Jay Leno is leaving The Tonight Show this week after 22 years on air. That's a big commitment! An even bigger one? His commitment to his wife Mavis Leno: They've been married for 34 years! Get to know the female half of this longtime, adorable couple.
Mavis Leno met Jay at one of his comedy shows.
Mavis was in the audience when Leno was performing at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles in 1976, and they both pretty much describe it as love at first sight. Jay explained, "Sooner or later, most women have to go to the bathroom, as soon as I got off stage I ran and just stood by the ladies room until eventually she came by ... I mean, as soon as I saw her, I kind of figured, well, this looks good, she'll stay in line. But she denies the fact that I told my friend three days after we met, 'Well, I'm probably going to marry that girl.'" Mavis explains that the physical attraction came first for her. "The chemistry was instantaneous," she gushes. "I thought he was absolutely gorgeous."
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Mavis Leno believes comedians are the best partners.
She told The Los Angeles Times, "I do not think it's an accident that comedians have the longest marriages in show business ... Don Rickles, Bob Newhart, Bob Hope. You could go on and on. [That's] a huge advantage. Being funny is just the best way to get through life in a relationship."
She's one of the strongest feminists around.
Though she keeps a much lower profile than her famous husband, Mavis Leno is a major power player in the fight for women's rights worldwide. She's been the chair of the Feminist Majority Foundation's Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan since 1997, and in 1999, she and Jay donated $100,000 to the organization, which fights for women's rights in Afghanistan under the militant Taliban rule. Mavis Leno was also said to be a major influence on U.S. President Bill Clinton concerning the Taliban after the organization exposed their treatment of women.
She didn't want to get married ... but Jay Leno convinced her.
How? With finances. He laughed, "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."
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Mavis and Jay Leno have some amazing marriage advice.
Want it to last? Listen to Leno's lady: "The whole thing is simple: Pick the right person; be the right person."
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