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U2 frontman Bono and his wife became high school sweethearts after he escorted them to the bus

U2’s maximalist rock and Bono’s high-spirited social ambitions often make the lead singer feel like a larger-than-life figure. But with the cameras and mics gone, the Paul Hewson native has maintained a stable home life with his wife Alison Hewson (née Stewart). The two have been together for decades, raising a family together and collaborating on business ventures. Their love story has the hallmarks of a textbook romance, with going to school playing an important part in their relationship.

The couple grew up in Dublin, Ireland while attending Mount Temple Comprehensive School. (Bono, then Paul Hewson, was a grade above Stewart.) Bono saw something in her on the first day of school and made up an excuse to talk to her. According to the Irish Independent, Hewson initially thought he was an “eeijit” (idiot).

Despite this, Bono persisted and the two started dating when she was 15 and he was 16. Bono told Entertainment Tonight that their first date ended with him dropping her off at a bus stop and that the affection was very one-sided. “She’s working towards it,” he joked. But their connection deepened following a tragedy in the life of the then-budding musician.

His mother, Iris, died of an aneurysm in 1973. Hewson took it upon himself to make sure Bono, who was having a strained relationship with his father and brother at the time, was cared for by someone. They went to school together and she even washed his clothes and brought him over to her house for dinner when needed.

The two eventually married in 1982.

Hewson gave up on her dreams of being a nurse when U2 started and she realized she couldn’t be a rock star’s wife and stick to a set work schedule. But Hewson still had her own ambitions to fulfill. She earned a degree in Social Sciences, Politics and Sociology from University College Dublin in 1989. Just two weeks before her final exams, she gave birth to the couple’s first child, a daughter named Jordan.

Hewson used her knowledge to become an activist for a number of causes. She was involved in anti-nuclear efforts in the ’90s and worked with charities raising money for the child victims of the Chernobyl disaster. Hewson also led a campaign for Irish citizens to send 1.5 million postcards to then British Prime Minister Tony Blair to raise awareness of the risk of radioactive pollution from the Sellafield nuclear power station drifting across to Ireland.

Hewson later co-founded two companies: Edun, a clothing company focused on enforcing fair trade practices in the fashion industry, and Nude, an ethical skincare brand.

Her dedication to progressive projects hasn’t stopped Hewson from starting a family with Bono. In addition to Jordan, the couple has three other children: Eve, Elijah and John.

Hewson is notoriously private and rarely speaks publicly about her husband. But Bono has paid tribute to her and her union multiple times over the years.

His love for her has inspired several U2 songs, most notably “The Sweetest Thing”. Bono is much more comfortable in the spotlight than Hewson, but his messiah complex completely dissolves when it comes to her.

“I feel like our relationship has changed a lot. For a while I thought I was in charge. I was the hunter-protector,” he explained. “A few years ago it became clear that someone else was in charge and I feel like I hold on to her a lot tighter than she does to me and that bothers me a little.”

“She’s so independent and sometimes I wish she wasn’t.”

RELATED: Bono once bought a first-class ticket for his hat

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