Jay Leno, 73, has filed for conservatorship over his wife, Mavis Leno, 77, after she was sadly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, according to TMZ. The diagnosis is “the basis of the conservatorship,” an insider told the outlet. It’s unclear exactly when she was diagnosed, but a hearing for the conservatorship request will reportedly be held on April 9, 2024.
Before the news of the conservatorship, Jay and Mavis were seen out in public together in November 2023. The lovebirds attended a comedy event in Los Angeles, CA. Jay, who was hospitalized for burns due to an accident while working on his classic cars on November 13, 2022. has yet to publicly comment on the conservatorship filing or Mavis’ disease.
Find out more about Mavis and her love story with Jay below.
Jay and Mavis met early in her career.
Long before Jay began hosting The Tonight Show, even as a guest, he met Mavis, and the pair instantly hit it off. She recalled first meeting him in January 1976, at the famed Los Angeles Comedy Store in a 2014 interview with The Los Angeles Times. She said she was writing some comedy of her own when she was seated in the front row and saw Jay and thought he was “gorgeous.” She recounted their first meeting. “When he finished his act the night we met, I needed to go to the ladies’ room. What I didn’t know was in the Comedy Store back then, that area was the only place for the comedians to hang out. So when I came out of the bathroom, he said, ‘Are you that girl in front?’” she said, before noting that it “gradually evolved.”
They got married in 1980
Even though Mavis said she had never planned to get married, she said that part of the reason they chose to get married was so she could get on Jay’s insurance policy, which he admitted was “not the most romantic,” but it’s clearly worked out well because they’ve been married ever since. The marriage has clearly paid off, and the comedian has gushed about his wife on plenty of occasions. Jay spoke about the marriage advice he gives people in a 2019 interview with People. “I always tell guys when they meet a woman: Marry your conscience. Marry someone who’s the person you wish you could be,” he said.
Mavis decided not to have kids
Throughout their over 40 years of marriage, Jay has never had children. Mavis admitted that she didn’t want kids when he was profiled for The Washington Post in October 2014. She also admitted that she didn’t plan on having kids when interviewed for The LA Times. She spoke about watching the marriage dynamics on classic shows like The Honeymooners and wasn’t a fan of the way that men spoke about their spouses. “These men spend all their time talking about what a drag the wives and and asking how can they get away from them. It’s perfectly obvious the women are the ones trapped,” she told The Post.
While she changed her mind on marriage, she’s held her beliefs on parenthood resolute. “I remember telling my mother when I was 7 or 8 that I was never going to get married or have children,” she told the outlet. “To me, this is the way women get caught.”
She’s a philanthropist
While her husband is a funny guy, Mavis has her own endeavors, and they’re quite serious. She’s been on the board of directors for the Feminist Majority Foundation since 1997. She’s still the chair for the “Campaign For Afghan Women and Girls,” according to the organization’s website. She was very vocal against the Taliban’s treatment of women and has continued to campaign for equal rights for women in Afghanistan. Mavis made numerous media appearances to try to spread the word about her campaign and efforts.
Mavis is very supportive of Jay’s career.
Being married to a comedian isn’t always easy. Even with success, there are often many nights on the road and late evenings at clubs. Despite the hardships, Mavis said that early on in, it helped make their relationship stronger in her interview with The LA Times. Going through hard times, she said that Jay being “genuine” is part of why it worked so well. “However steadfast your feelings for each other, your life circumstances are going to go all over the place,” she told The Times.
Mavis also spoke about the former late-night show’s love of comedy as an important part of him in the 2014 Washington Post profile, when saying he had no plans to slow down. “First of all, he loves doing it better than anything else he does,” she said. “The whole male side of his family is like that. I think that whatever he had done for a living, he would be doing it still, and doing it until he dies.”
The loving spouse also supports Jay’s love of cars despite the fire accident that caused him to get burned. During an interview about his recovery, he said that she was still okay with him continuing to work on his classic cars, even if he had the scary run in. “As long as it’s not cocaine and girlfriends, she’s fine — believe me,” he lightheartedly told Page Six.