Presidential hopeful Joe Biden and his wife Jill recently celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary. But before Joe, there was Bill Stevenson — the man Jill married when she was just 18. Now her ex-husband is speaking in an exclusive interview with Inside Edition.
“I was betrayed by the Bidens,” Stevenson told Inside Edition. “Joe was my friend. Jill was my wife.”
The Bidens’ love story is now legend — how the couple found true love after the heartbreak of Joe losing his wife Neilia and infant daughter Naomi in a car crash in December 1972. They even put their tale of romance front and center at the Democratic National Convention last month.
As Joe Biden tells the story, he first saw Jill’s photo on an advertisement in Wilmington, Delaware in March 1975. His brother Frank, who knew the model from college, set Joe up on a blind date the following night. They saw a movie together on the date, fell in love and never looked back.
But Stevenson, the founder of popular local rock music venue The Stone Balloon, says there's much more to the story, claiming Jill and Joe's relationship actually started in 1974, when he was still married to Jill.
“Jill, I met on the beach in Ocean City, New Jersey, in August of 1969. Sure, I fell in love with her, because I married her six months later,” Stevenson said.
In her memoir, Jill says of her first marriage, “I truly believed we were destined for each other...looking back it may seem like a mistake of youth.”
According to Stevenson, both he and Jill first got to know Joe Biden when Biden was a county councilman in New Castle, Delaware. Stevenson says he asked for Biden’s help obtaining a liquor license. Stevenson also says he threw a fundraiser for Joe that raised between $2,500 and $3,000.
“We got married in '70, I introduced Joe to Jill in ‘72. Right before the election in ‘72, Jill, Joe, Neilia and I were in his kitchen. How do you forget that?” Stevenson said.
That would be three years before the now-famous “blind date.” Stevenson says his first inkling something was up came when Jill refused to go with him to meet Bruce Springsteen, who was booked to appear at The Stone Balloon.
“She said, ‘Joe asked me to keep an eye on the boys.' And I just thought in the back of my mind, ‘hmm!’” Stevenson said.
Then, one day, Stevenson says a man came into his bar and asked him to pay damages for a fender bender that involved Jill.
“He looks at me and he says, ‘Oh, she wasn't driving.’ I said, 'Her beloved Corvette, she wasn't driving it?’ He goes, 'Senator Biden was driving it.’ And I went, ‘What?’” Stevenson said.
Stevenson said he confronted Jill at the time, but “she didn’t say anything” and “just looked at me.”
“I said, ‘You gotta go. You gotta go get your own place,’” Stevenson said.
Jill and Stevenson's divorce decree was issued in May 1975. He says the divorce became contentious when Jill asked for a share of The Stone Balloon, which he says a judge denied.
In the years following the divorce, Stevenson was convicted on a federal fraud charge and was also sentenced to six years probation for passing bad checks. He blames his legal problems on politics.
Stevenson has just written a book about his life and is considering publishing it. He denied that anyone from the Republican Party had asked him to speak out against Biden.
“It’s years ago, but guess what, it's so current right now, because he's picking on people about character,” Stevenson said.
Dr. Jill Biden has denied her ex-husband's claims. In a statement to Inside Edition, her spokesman said, “These claims are fictitious, seemingly to sell and promote a book. The relationship of Joe and Jill Biden is well documented. Jill Biden separated from her first husband irreconcilably in the fall of 1974 and moved out of their marital home. Joe and Jill Biden had their first date in March of 1975, and they married in June of 1977."
Stevenson has been married to his second wife, Linda, for 34 years. He insists he isn't out for revenge.
“Listen. I’ve said from the very beginning, I have no hard feelings about Joe, Jill, the affair. It means nothing to me now,” Stevenson said. “Everybody's saying, ‘Bill, you're being so mean bringing this up now.’ But if I don't do it now it's never going to be able to be brought up.”
Stevenson said that although he voted twice for Barack Obama and Joe Biden, this year he’s voting for Donald Trump because he agrees with Trump's stance on police issues.