It’s been nearly a year-and-a-half since Patton Oswalt became a widower when wife Michelle McNamara passed away in her sleep at age 46, and in a new interview with Playboy the comedian and actor admits it’s been a difficult journey.
However, he credits his daughter, Alice (who was seven when her mother died) who prevented him from sinking into a deep depression.
“If I hadn’t had a daughter and my wife died, we wouldn’t be talking right now,” Oswalt admits. “I’m not saying I would be dead, but I would be a shut-in alcoholic.”
If not for Alice, he says, “Everything would have shut down. I wouldn’t have been about anything. But with Alice, it was and is ‘You got to get up.’”
The grief he experienced after his wife’s death was “awful,” he says. “I don’t want anyone to go through what I’m going through right now. I wouldn’t even want Donald Trump to go through what I’m feeling right now.”
And while he marvels at his daughter’s resilience, he admits he’s occasionally fretted over whether she might be burying her feelings.
“There were times when I got really worried, like what if she’s just putting on a show for me, trying to be brave but inside she’s dying?” he explains. “There were times when I had to get her to play a game on her iPad or start a little project, and then I would say, ‘Oh, let me go upstairs,’ and I would go put my head in a pillow and just scream and cry because I didn’t want to break down in front of her.”
Meanwhile, Oswalt recently got engaged to actress Meredith Salenger, and tells Playboy that he was introduced to her by friends — but didn’t meet in person until after they had exchanged messages on Facebook for months.
“We have friends in common and we were messaging, and it just turned into every night for three months — February through May,” Oswalt says.
“We would talk about everything, writing these short novels to each other every night. It wasn’t like I met this person and there was some thunderbolt. During that time, we never even spoke, never met face-to-face. We had conversations about books and philosophies and what love means and what loyalty and death are. We talked all about Michelle and what I was going through and the stuff that Meredith has gone through. We didn’t meet face-to-face until May 20.”
When they did meet, he admits the attraction was immediate. “It was as if I had known this person since we were teenagers and we both had unrequited crushes since we were 14 and now it was finally crashing together,” he reveals.
“I’m excited, but because she gives me something that is so secure and calming, I don’t have to question and worry about it,” he adds. “There are no mind games. I’m calm enough to let the excitement really grow, you know?”