Jay Leno and Wife Mavis Leno's Complete Relationship Timeline

TV icon Jay Leno and his wife, Mavis Leno, have been married for four decades — and they are still in love.

“We have a great time. You have to marry a normal person,” Jay said during an appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show in September 2023. “Guys say [to me] all the time, ‘I met this girl, she’s crazy but the sex is unbelievable.’ I go to them, ‘You’re right, but when the sex is over, she’s still crazy. Now, you have 23 hours of crazy until [the] good-crazy hour comes back.’”

He continued, “I always [say], ‘Marry your conscience. Marry the person you wish you could be, who is kind and maybe whatever fault you have, doesn’t have those faults.’ That’s worked out for me, so to me, I married the perfect person. It worked out good.”

Less than one year later, news broke in January 2024 that Mavis had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease after Jay filed for a conservatorship on her behalf. (The pair did not address Mavis’ diagnosis at the time. Us Weekly reached out for comment.)

Keep scrolling to revisit Jay and Mavis’ complete relationship timeline:


Jay and Mavis first crossed paths in January 1976 when she went to his set at Los Angeles’ Comedy Store.

“At the time I thought, ‘Holy s—t! That comedian is gorgeous!” Mavis recalled to the Los Angeles Times in September 2014. “I had gone to the Comedy Store with my girlfriend because I was writing comedy with some partners. Friends kept saying, ‘You have to hang out at the Comedy Store and the Improv. You’ll meet people who can give you jobs.’ The first time I went, they sat us front row center — that means you’re this far from the comic. And there was Jay.”

After Mavis got up from her seat to use the restroom, she ran into Jay.

“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,” she added to the outlet. “So when I came out of the bathroom, he said, ‘Are you that girl in front?’ And I said, ‘Yes, that was me.’”

1992 Jay Leno and Wife Mavis Leno: A Complete Timeline of Their Relationship
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Late 1970s

Jay has proclaimed that the couple’s engagement wasn’t the most “romantic” way to pop the question.

“I had this insurance policy, and I thought if something happened to me, my girlfriend wouldn’t be covered, but if we’re married, we’re covered, so we might as well get married,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 2014. “Not the most romantic. Mavis didn’t even get an engagement ring until [2004].”

Mavis chimed in, reasoning they “just bought a house” together instead. “So why would I do that?” she quipped. “I’m not that kind of person.”

Jay and Mavis still reside in the same Beverly Hills residence.

2001 Jay Leno and Wife Mavis Leno: A Complete Timeline of Their Relationship
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

November 1980

Jay and Mavis wed after four years together despite Mavis once proclaiming she never wanted to walk down the aisle.

“I always had this idea that I would never get married,” Mavis previously told People in a 1987 profile of Jay. “It was a big thing with me, part of my vehement feminism. But with Jay, I began to realize that this was the first time I was ever with someone where I had a perfect, calm sense of having arrived at my destination.”

Nearly 10 years later, Jay began hosting The Tonight Show and Mavis remained his biggest supporter.

June 2012

Jay made sure to give Mavis a sweet shout-out when he completed Us Weekly’s 25 Things You Don’t Know About Me feature.

“My wife and I have been married for 32 years,” he told Us. “No kids, but we have a cat.”

2014 Jay Leno and Wife Mavis Leno: A Complete Timeline of Their Relationship
Kris Connor/Getty Images

October 2014

The couple never had children together due to Mavis’ long-held preferences.

“I remember telling my mother when I was 7 or 8 that I was never going to get married or have children. To me, this is the way women get caught,” she quipped to the Washington Post in 2014.

Jay retired from The Tonight Show later that year before Jimmy Fallon took over the timeslot.

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November 2022

Jay suffered serious burns during a garage gasoline fire, which requested multiple surgeries. Before Jay was transported to the hospital for treatment, he requested a pit stop at home to inform and pick up Mavis.

“My wife doesn’t drive anymore and I didn’t want her stuck and not knowing what was going on,” Jay said during a December 2022 appearance on the Today show. “It just seemed like the right thing to do, and I think it was.”

Mavis remained at his side throughout his recovery.

2023 Jay Leno and Wife Mavis Leno: A Complete Timeline of Their Relationship
Monica Schipper/Getty Images

January 2024

Us confirmed that Jay filed a request for a conservatorship over Mavis’ estate. TMZ reported that Mavis suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, which was the foundation for Jay’s motion.

Neither Jay nor Mavis have publicly confirmed her diagnosis.

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