The ‘sweetest thing’ in Bono’s life is his marriage to Ali Hewson. As this Irish power couple celebrates their ongoing romance, learn more about Bono’s wife.
With his distinct glasses and one of the most recognizable voices in rock history, Bono is known across the globe. But, do many know the woman who has been his wife since the early 1980s? While millions know the U2 frontman as Bono, Ali Hewson knows him as Paul Hewson, the man she fell in love with more than four decades ago. Ali and Bono celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary in 2022, marking a relationship that has taken them around the world and back. The two lovebirds, proud parents to four beautiful children, are still going strong, so get to know more about the woman who puts the real “power” in this power couple.
Ali Hewson Is An Irish Activist & Businesswoman.
Born Alison Stewart on March 23, 1961, Alison grew up in the Raheny suburb of Dublin’s northern side. She received a degree in sociology and political science at the University College Dublin in 1989, per The Telegraph. Her degree has benefited her lifelong activism. In the 1990s, she got involved in anti-nuclear efforts, including charities to help the child victims of Chernobyl. She also spearheaded a campaign to send 1.5 million postcards from the Irish people to then British Prime Minister Tony Blair, all to raise awareness of the risk of radioactive pollution from the Sellafield nuclear plant drifting across to Ireland.
“I know how I want to try and live my life,” she told The Telegraph. “I know I don’t want to leave any darkness behind me. I think we should all have a responsibility not to affect other people in a negative way. It starts with your children – you see how trusting they are, so small and so innocent. That’s why I got involved in the Chernobyl project, because of what happened to the children there.”
She has also cofounded two ethically conscious businesses: Edun, a clothing company focused on bringing fair trade to fashion, and Nude, a “thoroughly modern, impeccably ethical skincare brand,” per the Telegraph. “Africa had six percent of the world trade in the 1980s, which has dropped to two percent now. If they were to gain back one percent of world trade,” said Ali, “that’s the equivalent of $70 billion dollars a year, which would be twice what they get in aid. That’s why we had the idea of trying to do something in Africa that would put our money where our mouth was – to actually make a difference by developing Edun.” French conglomerate LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton) has invested deeply into both companies.
She Is Bono’s High School Sweetheart.
“He was my first real boyfriend,” Ali told The Telegraph in 2008. “It was 1976 that we got together – the same year that the band formed. I saw their first gig in our school gym.” They were married in 1982.
“We were teenagers. We went to the same school, high school,” Bono said during the 2016 Glamour Women of the Year Awards. “It just so happens it was this afternoon [in 1976] I walked her to her bus – isn’t that mad?”
Since these two lovebirds first went out, they have started a family. Their first child, Jordan Hewson, was born on May 10, 1989. Their second, actress Eve Hewson, arrived on July 7, 1991. Bono and Ali welcomed their sons Elijah Hewson (August 17, 1999) and John Hewson (May 21, 2001) soon after.
“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I am just so happy for them, each one of them, you just hope they find their way,” Ali told the Irish Daily Mirror in 2020. Elijah fronts the band Inhaler, and Ali said. “This is his first love, and it is great to see him find his way,” said Ali. “He is the shyest boy, and he turned into a frontman, and I don’t know how it happened. But he found his thing, and it is great to see each of them find their way because it is not easy for any kid to make his way through this complicated system that is going on.”
Ali Hewson Inspired Several U2 Songs.
Ali has been Bono’s muse for his work in U2 – for better or for worse. Perhaps the biggest song Ali inspired was “The Sweetest Thing.”
“It was written during the sessions for The Joshua Tree. It was Ali’s birthday, and I didn’t make it for the birthday,” Bono said in 1998, per Rolling Stone. “It was actually the one song we always felt we could have nailed better than we did. In my mind, it was always a pop song, and I always felt we could do it better.” The song was bumped from the album and released as a B-side to “Where The Streets Have no Name” in 1988.
When U2 released The Best of 1980–1990/The B-Sides compilation, they gave the song some extra polish and finally did it right. They released it as a single – along with a video featuring Ali – and it reached the Top 20 across the globe. All proceeds from the song were donated to the Chernobyl Children’s Project, per Ali’s request.
Ali Moves In Mysterious Ways.
Despite more than four decades together, Ali still mystifies Bono. “When we’re leaving for tour, my family is in very good humor, which is a real worry because I’m thinking, ‘Can’t you cry?’ My missus has been playing hard to get for quite a while now, and she’s an elusive character,” he said in a 2014 interview with The Sun (h/t The Independent). “She’s not easy to get to know and other people’s praise holds not much sway for her. She’s a very independent, smart kind of girl, who, I think, sees me as a figure of amusement. Most of the time, I enjoy her company.”
“I hold on to people very tightly who I think can get me through,” added Bono. “They’re sitting at this table [his band mates], but Ali is also one of those people. I hold on to her much more tightly than she holds on to me.”