U2 frontman Bono recently opened up about his wife of 40 years, Ali Hewson. He was recently asked to choose the very first person to read the first draft of his new memoir Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story and he was clear about his choice. He named his wife.
Bono talks about her wife
Bono said that Ali would come equipped with the same memories as the U2 rocker, ready and willing to offer a forgotten experience here or a clarification there.
“A shared life gives you a shared memory,” Bono, 62, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “Ali will remember things I’ve half-remembered and remind me of conversations I’ve almost forgotten. She’s been in all the important scenes in my life since I was a teenager and she’ll often have a better view of my life than I do. She’s my witness. I’m hers. That hurts sometimes.”
The high school sweethearts married in 1982 and share daughters Jordan, 33, and Eve, 31, and sons Elijah, 23, and John, 21. Their decades-long romance is chronicled in Surrender (out Nov. 1), which breaks Bono’s life down into chapters reflecting on and titled after 40 different U2 songs.
“I was nervous, she’s an extremely private person, and I was taken aback when she hardly wanted any changes except spellings,” Bono (born Paul Hewson) says. “She wrecked my head about some of the spellings.”
The memoir also covers other facets of Bono’s life with poignant reflection, including the formation of U2 with schoolmates the Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. in 1976, his extensive charitable efforts, a 2016 health scare in which a blister on his aorta nearly burst, and the shock of learning in 2000 that his cousin Scott Rankin was actually his half-brother, the result of a secret affair between his father Bob and the wife of his mother Iris’s brother.
Though the Irish rocker is used to channeling his thoughts into song, crafting lengthier sentences — and doing it solo — was an adjustment, especially as Bono says his ideas for lyrics or melodies typically evolve into more fully fleshed out ideas “from the alchemy of the band together in the studio.”
“When you are writing songs, you can impersonate another musician’s approach, even unconsciously, which unfortunately is not an option when writing a memoir,” he says. “There’s no escape. You’re doing it alone, and you have no sound, only language. That was daunting at first. But I really enjoyed the luxury of being able to write long sentences and whole paragraphs. Maybe a little too much looking at the length of the book!”