Jill Biden: America's next first lady and close friend to Michelle Obama

Career in teaching matters just as much as life and position in Washington

epa08806563 President-elect Joe Biden (L) with his wife Jill Biden (R) wave to supporters during celebratory event held outside of the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, USA, 07 November 2020. According to media reports, Biden has defeated President Donald Trump in the 2020 USA presidential election to become the United Sates' 46th president.  EPA/Robert Deutsch / POOL
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An Italian-American professor, an African-American lawyer, a Jewish entertainment lawyer and a former vice president will take centre stage in the US come January.

Jill Biden, 69, America's next first lady, is a self-described introvert and confidante to her husband, president-elect Joe Biden. She spent seven years in Washington while Mr Biden served as Barack Obama's vice president.

Doctor Jill Biden 

In 2007, Ms Biden, who has two master's degrees, earned a doctorate in education from the University of Delaware and began a career in teaching.

During the Obama years, she  taught at community college, describing those institutions as "one of America's best-kept secrets".

"As a teacher, she sees how community colleges have changed the lives of so many of her students for the better," according to her biography on the Obama White House website.

In August, Ms Biden said she planned to continue teaching if she became first lady.

"If we get to the White House, I'm going to continue to teach. It's important and I want people to value teachers and know their contributions and lift up the profession," she told CBS News.

Relationship with Joe Biden

When she met Joe Biden, he was a widower with two sons who lost their mother and sister in a car accident.

"She put us back together. She gave me back my life. She gave us back a family," Mr Biden said this year.

Ms Biden introduced her new husband to her family at her grandparents’ home.

“My grandmother, when she saw Joe, she was so excited,” Ms Biden said in the CBS News interview.

The couple married in 1977, building a relationship that has withstood the pressures of Washington life.

She sees herself as an adviser to her husband. "It's a marriage, and you listen to one another, you talk things out with one another," she said.

The couple are staunch supporters of military families having lost their son Beau Biden – who served in the Iraq war – to cancer in 2015.

Ties to the White House

Just as the world highlighted the bond between Mr Obama and Mr Biden, their  wives shared a close personal and professional relationship.

They worked together to create a Joining Forces Initiative for military service members and their families, offering them education and employment opportunities.

Michelle Obama called Ms Biden “one of my dearest friends”, and Ms Biden has described the instant bond she formed with Ms Obama when their husbands were senators.

“This is my girl right here. We have laughed together. We have been silly together. We have cried a lot,” Ms Obama said.

When Beau Biden died, Ms Obama offered vital support. Ms Biden told Entertainment Weekly that "Michelle has been truly wonderful".

Ms Obama recalled seeing Ms Biden grading papers on government jets, juggling professional duties with her political role – experience that will serve her well in life at the White House.