elect's younger daughter (after daughter Naomi's death in the '72 car crash) and the youngest of his children, has appeared with her dad on the campaign trail a number of times and could be seen dancing on stage after his victory speech.

The 39-year-old studied cultural anthropology at Tulane University, received a master’s of social work from the University of Pennsylvania and was named executive director of the non-profit Delaware Center for Justice in 2014.

In the wake of her brother Beau's death, she launched a non-profit clothing company called Livelihood which, according to Marie Claire, is currently undergoing a rebrand. She married Philadelphia surgeon Howard Krein in a joint Catholic-Jewish church service in 2012.

She and Hunter took time to remember their late brother as they introduced their father as the Democratic presidential nominee for the first time at this year's Democratic National Convention.

Naomi Biden

Named for her late aunt, Naomi, 26, is the eldest of Hunter's children and a recent graduate of Columbia Law School, where her grandfather delivered remarks in this year's virtual graduation ceremony.

Naomi is also active on Twitter, where she's been critical of President Trump and defended her father.

Finnegan Biden

The second daughter of Hunter and his first wife, Kathleen, Finnegan is 20 and has appeared at grandfather Joe Biden's side on the campaign trail and at rallies. She was named after his mother, Jean Finnegan, who died in 2010 at the age of 92.

Maisy Biden

The youngest of Hunter and Kathleen's kids, Maisy, 18, was a regular on the trail.

In 2019, she celebrated her high school graduation alongside schoolmate and friend Sasha Obama.

Natalie Biden

Natalie, 16, is the eldest child of the late Beau and his wife, Hallie. Natalie appeared at the DNC alongside the other Biden granddaughters in August. According to NBC News, it was Natalie and her sisters who first told their grandfather that he had won the 2020 election, as news broke of his victory early on Nov. 7.

Robert "Hunter" Biden

Named for his uncle, Robert "Hunter" Biden is the youngest of Beau and Hallie's children and was reportedly born in 2006. In September, he appeared in a video alongside his sister and cousins as they recited the national anthem for the DNC. 

Kamala Harris' Family

Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Doug Emhoff

With Harris' election win, her husband, attorney Doug Emhoff, will become the country's first "second gentleman." The two were set up by a mutual friend and married in August 2014, after Emhoff proposed in Harris' apartment four months earlier.

The Brooklyn-born entertainment lawyer worked as a partner at DLA Piper Law Firm in Los Angeles, though he went on leave to support his wife on the campaign trail and has since said he will leave his practice entirely.

He has been a fixture of Harris' campaign, going viral while dancing at the San Francisco Pride Parade and for pushing a protester who tried to confront Harris out of the way in June 2019.

"She's got plenty of great people giving her political advice," Emhoff told PEOPLE recently, on the eve of the Nov. 3 election. "I'm her partner, I'm her best friend and I'm her husband. And that's what I'm here for. I'm here to have her back."

Cole and Ella Emhoff

Though Harris did not have children of her own prior to meeting Emhoff, she gained two with Cole and Ella, his kids from a previous marriage. As Harris' stepchildren, they affectionately refer to her as "Momala."

Harris wrote in a 2019 Elle piece that she and Emhoff, "put a lot of thought into when and how I would first meet the kids." When they finally did, she wrote, "Cole and Ella could not have been more welcoming." Harris has also said that she is close with Emhoff's ex-wife Kerstin, a producer.

She wrote in her memoir that “we sometimes joke that our modern family is almost too functional.”

According to LinkedIn, Ella, 21, is a a student at Parsons School of Design in New York City. Cole, 26, is more private, though he did speak about his first meeting with Harris in a conversation with his dad and sister, recorded for Glamour.

"I think for all of us, it was love at first sight ... I got to know her first on a much more personal level — her music tastes, her cooking, how she interacts with Doug, which was hilarious," he said. "She would just be ribbing him. It was perfect."

Maya Harris

A lawyer and political adviser, Harris' younger sister, Maya, has been arguably her closest aide and played an integral role in her campaign. The 52-year-old served as the chairwoman of Harris' 2020 presidential campaign, which ended in December 2019. As Politico notes, Maya was involved in every facet of her sister's campaign and recruited staff, solicited donors and helped draft policy.

Maya, who previously worked as an adviser to Hillary Clinton and as an on-air analyst for MSNBC, is married to Tony West, the chief legal officer at Uber.

Meena Harris

Maya's daughter, Meena, has gained fame in her own right for her active social media presence and videos of her aunt on TikTok.

Like her mom and aunt, Meena, 36, is a lawyer as well as a children's book author. The Harvard and Stanford-educated attorney is also the founder of the Phenomenal Woman Action Campaign, an organization that brings awareness to social causes and creates limited runs of political- and Kamala Harris-themed clothing.

Meena's Children

Meena has two kids with her husband, Nikolas Ajagu: 4-year-old Amara and Leela, age 2.

A video of Amara sitting on the vice president-elect's lap was widely shared in the days leading up to the election.

“Well you could be president,” Harris can be heard telling Amara in the video. “But not right now. You have to be over the age of 35.”

The girls could also be seen in one of their mom's Instagram posts, holding hands with Harris over a caption that read, "VICE PRESIDENT AUNTIE."