Actor, comedian, and writer Patton Oswalt delighted fans when he announced that he had found love again with actor Meredith Salenger—known as a voice actor on Robot Chicken and for roles in Lake Placid and Race to Witch Mountain, among others. The two got engaged in July 2017, and married a few months later. Salenger's not just known for her acting capabilities: She's also, incredibly, a mediator, and works at the Agency for Dispute Resolution when she's not acting. Oswalt has spoken at length about his love for her—particularly during a time when he was in the middle of terrible grief.
Oswalt's first wife, Michelle McNamara, passed away suddenly and tragically in April 2016 from an undiagnosed heart condition combined with an accidental combination of prescription medication. Since then, the actor has been honest about his grieving experience. "The lights have been turned down 50 percent on everything since she's gone," he said, dedicating his 2017 Emmys win to her. McNamara's life and work will be honored in HBO's upcoming docuseries I'll Be Gone in the Dark; Oswalt is an important part of the series, cataloguing how he worked with a team to complete McNamara's upcoming true crime book about the Golden State Killer. He often spoke about her as being kind, compassionate, and smarter than he was—some of the reasons he adored her.
In April 2017, Oswalt shared an emotional tribute to McNamara a year after her death and removed his wedding ring in a symbolic gesture. "I couldn't bear removing it since April 21st, 2016. But now it felt obscene," he wrote, adding, "Removing the ring was removing the last symbol of denial of who I was now, and what my life is, and what my responsibilities are. But it's not fatal."
Around the same time (February), he connected with Salenger over Facebook over a missed dinner party. They had instant chemistry, Oswalt explained, and they didn't meet up until May.
“Because we talked every single night on Facebook for three months and really got to know each other,” he told Us Weekly, “I got to know what an extraordinary human being she was. So it was just a no-brainer for me to know that this is the person that I want to be with. It took talking to her nonstop every night for three months and then it took knowing her for a month and then it was like, yea, this is the person I’m going to spend my life with.”
Today is the 3 year anniversary of the day @meredithsalenger and I first met in person. We’d been Facebook messaging for 2 1/2 months — no phone calls, no FaceTime, just our minds poured out in thumb-typed messages. We didn’t even realize we were falling in love. Meredith had HAD it with dating, and I’d resigned myself to live in the grey deadness of losing Michelle. But to encounter a mind like Meredith’s, and to get to talk with her at the end of every day, just someone to talk to in the dark, quickly became indispensable. And we finally — tentatively — began opening our hearts and inching toward love. And so we met for dinner, and we looked at each other, and that was it. We knew we never wanted to be apart after that. And we never will. I love you Meredith.
A post shared by Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) on May 20, 2020 at 2:08pm PDT
Salenger made it Insta-official with Oswalt in June (sharing a photo first, then an ID shortly after) and ever since has been adorably profuse about how much she loves him and Alice.
A post shared by Meredith Salenger (@meredithsalenger) on Jun 11, 2017 at 9:03pm PDT
That November, the two wed. “It felt like coming home,” Oswalt said at the time. Salenger shared photos of the special day:
True love. 💖 True happiness. Forever and Always. The Oswalts. 🌈💖November 4, 2017 - Jim Henson Studios - Los Angeles, CA Photo Credit: The magnificent photographer and dear friend. Jeff Vespa @jeffvespa —� and our brilliant officiant the uber talented and most genuinely marvelous woman @marthaplimpton ...... ....... Sweet lovely wonderful Makeup by: @saraalycemakeup
A post shared by Meredith Salenger (@meredithsalenger) on Nov 5, 2017 at 8:17am PST
Actor Martha Plimpton, whose dinner would have been their first meeting, officiated the wedding. Oswalt remembered,
“My favorite moment was when I was standing up at the altar and my daughter came down the aisle—she was a flower girl. And she just spontaneously gave me this huge hug...It was like, we’re safe now. Things are OK. I almost started crying. I was so happy the way that she held me. Like, things are OK now. It felt amazing. That moment.”
Salenger has been vocal on Twitter in support of causes she cares about, as well as fiercely supportive of her husband, his late wife, and her step-daughter.
I’m so proud of @pattonoswalt watching him honor his beautiful and brilliant late wife #MichelleMcNamara promoting her incredible book #IllBeGoneInTheDark at amazing venues like the @nypl. It is a testament to his love for her and his belief in her talent. I’m in awe. #beautiful
— Meredith Salenger (@MeredthSalenger) February 28, 2018
In a recent comedy special, Oswalt called Salenger a "poem of a woman." He's also raved about her as a stepmom to his daughter Alice, saying, "She’s just an example of the kind of woman I want Alice to grow up to be."
A post shared by Meredith Salenger (@meredithsalenger) on Jun 23, 2020 at 5:14pm PDT
"You can be a good mom but not be then kind of thing that you want a kid to emulate. And Meredith is both."
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