"With Jay, I realized that this was the first time I'd ever been with someone where I had a perfect, calm sense of having arrived at my destination," Mavis said.
Imagine being so much in love that 42 years feel less and still have the same spark. Sounds like something out of a fairytale. But guess what? Jay Leno and his wife Mavis are living that fairytale love. The couple has been together for 42 years of their marriage.
The former The Tonight Show host met his wife in the 1970s while performing at the legendary Comedy Store. While Mavis didn't think she'd ever marry, Leno himself has admitted that he "wasn't very good at dating." But everything changed when the two met, per PEOPLE. The couple tied the knot in 1980. Mavis said in 1987, "But with Jay, I realized that this was the first time I'd ever been with someone where I had a perfect, calm sense of having arrived at my destination."
Speaking to PeopleTV about the secret to their long-lasting marriage a few years ago, Leno joked: "Not screwing around is a huge key. You can do a lot. You can leave your underwear on the doorknob for the rest of your life if you don't screw around."
After taking a serious note, Jay added: "I always tell guys when they meet a woman, 'Marry your conscience. Marry someone who's the person you wish you could be and it works out okay.'" He elaborated on this piece of wisdom in an interview with Los Angeles Times in 2014, saying: "I had this discussion with Drew Barrymore on The Tonight Show. She was asking about being married, and I said, 'You should always marry your conscience.' By that I mean, in show business—it happens in sports and politics too—you go through the usual avarice, and you need someone who will go, 'What are you doing? You don't act like this.' If you wind up with someone who enjoys those things, you go to hell pretty much together. I spent half of my life trying not to disappoint my mother and the other half trying not to disappoint my wife. I mean, you have to respect the standard. You need to be able to look in the mirror."
In their 42-year-old marriage, stepping into life's every phase, they both have brought the best out of each other. Their engagement had no ring. "I had this insurance policy, and I thought if something happened to me, my girlfriend wouldn't be covered, but if we're married, we're covered, so... we might as well get married. Not the most romantic. Mavis didn't even get an engagement ring until —" Leno said in the 2014 interview before Mavis chimed in: "He was going to get me one, but we had just bought a house, so why would I do that? I'm not that kind of person."
The couple did not celebrate their 42nd because of a recent burn accident Jay suffered. Jay has turned to his passion for cars, but on November 12, 2022, the comedian was underneath a car fixing the steam engine when a fire broke out. He suffered severe burns on his face, chest, and hands and had to undergo surgery that removed the destroyed tissue and replaced it with biological skin substitutes to speed up healing, explained Jay's doctor.
According to BBC, the comedian had two skin graft surgeries while at the Grossman Burn Center. Dr. Peter Grossman, a burn and cosmetic surgeon, revealed that Leno remained upbeat throughout his treatment, even cracking jokes and handing out cookies to children who were also being treated at the burn unit. In a press conference following Leno's accident, Dr. Grossman revealed that Mavis was "by [Leno's] side" the entire time. "[She is] obviously very concerned," he said during a press conference following the accident. "They have a very close relationship, and she's doing as well as you can expect a wife who is concerned about her husband."
Cover Image Credits: GettyImages/Kevin Winter