Bono Paul Hewson was brought up in Ballymun, Dublin. His father, Bob Hewson, was Roman Catholic and his mother, Iris, belonged to the Church of Ireland. He was brought up with a strong religious faith as a member of the Church of Ireland. But when asked whether he would call himself a Catholic or Protestant, the singer is reported to have said, "I always felt like I was sitting on the fence." His mother died of a stroke when he was fourteen years old; many U2 songs, especially from the early albums ("I Will Follow", "Out of Control", "Tomorrow"), focus on this part of his life.
He attended Mount Temple Comprehensive School, a mixed faith (both Protestant and Catholic) school, which was the first of its kind in Dublin. It was there that he acquired the nickname "Bono Vox of O'Connell St."
In 1976 he responded to an advertisement by fellow student Larry Mullen, Jr. to form a band, as did Dave Evans (aka The Edge), brother Dik Evans (who soon left the band), and Adam Clayton. The remaining four formed a band named 'Feedback', before changing names to 'The Hype' and then settling on U2. Initially Bono sang, played guitar and wrote songs; as The Edge became a better guitarist, Bono was relegated to vocals, although he often plays acoustic guitar and harmonica.
Bono married his high school sweetheart, Alison "Ali" Stewart, on 21 August 1982 in an Anglican ceremony at a chapel on the Guinness family estate. The singer has mentioned in several interviews that his stint in U2 and relationship with Ali began around the same time. The couple have four children - Jordan (Born 1989), Memphis Eve ('Eve' b. 1991), Elijah Bob Patricius Guggi Q (Born 1999) and John Abraham (Born 2001).
In 1992, together with U2's guitarist The Edge, Bono bought and refurbished Dublin's two-star 70-bedroom Clarence Hotel and converted it into a five-star 49-bedroom hotel, which quickly gained a reputation as one of the most stylish (and expensive) hotels in the city.
His nickname "Bono Vox" - usually shortened to "Bono" - is an alteration of Bona Vox, a brand of hearing aid for which the Latin translates to "good voice". Bono was given the moniker by his mates because it was the name of a shop or a hearing aid company's advert they regularly passed on North Earl Street, just off O'Connell Street, in Dublin or on the corner of Dame Street and South Great Georges Street in Dublin's city centre. A different theory says he was nicknamed after a hearing aid shop by his friend Gavin Friday because he sang so loudly he seemed to be singing for the deaf. Initially, Bono did not like his new nickname. However, when he learned it could be translated to "good voice", he accepted it. "Bono Vox" literally means "The voice to the good man", Vox, the subject and Bono, the indirect object. The word bono is also Italian slang for "sexy" and the dative form of the Latin word bonus; see List of Latin phrases.