Who would have guessed that we’d have a South African in the White House?
Or rather, with access to the White House – I doubt President-elect Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, and his wife, South African born Melissa Cohen Biden, will be living there.
They will be part of the ‘first family’, which is pretty cool.
34-year-old Melissa appeared with the Biden family on stage in Wilmington, Delaware, as the new US president-elect thanked the nation in his victory speech.
Per Business Insider SA, she married Hunter last year (within six days of meeting him), in a small secret ceremony in her apartment in Los Angeles.
Earlier this year, they welcomed their first son, who took centre stage with his grandpa at the ceremony.
Hunter now has five children, including three daughters from his first wife, and a fourth from a brief relationship.
Back to those South African ties.
Melissa was adopted into a Jozi family, where she is the youngest of four, and the only girl. She attended King David High School Victory Park, following which she studied at the University of Johannesburg, before moving to the Greenside College of Design, graduating with a qualification in interior design.
She has claimed in the past that she was raised by an isiXhosa woman, who took her for frequent visits to the Transkei. Because of this, she only learned to speak English when she was six.
She moved to America when she was 21, where she works as a documentary filmmaker and co-owns a company that promotes indigenous conservation. She is passionate about social justice issues including the environment, abused and endangered animals, and mistreated indigenous peoples, workers, and refugees.
Melissa met Hunter through a mutual friend, says Cape Town Etc, who wrote her number on his hand and insisted that he call her. Within days of meeting, he got a “Shalom” tattoo identical to hers.
Melissa was married before Hunter. Her former husband, Rob Mendez, says that he has “nothing but love” for her. On her relationship with Hunter, he says “she found love and she’s happy. She’s honest to God an amazing girl; extremely intelligent.”
According to SA People, they split amicably because she wanted to start a family, but he already had three children and wasn’t keen for more.
Given how Hunter Biden’s life has become a national obsession for half of America, I’m sure more information will come to light in the months to come.
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