Meet the Hewsons: Bono’s 4 children are taking the world by storm, so what do we need to know about them?
Being the frontman of one of the world’s biggest ever bands is not the sort of job they prepare you for in school. Nor is the role of campaigner for victims of a nuclear fall-out. It’s little exaggeration to suggest that U2 frontman Bono and his wife, Ali Hewson, an entrepreneur and key patron of Chernobyl Children’s International, have lived a life that’s far removed from the norm.
t should not be a surprise, then, that their children are following paths that few others embark on. Already, two of their four kids are decidedly famous in their own right with eldest son, Eli, giving his father a run for his money in the rockstar stakes.
Bono expressed his love and admiration for the foursome in his acclaimed memoir, Surrender, while Ali was moved to note that “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.”
Jordan Hewson, 33
Bono and Ali’s eldest child, born seven years after they married, was reportedly named after the couple’s good friend, the filmmaker and novelist, Neil Jordan.
Jordan’s parents were keen that she have as normal a childhood as possible. Like all the Hewson children, she attended the Dalkey School Project and then the fee-paying secondary school, St Andrew’s College in Booterstown, Co Dublin, before moving to New York to attend university. She earned a degree in political science from Columbia University and has a master’s in creative writing from the same prestigious Ivy League institution.
She has spent the vast majority of her adult life in the US and currently lives in Brooklyn. She appears to have followed in the footsteps of her mother, thanks to her passion for activism and her entrepreneurial acumen.
She is the ‘founding editor’ of Global Citizen — an ‘action platform dedicated to achieving the end of extreme poverty’ — and is a director at the Restless Development agency, which mentors young leaders around the world.
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Most notably, Jordan is the founder of Speakable, a technology company that aims to make civic engagement more accessible and effective.
“Often when we read the news,” Jordan says, on the Speakable website, “we feel compelled to do something but we don’t know where to start. That’s why we started Speakable, a technology company on a mission to channel the energy of our empathy into our impact.”
Eve Hewson, 31
Memphis Eve Sunny Day Iris Hewson – to use her extravagant full name – was the first of Bono and Ali’s children to truly enter the public consciousness. She has been acting since her college days at New York University and she won praise for her first significant role in 2011, when she starred opposite Sean Penn in the Dublin-set film, This Must Be the Place.
Since then, she has proved herself to be a formidable talent, especially in television drama series such as The Knick and The Luminaries. More recently, she has impressed on the bingeable Netflix thriller, Behind Her Eyes, and in the hugely popular Apple TV+ production, Bad Sisters, which saw her starring alongside some of Ireland’s top acting talent including Sarah Greene and Sharon Horgan (who co-wrote the show). The series, which is set in contemporary Dublin, has been commissioned for a second season.
“It didn’t go over so well with my dad,” she recalled, when announcing she wanted to be an actor. “I’ve been acting since I was 15 and my parents were just terrified. I think because they’ve been around and know what Hollywood is, especially for a woman.”
They seem a bit more relaxed about her choice of career these days. “They don’t stop calling me,” she told an Irish newspaper. “They’re like, ‘When’s that audition and how did you do? And what movie are you going to do next?’ And I’m like, ‘Oh my God, stop calling me, you’re obsessed with me!’”
A spirited, charismatic soul, she had a pop at The New York Times late last year when it said the stars of Bad Sisters were British. “WE ARE IRISH,” she tweeted. “Please and thank you.”
Having once described herself as “dangerously single”, she says she is enjoying being back home in Dublin living with her parents.
Eli Hewson, 23
With a dad seemingly born to command stadium-sized crowds, it’s little surprise that Bono’s first-born son is cut from the same cloth. Eli’s band, Inhaler, has hoovered up legions of fans here, in Britain and the US, and they are scheduled to play Slane Castle this summer, just as U2 did in both the early years of their career and after they had conquered the globe.
Like sister Eve, Eli is blessed with a remarkable full name. Stand up Elijah Bob Patricius Guggi Q Hewson. He grew up listening to Manchester bands Joy Division and the Stone Roses, and his early years at St Andrew’s College saw him forming a band with like-minded students Ryan McMahon and Rob Keating. Josh Jenkinson, from a nearby school, was drafted in as Inhaler guitarist in their middle teen years. The name, incidentally, comes from the inhaler he used to combat asthma.
Even before Inhaler signed a major record deal and scored a significant hit with debut album It Won’t Always Be Like This — a UK number one — Eli was getting noticed. That’s him on the front cover of U2’s most recent album, 2017’s Songs of Experience, alongside Sian Evans, Edge’s daughter.
Although he looks and sounds quite a lot like Bono, Inhaler are very much their own band and the group will likely enjoy even more widespread success when their impressive second album, Cuts & Bruises, is released on February 17.
Bono has often spoken about how proud he is of his son’s musical achievements and Eli has repaid the compliment. Speaking to the Irish Independent’s Weekend magazine last Saturday, he said he was especially taken with Bono’s memoir. “I love the book. I thought it was brilliantly written. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him as nervous [before the autobiography came out]. It was nice to read about those early days and, like any person, I was interested in the journey that U2 took.”
But there was one passage that really took his fancy: “I love the bit where Edge hits my dad.”
On the school run, John Hewson used to tell his father, “Would you mind dropping me off at the corner?”
John Hewson, 21
The youngest of the family has largely stayed out of the public eye. John Abraham Hewson is 21 has opted to keep his Instagram account private. The small number of photos of him that have been circulated in the media tend to be sourced from one of his sisters’ social media accounts.
He is passionate about rugby and played for St Andrew’s in the Leinster Schools Senior Cup. He is also said to be a talented photographer. It is John’s photo of Bono, taken near the family home in Killiney, Dublin, that graces the inside cover of Surrender.
Bono noted recently that the teenage John had little interest in being seen as the son of a famous rockstar. On the school run, he used to tell his father, “Would you mind dropping me off at the corner?”
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