Who is Jon Batiste's wife, Suleika Jaouad? Exploring their relationship as couple gets candid about their recent struggle with cancer
Jon Batiste, the dynamic musician, and his wife recently opened up about their cancer struggles. Here is everything you need to know about the artist's wife, Suleika.
Jon Batiste is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, composer, and television personality from the United States. Jon Batiste has performed with a number of stars, including Stevie Wonder, Prince, Willie Nelson, Lenny Kravitz, Ed Sheeran, Lana Del Rey, Roy Hargrove, and Mavis Staples, among others. Despite this, he is a loving husband and recently faced cancer issues with his wife, Suleika. Here’s everything you need to know about her.
Who is Jon Batiste's wife, Suleika?
Suleika Jaouad is a writer, advocate, and motivational speaker from the United States. She is the author of The New York Times' Life, Interrupted column and has also written for Vogue, Glamour, NPR's All Things Considered, and Women's Health. Her memoir Between Two Kingdoms, published in 2021, was a New York Times best seller.
Jaouad was born in New York City to a Tunisian Muslim father and a Swiss Catholic mother. She attended Princeton University, where she majored in Near Eastern studies and double minored in French and gender studies, earning a BA with honors in 2010 and an MFA in writing and literature from Bennington College in 2020.
Jon Batiste and Suleika’s relationship
Jaouad is married to musician Jon Batiste, whom she has been dating since 2014. She married the musician in 2022, but they met at band camp when she was 13 and he was 14, which Jaouad described as "the most awkward place on earth" in a 2020 Instagram post.
They reconnected when Batiste paid her a visit to the hospital when she was being treated for leukemia. During a visit to the PEOPLE Every Day podcast in 2021, Batiste said that his connection with Jaouad inspired his emotive composition, Show Me the Way.
He said, "It speaks to a lot of me growing up and also our relationship. That piece of our relationship is a beautiful thing to have." On December 1, 2022, Batiste and Jaouad paid a visit to the White House for President Biden's first state dinner. Batiste played during the event, which was housed in a super-sized tent on the White House South Lawn, and was accompanied by his father, Michael Batiste. The Grammy winner arrived at the dinner in a tuxedo, while Jaouad was seen in a long yellow gown and glittering heels.
Jon Batiste and Suleika get candid about their cancer struggles
According to a 2012 New York Times wellness story, Life, Interrupted, she detailed her weekly experiences as a young adult with cancer. Jaouad stated in her newsletter in December 2021 that her leukemia had returned and that she was undergoing treatment, with a bone marrow transplant planned. In the midst of one of their most difficult trials, Jon Batiste and his wife, Suleika Jaouad, discovered that laughter was the best therapy.
During her hospitalization due to a cancer recurrence, Batiste and Jaouad did their best to keep things light and even earned themselves some staff amusement. In an exclusive interview with People, the couple got candid about their struggle.
Suleika told people, "Whenever there's a moment of laughter to be found, especially in the darkness, that's what we're gunning for. We got a reputation for making prank calls in the hospital so much that the nurses started coming in and requesting us to prank their boyfriends and friends."
She further added, "We're both very private people, but more than that, especially with the illness piece, we didn't know how the story was going to end. But, while it wasn't always easy, it was part of the appeal of telling our story in this way for both of us. We wanted to depict what it's like to be in the trenches of uncertainty, to have to carry that duality of light—th stunningly beautiful and incredibly hard things that are happening in the same palm."
Meanwhile, fans can see for themselves how the Grammy-winning musician and his wife, 35, have put on a brave face in their new documentary, American Symphony, which paints a portrait of their lives leading up to the September 2022 debut of Batiste's original symphony at Carnegie Hall.