They’d been married for 22 years when Kathleen Buhle made the appalling discovery in 2015 that her husband, the father of her three daughters, was hopelessly addicted to drink, drugs and sex.
‘I found hundreds [of credit card charges] at liquor stores and strip clubs,’ she writes. ‘The whole time, he told me he was healthy and sober — and I was crazy. I continually told him that I was the one person actually trying to get him sober. It became my own kind of addiction.’
While this sort of tale of sordid excess certainly has a familiar ring to it, Kathleen wasn’t married to yet another troubled Hollywood star but to Hunter Biden, the son of the U.S. President.
Kathleen would later learn that Hunter — whom she’d met when they were serving together in their 20s in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps — frequently hired prostitutes, obsessively trawled through internet porn and had such a serious drug problem that she found a crack cocaine pipe in their ashtray.
Worst of all, he had an affair with his own brother’s widow — a shocking development even for someone as depraved as Hunter, 52, and a discovery that Kathleen reveals was only made after their children saw incriminating text messages on his phone.
Kathleen wasn’t married to yet another troubled Hollywood star but to Hunter Biden (right), the son of the U.S. President
Unlike his feckless younger brother, Beau Biden had been a high-flying former attorney general of Delaware who was being tipped for a glittering career in politics when he died of brain cancer in 2015. Thrown together by their shared bereavement, Hunter and his devastated sister-in-law became lovers.
To make matters worse, his debauched lifestyle was funded by millions of dollars earned from opaque Chinese business interests and a seat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company that spawned accusations — denied by the Bidens — that Hunter was using the Biden name to unethically peddle influence.
Kathleen, 53, who finally divorced Hunter in 2017, has broken her silence about their sordid marriage in a revealing new autobiography, If We Break: A Memoir Of Marriage, Addiction, And Healing is due to be published next week — but early extracts have already left White House officials nervous. From what they’ve read, it is clear the Biden family will not be spared any blushes.
The tawdry life of Hunter Biden has long been a subject that America’s pro-Democrat media has either scrupulously ignored or treated with kid gloves.
President Biden has been stalked by personal tragedy — apart from the loss of his son Beau, his first wife and a daughter were killed in a car crash in 1972. But natural sympathy for his dogged devotion to Hunter, despite the seemingly endless revelations of dubious or squalid behaviour, is perhaps reaching its limit.
Kathleen would later learn that Hunter frequently hired prostitutes, obsessively trawled through internet porn and had such a serious drug problem that she found a crack cocaine pipe in their ashtray
While the Biden camp has in the past been able to dismiss any focus on Hunter as political trouble-stirring — with the New York Times and Washington Post even claiming it was Kremlin disinformation — it will be much harder to change the subject when the criticism comes from his long-suffering ex-wife, a close friend of Michelle Obama.
And for the President, the timing really couldn’t be worse. Amid continuing questions over his mental alertness, he’s floundering badly in the polls, with the expectation that the forthcoming November midterm elections will hammer the Democrats.
And then there’s the potentially awkward — and still unanswered — questions over emails retrieved from a damaged computer of Hunter’s which he abandoned in a repair shop in April 2019 and which appear to contradict Joe’s repeated insistence that his son never discussed his shady business affairs with him.
That computer, dubbed the ‘laptop from hell’ for its unending dark revelations, recently threw up fresh scandal when it was found to contain dozens of homemade porn videos in which Hunter filmed himself having sex with prostitutes. He then posted the videos on the Pornhub website.
Shockingly, Hunter texted a link for a Pornhub page to a phone number he had saved in his contacts book as ‘Dad’ on October 22, 2018.
However, other texts show he and Joe Biden used each other’s phone numbers on various occasions, so it is unclear whether the President was using the number involved at the time.
Kathleen (left), 53, who finally divorced Hunter in 2017, has broken her silence about their sordid marriage in a revealing new autobiography
This week, it emerged that one of those sex sessions, recorded in a hotel room in 2018, included a naked Hunter waving around a handgun he’d recently bought illegally after lying about his drug history.
According to text messages also found on the hard drive, his sister-in-law Hallie (with whom he had the affair) later threw the gun away, fearing for the safety of her children.
Hunter is currently being investigated by federal officials in Delaware over possible tax fraud, money laundering and lobbying offences.
He earned around £9 million between 2013 and 2018 — largely from his seat on the Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma and business deals with Chinese companies linked to the Beijing regime.
Hunter and Joe Biden deny there was ever any conflict of interest, although Hunter now admits he may have got the Ukraine job (which paid as much as £40,000 a month) because of his last name.
Ex-wife Kathleen claims in her memoir she ‘kept her head deeply buried in the sand on their finances’ after they married in 1992 and settled down in the state of Delaware with their three young daughters.
Ex-wife Kathleen claims in her memoir she ‘kept her head deeply buried in the sand on their finances’ after they married in 1992
Kathleen, who came from a working-class family in Chicago, began to suspect they were living beyond their means, saying: ‘Hunter and I drove nice cars and had a beautiful home, but we were running fast on that hamster wheel and barely staying on.’
She knew he’d started a property development fund and a technology company but insists she never asked questions at first — when her debit card was occasionally denied in a shop, she would simply phone Hunter and he would transfer the necessary funds.
Her growing awareness of financial problems coincided with his drinking spiralling ‘from social to problematic’.
She recalls one Saturday morning when Hunter walked into the kitchen ‘as if he hadn’t gone to sleep’ at around 10am. She was making pancakes for their children and Biden started pulling out a bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey.
If We Break: A Memoir Of Marriage, Addiction, And Healing is due to be published next week
She asked him what he thought he was doing. ‘I don’t think he knew what time it was and he still seemed drunk,’ she says. ‘He laughed and put the bottle back. We all stared.’ On many other occasions, he didn’t put the bottle back.
Hunter, who has admitted repeatedly battling drink and drug addiction, spent years in and out of rehab, leaving his wife to makes excuses to their girls — Naomi, now 28, Finnegan, 22, and Maisy, 21.
But for all her loyalty, including campaigning when Biden shared the ticket with Barack Obama, Kathleen was reminded she wasn’t a real member of the family when, after Joe became Vice-President in 2009, the Secret Service visited their home and explained how Hunter and the children would be getting bodyguards — but not her.
It ‘triggered’ a memory of a Biden get-together in which she was left out of a family photo as they only wanted ‘Biden blood’ in it.
She also reveals that Joe Biden rather cold-bloodedly made it clear that he would love her because Hunter did.
Three years later, Hunter exhibited ‘manic’ behaviour on the night the Obama-Biden team won re-election in 2012 and later turned up drunk to a fundraising event, she says. In 2014, he was discharged from the U.S. navy reserve after testing positive for cocaine. Then, a year later, his brother Beau died, leaving behind Hallie and two young children.
The Bidens are a very close family and Hunter — together with his parents and Hallie — wanted to set up a charity in Beau’s name.
Kathleen, who came from a working-class family in Chicago, began to suspect they were living beyond their means
Even so, Kathleen says she questioned why her husband needed to spend so much time at Hallie’s house, but stopped after being discouraged by her therapist, who insisted that it was ‘an important part of Hunter’s grieving’.
She threw him out of the family home that summer after discovering the crack pipe in an ashtray, Hunter having already admitted he’d cheated on her with prostitutes on foreign business trips.
Kathleen had begun to monitor his downward spiral, particularly his rampant infidelity, via their online credit card bills — everything from trips to nail salons and ski resorts to expenditure in strip clubs and off-licences.
She says she felt so ashamed at the failure of their marriage that she kept his debauched behaviour a secret. However, Kathleen had yet to discover the full scale of Hunter’s betrayal. That moment came in late 2016 when she received a tearful phone call from daughter Finnegan requesting she join her at the home of their family therapist.
Her daughters leaving it to the therapist to break the news because they were too upset, Kathleen learned that, after Finnegan and sister Naomi found Hunter’s phone, they’d discovered their father was having an affair with Hallie.
Kathleen had begun to monitor his downward spiral, particularly his rampant infidelity, via their online credit card bills
‘I could see Finnegan’s face relaxing now that the secret was out and I hadn’t fallen apart,’ says Kathleen. ‘If anything, I felt a strange vindication.
‘Not only had I not been crazy, but it was so much worse than I could have imagined. I was shocked but not heartbroken. Heartbreak had already flattened my self-esteem that past year.’
Joe Biden and his wife Jill publicly said they had given their blessing to Hunter and Hallie, saying: ‘We are all lucky that Hunter and Hallie found each other as they were putting their lives together again after such sadness.’
But Hunter later admitted the President and First Lady had known nothing of the relationship before it was revealed in the media and that he’d begged his father — for the sake of his children — to say he approved of it.
Kathleen divorced Hunter the following year, shattering the Biden clan’s squeaky-clean image with a court battle which revealed Hunter had frittered away nearly £100,000 in just two months, draining the couple’s assets and leaving his wife and their three daughters with little to live on.
His extensive outgoings included ‘drugs, alcohol, prostitutes, strip clubs and gifts for women with whom he has sexual relations’, said her lawyers.
Since 2019, Hunter has had a new wife, 35-year-old South African Melissa Cohen, with whom he has a two-year-old son
In a 2021 memoir, Beautiful Things, Hunter provided a litany of unbeautiful details about himself, including buying crack cocaine from a female addict who was homeless — and who later moved in with him — drinking two pints of vodka a day, and purchasing ‘clean urine’ to cheat drug tests.
He also claimed that his short-lived relationship with his sister-in-law stemmed from ‘grasping for the love we had both lost’, while insisting that the loss of his mother when he was a toddler had left him feeling permanently alone.
He suggested, too, that his family had a weakness for addiction which explained why his father doesn’t drink.
Since 2019, Hunter has had a new wife, 35-year-old South African Melissa Cohen, with whom he has a two-year-old son.
Kathleen, who says she came away with no money in their divorce settlement, now lives modestly but financially independently. She was diagnosed with colon cancer months after her divorce was finalised, but has been free of the disease now for four years.
For her part, she says she’s forgiven Hunter: ‘Anger is such a heavy weight to carry and I was in a lot of pain,’ she told People magazine.
But with Republicans calling for investigations into the President’s family, the question might be whether the Bidens can forgive her after this new memoir hits the shelves.