Hunter Biden, the second son of President Joe Biden, sat down with two CBS journalists in recent days to discuss his complicated life, in which he has been traumatized by his mother and sister's deaths in a car accident when he was 2 and propelled by overwhelming drug and alcohol addictions.
Through it all — including his most recent four-year descent into what he called "debauchery" — his father's love for him never wavered. But he said there were times when the addiction was stronger than his family's love. The 51-year-old tells that story in "Beautiful Things," the memoir he's currently promoting.
"Most people who've gone through what I've gone through are either dead or in jail," Biden said.
Here are seven key takeaways from the interviews that aired Sunday and Monday on "CBS Sunday Morning" and "CBS This Morning."
The extremes of his addiction
It got bad in the four years leading up to his 2019 marriage to filmmaker Melissa Cohen. Really bad. Biden said he "spent more time on my hands and knees, picking through rugs, smoking anything that even remotely resembled crack cocaine. I probably smoked more Parmesan cheese than anyone you know."
One time, he said, he went 13 days without sleeping, just smoking crack and drinking "insanely lethal amounts" of vodka.
And after a major family intervention, where his dad chased him down the driveway and wrapped him in a bear hug, Hunter Biden said the only thing he could think about was figuring out a way to tell Joe Biden that he was going to do something to get better, so that he could go and take another hit.
"I said I was gonna go get help," Hunter said. "Booked the next flight to Los Angeles and decided that I was going to completely disappear forever."
What fueled his addiction?