Anyone who knows Jay Leno knows about his passion for collecting cars. Tonight is the Season 3 premiere of Jay Leno’s Garage, where the “Tonight Show” veteran makes his way across the US, looking for unique cars with even more unique stories behind them. Leno will spend his time talking with fellow car fanatics and celebrities, learning about their own rides. But just who is Jay Leno married to? Does his wife share his interest in cars?
Read on to learn about Mavis Leno, Jay’s wife.
1. She and Jay Leno Do Not Have Kids
In her interview with The Washington Post in 2014, Mavis took responsibility for she and Jay not having any children, and cites the “The Honeymooners” as having a big impact on that decision.
I would see a young woman who was very attractive, and a thousand times smarter, and she’s living in this little tenement hovel with her husband, Ralph, and then this Ed Norton, who has an even hotter wife. These men spend all their time talking about what a drag the wives are and asking how can they get away from them. It’s perfectly obvious the women are the ones trapped. 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.
Clearly, Mavis did decide to get married. When she LA Times eventually asked her what changed her mind, she responded, “It was just that by the time we were together, I was 34. I had been a feminist for years, and I finally realized that fight was won, you know? I was past it, although that was an important gesture for me to makethat I could live without being married.”
2. She Is Widely Known as a Feminist
Since 1997, Mavis Leno has been the chair of the Feminist Majority Foundation’s campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan. In 1999, she and Jay donated $10,000 to the organization.
According to her bio on the foundation’s website, Mavis joined the Board of Directors of the Feminist Majority Foundation in 1997. During her time on the board, she “testified and made numerous television and public appearances to urge the United States and the United Nations not to recognize the Taliban regime and to restore women’s human rights in Afghanistan.”
3. She Is Four Years Older Than Her Husband
In 2014, The Washington Post wrote an article about Jay Leno and his family. The piece reads, “Mavis, who at 68 is four years older than her husband, looks a lot like Sally Field in person, reads voraciously – we spent a chunk of our time chatting about Julia Child and the history of women in the military…”
4. She’s Passionate About English History
In a Los Angeles Times article, the news outlet revealed that Mavis has a passion for English history. The piece reads, “I was first struck by her depth of character and self-awarenessshe is someone with a strong sense of purpose, compassion and curiosity. What I have come to know is that shes someone who turns her wisdom into action.”
In the same interview, Mavis discussed the first time she met Jay. “It was in January- I dont remember the day. But at the time I thought, Holy s–t! That comedian is gorgeous! 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 Improvyoull meet people who can give you jobs. The first time I went, they sat us front row centerthat means youre this far from the comic. And there was Jay.”
5. She Was Angry Her Husband Was Portrayed as the Bad Guy When He Returned to Host ‘The Tonight Show’
In 2014, Mavis and her husband spoke to “60 Minutes” about how Jay was portrayed as the ‘bad guy’ when he came back to host The Tonight Show after it was promised to Conan O’Brien. Mavis tells 60 Minutes, “I’m sorry. This is a subject I’m very, very angry about to this day. It made me angry because there was this perception that for some reason Jay had decided to give up the show. It was like he gave the show to Conan and then he took it back. That was not what happened, OK? (LAUGH) That was not what happened.”