Patton Oswalt and Meredith Salenger Are So Sweet Together

"We met for dinner, and we looked at each other, and that was it."

meredith salenger attends the 2020 vanity fair oscar party hosted by radhika jones at wallis annenberg center for the performing arts on february 09, 2020 in beverly hills, california photo by jon kopaloffwireimage
(Image credit: Jon Kopaloff)

Actor, comedian, and writer Patton Oswalt delighted fans when he announced that he had found love again with actor Meredith Salenger—known as a voice actor on Robot Chicken and for roles in Lake Placid and Race to Witch Mountain, among others. The two got engaged in July 2017, and married a few months later. Salenger's not just known for her acting capabilities: She's also, incredibly, a mediator, and works at the Agency for Dispute Resolution when she's not acting. Oswalt has spoken at length about his love for her—particularly during a time when he was in the middle of terrible grief. 

Oswalt's first wife, Michelle McNamara, passed away suddenly and tragically in April 2016 from an undiagnosed heart condition combined with an accidental combination of prescription medication. Since then, the actor has been honest about his grieving experience. "The lights have been turned down 50 percent on everything since she's gone," he said, dedicating his 2017 Emmys win to her. McNamara's life and work will be honored in HBO's upcoming docuseries I'll Be Gone in the Dark; Oswalt is an important part of the series, cataloguing how he worked with a team to complete McNamara's upcoming true crime book about the Golden State Killer. He often spoke about her as being kind, compassionate, and smarter than he was—some of the reasons he adored her. 

In April 2017, Oswalt shared an emotional tribute to McNamara a year after her death and removed his wedding ring in a symbolic gesture. "I couldn't bear removing it since April 21st, 2016. But now it felt obscene," he wrote, adding, "Removing the ring was removing the last symbol of denial of who I was now, and what my life is, and what my responsibilities are. But it's not fatal."

Around the same time (February), he connected with Salenger over Facebook over a missed dinner party. They had instant chemistry, Oswalt explained, and they didn't meet up until May.

“Because we talked every single night on Facebook for three months and really got to know each other,” he told Us Weekly, “I got to know what an extraordinary human being she was. So it was just a no-brainer for me to know that this is the person that I want to be with. It took talking to her nonstop every night for three months and then it took knowing her for a month and then it was like, yea, this is the person I’m going to spend my life with.”

Salenger made it Insta-official with Oswalt in June (sharing a photo first, then an ID shortly after) and ever since has been adorably profuse about how much she loves him and Alice.

That November, the two wed. “It felt like coming home,” Oswalt said at the time. Salenger shared photos of the special day:

Actor Martha Plimpton, whose dinner would have been their first meeting, officiated the wedding. Oswalt remembered,

“My favorite moment was when I was standing up at the altar and my daughter came down the aisle—she was a flower girl. And she just spontaneously gave me this huge hug...It was like, we’re safe now. Things are OK. I almost started crying. I was so happy the way that she held me. Like, things are OK now. It felt amazing. That moment.”

Salenger has been vocal on Twitter in support of causes she cares about, as well as fiercely supportive of her husband, his late wife, and her step-daughter.

In a recent comedy special, Oswalt called Salenger a "poem of a woman." He's also raved about her as a stepmom to his daughter Alice, saying, "She’s just an example of the kind of woman I want Alice to grow up to be."

"You can be a good mom but not be then kind of thing that you want a kid to emulate. And Meredith is both."

Katherine J. Igoe
Contributing Editor

Katherine’s a contributing syndications editor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle. In her role, she writes stories that are syndicated by MSN and other outlets. She’s been a full-time freelancer for over a decade and has had roles with Cosmopolitan (where she covered lifestyle, culture, and fashion SEO content) and Bustle (where she was their movies and culture writer). She has bylines in New York TimesParentsInStyle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Her work has also been syndicated by ELLEHarper’s BazaarSeventeenGood Housekeeping, and Women’s Health, among others. In addition to her stories reaching millions of readers, content she's written and edited has qualified for a Bell Ringer Award and received a Communicator Award. 

Katherine has a BA in English and art history from the University of Notre Dame and an MA in art business from the Sotheby's Institute of Art (with a focus on marketing/communications). She covers a wide breadth of topics: she's written about how to find the very best petite jeanshow sustainable travel has found its footing on Instagram, and what it's like to be a professional advice-giver in the modern world. Her personal essays have run the gamut from learning to dress as a queer woman to navigating food allergies as a mom. She also has deep knowledge of SEO/EATT, affiliate revenue, commerce, and social media; she regularly edits the work of other writers. She speaks at writing-related events and podcasts about freelancing and journalism, mentors students and other new writers, and consults on coursework. Currently, Katherine lives in Boston with her husband and two kids, and you can follow her on Instagram. If you're wondering about her last name, it’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.