Patton OswaltHe is a comedian, actor and writer. You probably know him well. The King of Queens or as the voice of Remy the rat in Pixar’s Ratatouille. Chances are, you also recognize the name of Patton Oswalt’s wife, Michelle McNamara for her true crime writing and journalism. Many have speculated about the short time between McNamara’s sudden death and the relationship with Patton Oswalt’s new wife, Meredith Salenger. We’re breaking down this timeline, Oswalt’s new relationship, and the internet backlash it inspired.
Five years ago, Patton Oswalt was separated from his first wife.
April 2021 marked the five-year anniversary of Michelle McNamara’s death. McNamara, a respected true crime investigator and writer, was 46 years old when she died. An accidental toxic cocktail of Adderall and Fentanyl combined with Xanax caused her death in her sleep.
McNamara was still writing at the time she died. I’ll Be Gone In The Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer.This true crime novel tells the story about the Golden State Killer, which she actually invented. It also details her involvement in researching and investigating the famous unsolved serial murder case. Oswalt made it his mission for the next two years to ensure her book was published. Just days after the four-year anniversary of McNamara’s death, the case was solved. After 42 years of investigations, Joseph James DeAngelo finally was identified as the Golden State Killer. He was arrested.
This was thanks, in large part, to McNamara’s linking of the crimes and persistent attention to the case. Her book. I’ll Be Gone In The Dark, The #1 position. New York Times Bestseller. It inspired the HBO docu-series with the same name.
Did He Get Too Ex-Married Too Fast?
After McNamara’s sudden death in April 2016, Oswalt was openly devastated. Oswalt was grieving loss and was also a single father to Alice, their 12-year-old daughter. Oswalt got engaged to Meredith Salenger in July 2017. This was just three months after he lost his job. They were married in November 2017. Oswalt was married to Oswalt in November 2017.
Oswalt and Salenger met over Facebook as a result of a dinner party invite that they both couldn’t attend. The relationship blossomed into messaging daily for three months before finally coming to an end in person in May.
He responded to the backlash regarding his relationship timeline and said the Guardian, “I feel like I’m only living this life. I don’t owe anyone else anything else.” Oswalt’s words have helped to squash the questions about how he chose to cope with his loss. He cited that Salenger helped him and his daughter during a dark time, rather than erasing his first wife’s memory. In an Instagram post on the 5 year anniversary of McNamara’s death, Oswalt discussed how the day made him think of his late wife, how her death “shaped” their daughter, Alice, and how he and Alice have helped each other cope with their loss. He went on to add that, “Meredith swooped into our lonely, broken lives and helped put the pieces back together, stronger and sleeker than they were before.”
The reality is that everyone has their own way of dealing with tragedy. What matters most is finding joy again. Oswalt and Salenger’s love brought joy out of devastation for them and for Alice. As time passes, the three of them continue honoring McNamara’s amazing legacy. In Oswalt’s words, the anniversary of McNamara’s death “gets a little less dark every year when I see how Alice—a living piece of Michelle safe in the hands of Meredith—keeps walking in light.”