Trying Times for John Mulaney

Photo by Matt Winklemeyer, taken on March 3, 2018, Some rights reserved,

John Mulaney is known for his light-hearted and goofy stand-ups that elicit many joyful feelings and appeal to a wide audience. There is a lot that lies behind the three-piece suits and wide grins that Mulaney has been open about (for the most part). Some cuts are too deep to share during an hour-long stand-up, but Mulaney has been open about his addiction in the past. He and his ex-wife, Anna Marie Tendler, have led a private marriage, while still sharing their seemingly wholesome, loving relationship that Mulaney’s fans have come to know and love. Some things have slipped through the cracks, such as their divorce that has been circulating in the media the past few weeks. John Mulaney and Anna Marie Tendler have, unfortunately, announced their separation. 

Starting as a young teenager, Mulaney dabbled in alcohol and substance abuse and it only intensified until his decision to become sober as a 23-year old. He managed to stay clean for about 15 years until the COVID pandemic sequestered him and his wife in their small New York apartment. Mulaney didn’t share many details about the events leading up to his relapse, but the announcement that he checked himself into a rehab center on the West Coast for 60 days in December began to infest tabloids.

Preceding his intervention held by his friends, Mulaney weighed only 105 pounds. During his online appearances on shows during quarantine, his malnutrition was becoming unmistakable, but it was a shock to find out how out of hand it had gotten. Some of his closest friends, like Seth Myers, Nick Kroll, Bill Hader, Natasha Lyonne and Fred Armisen, made an effort to intervene as they were scared for his life. 

Anna Marie Tendler and John Mulaney met during a trip to Martha’s Vineyard in the late 2000s. Mulaney was driving a group of people back to where they were staying while Tendler rode shotgun. In 2018, Mulaney shared on Instagram a relic from February 16, 2010, when Tendler wrote on a piece of paper, “John is the man I’m going to marry.” Mulaney made his relationship with Tendler public in 2012 and then they tied the knot in 2014. A lot happened between the time that they spent in a relationship until their wedding day, like their adoption of fan-favorite French Bulldog, Petunia. Their marriage lasted six years before they split.

John Mulaney and Anna Marie Tendler publicized their separation this month, but apparently, Mulaney filed for divorce before he checked himself into rehab. The origins of their decision are completely unknown, but it has sent their fanbase into an emotional spiral. The couple shares no malicious feelings, and Tendler has said that “[she] is heartbroken that John has decided to end [their] marriage,” and she wishes him “support and success as he continues his recovery.” Mulaney has made no comments on the matter as he is still in the process of recovery.

Mulaney has returned to performing at City Winery to practice his new material, but attendees are required to turn their phones in at the door. It is refreshing to hear that he is back to performing and he is moving forward after such a terrifying battle with addiction. As of May 10, he was 141 days sober. He is treating his shows like group therapy because comedy has always been a safe place for him. He has described his experience with the audience as, “his most intimate relationship.” His new jokes have a raw, vulnerable edge with his new experiences. He said that he realized that when he’s alone, he is “with the person who tried to kill him.” It will be rewarding to see John Mulaney make a full recovery, but some of these self-deprecating jokes that help him to cope with his experiences will be hard for many fans to digest. 

The plot thickens as Mulaney allegedly has a new girlfriend, Olivia Munn. They met at Seth Myers’ wedding in 2013, but apparently remained acquaintances until they met again supposedly at a Catholic church in California. 

Olivia Munn is a 40-year-old American actress and former television host. She lives in Los Angeles, which explains her encounter with Mulaney at church. She has made appearances in “Iron Man 2” and “X-Men: Apocalypse.” She has said in the past that she used to be ‘obsessed’ with Mulaney and when they met at Myers’ wedding in 2013, she just really enjoyed his presence. 

It would be impossible to understand what the comedian could be going through and thinking about right now as a regular fan. His actions may not make sense, but the true story hasn’t been revealed and who knows if it ever will be. Fans are trying to connect the dots with the news that has been released, but also trying to not assume the worst.

Mulaney’s fans can still hold onto any hope they can muster in these trying times, but his chapter with Tendler is over for the foreseeable future. The best thing to do is to respect John Mulaney in his recovery process and he clearly needs space to grow. He has taken a long break from stand up due to COVID, but also due to his mental state. Mulaney is a regular guy just like everyone else and he is just fighting his demons in the way that suits him best.