- Bono has been married to Ali Hewson since 1982.
- Ali is a businesswoman and activist.
- The couple has four children together.
- Bono has opened up about his relationship with Ali in his new memoir ‘Surrender’.
With his signature glasses and one of the most recognizable voices in rock history, Bono is known all over the world. 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 know him as Paul Hewson, the man she fell in love with more than four decades ago. Ali and Bono celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in 2022, a relationship that has taken them around the world and back. The two lovebirds, proud parents of four beautiful children, are still going strong.
With the release of his memoirs Surrender, Bono will definitely open up more about his marriage to Ali. In the run-up to the book’s release, he was also more open about their relationship in interviews. He admitted that the book was mostly a dedication to his wife in an interview with The Sunday Times in October 2022. “Ali gave me the chance and covered for me at home. So I’m not writing a rock’n’roll memoir, [or] an activist’s memoir, I’m not just writing a bystander’s memoir, I’m trying to write a love letter to my wife,” he said. So learn more about the woman who puts the real “power” in this power couple.
Ali Hewson is an Irish activist and businesswoman.
Alison, born Alison Stewart on 23 March 1961, grew up in the Raheny suburb of Dublin’s north side. She received a degree in sociology and political science from University College Dublin in 1989, per The Telegraph. Her degree benefited her lifelong activism. In the 1990s, she became involved in anti-nuclear efforts, including charities to help the child victims of Chernobyl. She also led a campaign to send 1.5 million postcards from the Irish people to the then British Prime Minister Tony Blairall to raise awareness of the risk of radioactive contamination from the Sellafield nuclear power plant drifting into Ireland.
“I know how I want to try to live my life,” she said The Telegraph. “I know I don’t want to leave any darkness behind me. I think we all have a responsibility to not influence 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 also founded two ethically conscious businesses: Edun, a clothing company focused on bringing fair trade to fashion, and Nude, a “thoroughly modern, impeccably ethical skincare brand,” according to the Telegraph. “In the 1980s, Africa had six percent of world trade, which has now dropped to two percent. If they were to get one percent of world trade back,” Ali said, “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 to try to do something in Africa that would put our money where our mouth is – to really make a difference by developing Edun.” French conglomerate LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton) invested deeply in both companies.
She is Bono’s High School Sweetheart
“He was my first real boyfriend,” Ali said The Telegraph in 2008. “It was 1976 that we got together – the same year the band formed. I saw their first performance in our school gym.” They were married in 1982.
“We were teenagers. We went to the same school, high school,” Bono said at the 2016 Glamor 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 dated, they started a family. Their first child, Jordan Hewsonwas born on May 10, 1989. Their second, actress Eve Hewsonarrived 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’m just so happy for them, every single one of them, you just hope they find their way,” Ali told the Irish Daily Mirror in 2020. Elijah stood in front of the group Inhaler, and Ali said. “It’s his first love, and it’s great to see him find his way,” Ali said. “He’s the shyest boy, and he turned into a front man, and I don’t know how it happened. But he’s found his thing, and it’s great to see each of them find their way, because it’s not easy for any kid to make their way through this complicated system that’s going on.”
Ali Hewson inspired several U2 songs
Ali was Bono’s muse for his work in U2 – for better or for worse. Perhaps the greatest song that inspired Ali 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 was released The Best of 1980–1990/The B-Sides compilation, they gave the song some extra polish and finally got it right. They released it as a single – along with a video featuring Ali – and it reached the Top 20 around the world. All proceeds from the song were donated to the Chernobyl Children’s Project at Ali’s request.
Ali moves in mysterious ways.
Despite more than four decades together, Ali still cheats on Bono. “When we go on tour, my family is in a really good mood, which is a big worry because I think, ‘Can’t you cry?’ My teacher has been playing hard to get for quite some time, and she is an elusive character,” he said in a 2014 interview with The sun (h/t The Independent). “She is not easy to get to know and other people’s praise is not much for her. She is a very independent, smart kind of girl, who, I think, sees me as a figure of entertainment. Most of the time I enjoy her company.”
“I hold on very tightly to people who I think can get me through,” Bono added. “They are sitting at this table [his band mates], but Ali is also one of those people. I hold her much tighter than she holds me.”
Bono opened up about how his wife still surprises him in the above Sunday Times maintenance. “By the way, she’s not just a mystery to me. She is a mystery to her daughters, to her sons,” he said. “I mean, we’re all trying to get to know her. She is endlessly fascinating. She is… full of mischief.”
Ali has been by Bono’s side for so much
Bono also opened up about some of the tougher times he and Ali went through together, before the memoir was released. He talked about how they share a “great madness” in their marriage at the Resident of New York Festival in October 2022, but this is also what helps their relationship work. “There’s something about knowing that you’re going against the odds. But I would say if you ask me seriously, sometimes friendship can surpass romantic love. And friendship is what Ali and I have. When you have romantic love and friendship, it’s really something special,” he said People.
At the festival, he also explained how they supported each other through so much. “Any time one of us got lost, the other one would be… there to get the other one home. And I’m so grateful,” he said. “40 years is a powerful number for me. This is a powerful number for Ali. And it was brilliant when we got to 40, and we said, ‘Let’s not screw it up now.’