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Bono on Marriage and Fatherhood

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In a candid interview, Bono recently discussed some personal topics that are the closest to his heart. Among them, his marriage and family relationships. 

You could learn a lot about love just by listening to the extensive U2 canon on the subject. Some of the band’s most popular love songs are about Bono’s wife of 30 years, Ali Hewson. The pair met the same week Larry Mullen Jr. formed the group U2, when Bono was 16 and Ali was 15. They’ve grown up together.

In Sweetest Thing Bono sings, “A blue-eyed boy meets a brown-eyed girl.”

In In a Little While, he sings, “She’s mine. And I’ve known her since you were a little girl, with Spanish eyes.”

In Spanish Eyes he sings, “I’ll cross the world for green and gold but it’s those Spanish eyes that get me home.”

Bono describes Ali, the girl with Spanish eyes, as a mysterious creature. When asked how he has managed to stay married for 30 years in an industry that seems to breed divorce the way it breeds 1-hit wonders, Bono replied, “I married an extraordinary woman … I hold on to her very tightly.”

He also describes her as independent, and explains that he probably needs her more than she needs him. They’ve been through everything together.

More profoundly, Bono explains his take on love: “The job of love is to realize the potential in others. If both of you [in a relationship] are doing this, you’ll get places.”

Bono and Ali are raising 4 children—2 girls and 2 boys. Raising children has been beautiful and painful for him, as he seems to go back to the ages of his children as they grow. He remembered songs and nursery rhymes from his childhood, and some of the other wounds of childhood resurfaced as well. Bono lost his mother at age 13. He filled this loss with music. It made him who he is today and deepened his faith.

In the spotlight since the ’80s and never at a loss for words, Bono is growing into a care-worn husband, father, and activist with wisdom and experience — in addition to a couple dozen hit records. Someone give that man a microphone.

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