Crime writer Michelle McNamara is perhaps best known for her tireless efforts to identify the Golden State Killer and give a voice to his victims, chronicled in her book, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. Tragically, both McNamara’s pursuit of the identity of the serial killer and her book about this journey were both cut short abruptly when she died on April 21, 2016, but her husband at the time, comedian Patton Oswalt, ensured that her book was published.
McNamara and Oswalt had been married for 11 years, since September 2005, and they had a daughter together, Alice, in 2009. On April 21, 2016, McNamara died in her sleep due to the effects of multiple drugs in her system paired with a previously-unknown heart condition causing blocked arteries. Her death was unexpected and in the months following her passing, Oswalt was very open about his grief and being suddenly thrust into the role of a single parent.
Just over a year after McNamara’s death, however, Oswalt began dating actress Meredith Salenger. Their relationship progressed quickly, and they tied the knot on November 4, 2017. Here’s what you need to know:
Oswalt & Salenger Took Their Relationship Public in June 2017 & Married Soon After
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Happy Anniversary my love!!!! I’m so happy I get to spend my life with you and Alice! You are both the light of my life and I am forever full of gratitude that I found you!!!! You are also both maniacs!!! And I love you!!!!!! **scroll for maniac kisses** I just want to EAT her face off!!!! #FirstYearOfMarriage
Oswalt and Salenger made their public debut in June 2017 at the premiere of Baby Driver 14 months after the death of his first wife, PEOPLE reported. Then, on July 6, the couple confirmed their engagement with a series of photos posted to Instagram by Salenger.
The outlet later reported that they married on November 4, 2017, in Los Angeles. Oswalt told PEOPLE, “I’ve only ever felt that level of joy once before in my life, and it was so profound and perfect it felt greedy to ever wish for it again. But I did, so now all I can do is show Meredith a level of gratitude and love that’s greater than the joy she’s brought me, and my daughter Alice. Because this is a new level of joy, and a new life, and I’ll always strive to deserve it.”
Salenger said that the two started speaking online on Facebook in late February 2017 as friends and didn’t meet in person until May 20. Oswalt said every night they would speak about politics, books and life and by the time they met in person, he was in love.
Although the couple faced some criticism at what some felt was a quick engagement, Salenger responded by posting on Twitter that she’d experienced nothing but love and support from McNamara’s family and friends. She said that she was grateful to be the person to help Oswalt find happiness in his life again after he went through a year of “intense therapy and openly grieving and dealing with his pain.” She also said what mattered most to her was that Alice feels loved and happy.
“I have waited 47 years to find true love,” she wrote. “Creating our family unit while honoring the brilliant gift Michelle has given me will be my life’s goal and happiness. I am deeply in love with both Patton and Alice and very much looking forward to a beautiful happy life having adventures together.”
Oswalt Has Been Very Open About His Marriage With Salenger & How Important She Is to Him & His Daughter
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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.
In the years since his marriage to Salenger, Oswalt has opened up about the impact meeting Salenger has had on his life and that of his young daughter Alice. In November 2019, he spoke to PEOPLE about how there was some “weirdness” at first as his daughter adjusted to his new relationship. He said, “There’s been times where [Alice] goes, ‘With Mommy, I didn’t have to do this,’ [and I tell her], ‘Well, that’s because you were 5, and if Mommy were here, you’d be doing all this same stuff — probably even more.'”
On December 31, 2019, Oswalt posted on Instagram about how lucky he felt to have Salenger in his life. “My decade suffered a HUGE disruption when I was just over halfway through,” he wrote. “And this miracle woman swooped down and pulled Alice & I out of the lake of endless gloom we were sleeping in.”