Comedian and actor Joel McHale has been married to his wife, Sarah Williams, for more than two decades and they have two sons together.
Despite McHale’s public profile, Williams has preferred to stay out of the spotlight. McHale rarely posts about her on social media but when he does, it’s to lavish his wife with praise and express just how much he loves her.
It’s unclear whether Williams will make an appearance during tonight’s New Year’s celebrations. McHale is co-hosting New Year’s Eve Toast & Roast on FOX alongside fellow actor and prodducer Ken Jeong.
Here’s what you need to know about Sarah Williams:
1. Sarah Williams Is From Seattle & Often Shares Heartwarming Posts on Instagram About Her Parents
Williams is a native of Washington state and grew up in the Seattle area, according to her Facebook page. Like her husband, Williams graduated from the University of Washington. She majored in psychology.
Williams has shared memories about her childhood and family on Instagram. She has an older brother named Richard who is about two years older than her. She posted this adorable throwback photo from when they were children and lovingly wrote, “Thank you for paving the way. I love you and am so thankful for you.”
Williams tragically lost her father when she was 10-years-old. She wrote on Instagram that when she was in the 5th grade, her father served as her basketball coach. Toward the end of the season, he was killed in a car accident. Williams typically writes about him on Father’s Day and on his birthday to express gratitude for the time they had together, however short it was. In September 2018, Williams wrote, “Thank you for 10 amazing years of living on this earth with you and for teaching me all the most important things I know, especially how to love. I miss you everyday.”
Williams has also posted about having a close relationship with her mother, Sally, who still lives in Washington. Williams has often highlighted her mother’s strength and sense of humor, even as Sally deals with Alzheimer’s. Williams posted a photo alongside her mother from approximately 1999 on Mother’s Day and wrote in part, “Thank you mom for everything. Widowed at 42, you have lived with M.S. since you were 33 and now Alzheimer’s. Through it all you LIVE with joy, laughter, style and faith. I am more in awe of you all the time. I love you!”
2. McHale Asked One of Williams’ Friends for Permission Before Taking Her on a Date & One Year Later, Williams Wore Her Mother’s Wedding Dress When They Tied the Knot
McHale and Williams met in 1995 when they were both in their early 20s. McHale told Redbook in a 2011 interview that before meeting Williams, he had never had much luck in the romance department. He actually called one of Williams’ friends for permission to ask Williams for a date. “I called her friend and asked if I could ask her out. She was like, “‘I’ll ask, but fat chance, buddy,'” McHale recalled. “But my wife took the chance. I’m sure she was like, ‘There’s no one else around, so I might as well.'”
McHale may not have expected it but the date went well and sparks quickly flew. Maybe they bonded over hairstyle choices; Williams shared a throwback photo of her and McHale together from the 1990s and joked about how they had the same haircut.
Within one year, Williams and McHale tied the knot. They got married on July 20, 1996. Williams wore her mother’s dress from 1967 for the occasion.
On their 24th anniversary, Williams shared a black-and-white photo from their wedding day on Instagram. Williams wrote in the caption, “We were young and in love and probably naive, but I am so thankful we found each other and keep choosing each other. I love you!” In 2017, Williams posted the photo of her and McHale cutting the wedding cake and wrote, “21 years ago today, we were just babies. I couldn’t have picked a better partner for life. Thank you @joelmchale for marrying me.”
3. Williams Is a Professional Artist
Williams took art history classes at the University of Washington but did not pursue a potential career as an artist until later in her professional life. According to her profile on the Carrington Arts Gallery website, Williams said she had been “afraid to take studio art classes” as a college student.
After college, her first job took her to Belfast in Northern Ireland. She served as a youth worker at a community center before returning home to Seattle. According to her bio, Williams worked for a “sportswear clothing line and then as a Creative Director for a greeting card/stationery company.” The family moved to Los Angeles for McHale’s acting career in 2000 and it served as the push Williams may have needed to pursue art. Williams said she took collage classes at Barnsdall Art Park and studied with artist Franklyn Liegal at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.
Williams explained her inspiration on the gallery’s website and discussed her preferred materials:
I get a lot of inspiration for my art from nature and biology in its multitude of forms. A picture I took of a tree stump on its side beached on Vashon Island, Washington serves as a running motif and can be found in the three pieces in this exhibit. For this series, the idea of the brain and its complexity underlies my approach to each artwork. In the piece titled “Save”, through multiple layers of paint and collage as well as color, I’m playing with the idea of memories: some are darker and more clouded, while others are more vibrant and present. The piece “Boundary Issues” delves a little deeper into what happens when things start to break down in the brain as is the case with Alzheimer’s Disease. I’ve used some text in this piece that is somewhat hard to decipher as happens with Alzheimer’s. There is a subtle reference to the outline of a skull in the white-washed acrylic. The piece “Bridge in the night” centers around a photograph took of a wash near downtown Los Angeles and the piece has more of the feel of a deconstructed landscape colliding with organic shapes to it. With all of my work, I use layers of collaged papers and photographs, acrylic paint and photocopy transfers. Sanding away the layers and rebuilding them, then repeating several times, informs my process.
4. Williams & McHale Have 2 Sons, 3 Dogs & 1 Rabbit
Williams and McHale’s first son, Eddie, was born in 2005. Eddie faces health issues as a baby. McHale explained to WebMD that his first son had to have open-heart surgery as an infant. “He was born with two large holes in his heart. It was horrific; we couldn’t believe it. But we just started dealing with it. There’s nothing else you can do but proceed,” McHale said. “It was a dark tunnel, but we came out the other end. For other parents, it’s a tunnel that never ends.”
Second son Isaac was born in March 2008. McHale made jokes about fatherhood in an interview with People in 2020. He told the magazine, “How have my children changed my life? I don’t have that Lamborghini Diablo because of all the money I’ve spent on them. Instead of wiping one, I now wipe three butts. But that’s happening less and less now.”
In the 2011 interview with Redbook, McHale praised Williams as a supermom. “She just thinks of things I never do. If I were taking care of the kids, they’d be running around in potato sacks. People would ask, ‘Do your kids brush their teeth?’ I’d be like,'”Yeah, every year.’ So she’s brilliant, and she’s beautiful.”
5. McHale Has Said He Is ‘Privileged’ to be Married to Williams
They’ve been married for more than 24 years but McHale and Williams still talk about each other as if they were newlyweds. On Williams’ 50th birthday, McHale posted several photos of her and wrote in part, “I’m privileged to be your husband and thank you for continuing to agree to be my wife. I’m so lucky(so many people would agree with this)! You’re just one of the most welcoming, loving, empathetic, thoughtful, good smelling, beautiful people ever. Ever. Ask anyone. Ask our sons. Ask any dog. I love you Sarah.”
Williams is also not shy about sharing her love for McHale. She shared a picture of her and McHale from a hike to mark his birthday and wrote, “You are the best partner in life, even if we are standing in front of ‘Bummer Trail.’ You cook, clean, pick up dog poop and so much more. I love you forever.”
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