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Jay Leno and wife Mavis share rare update on dementia battle and marriage on unexpected date night

The former Tonight Show host and his wife have been married for over four decades

Ahad Sanwari
Ahad Sanwari - New York
Senior WriterNew York
On 1 May 2024
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Jay Leno and his wife Mavis Leno made a rare public appearance on Tuesday at the premiere of Jerry Seinfeld's Netflix directorial venture, Unfrosted, in Los Angeles.

The former Tonight Show host, who turned 74 earlier this week, was all smiles as he and his wife of over four decades, 77, posed for photos on the carpet and couldn't keep their hands off each other.

Such was especially evident in their interview on the red carpet with Entertainment Tonight, in which Mavis responded that she was "feeling great" about being out for the night.

Jay then shared that they were glad to be out for a light-hearted date night. "Thought I'd come to something fun for a change," he quipped. "Everything is so controversial. Just to come to a funny, silly movie – it's great. I think people will have a great time." 

Mavis has been battling dementia and earlier this month, her husband since 1980 was granted conservatorship of her estate and financial assets.

The pair gushed about being able to spend time with each other, with Mavis tightly hugging her husband. "Well, we hang out every day," he said. "We have a great time. 44 years [married], so we're doing good."

Mavis Leno, Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld and Jessica Seinfeld attend Netflix's "Unfrosted" premiere at The Egyptian Theatre on April 30, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.© Getty Images
Mavis and Jay Leno made an appearance at the LA premiere of Jerry Seinfeld's "Unfrosted"

Jay was also asked about celebrating his birthday, and remarked that he wasn't a big "birthday guy," to which his wife added: "Neither of us are." Jay continued: "My life is a party anyway, so every day is a good day."

MORE: Jay Leno makes bold statement about impact of debilitating car and motorcycle accidents

In January, the Jay Leno's Garage host filed for conservatorship of his wife's estate, which he was ultimately granted in a hearing at the Los Angeles County Superior Court on April 9.

Mavis Leno and Jay Leno attend Netflix's "Unfrosted" premiere at The Egyptian Theatre on April 30, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.© Getty Images
"We hang out every day. We have a great time. 44 years [married], so we're doing good."

People reported that Mavis' lawyer was "in agreement" with the conservatorship, saying that the philanthropist was "receiving excellent care with her husband, Mr. Leno." The judge also added: "I think she's in the least restrictive environment. I think she's in very good care with Mr. Leno."

MORE: Jay Leno talks surprising retirement plans after terrifying car fire and motorcycle crash

Jay also revealed that he was in the midst of estate planning and assessing his wife's will, although their assets will not be an issue in the matter of their conservatorship due to them being common property.

Jay Leno and Mavis Leno© Getty Images
The former late night host was granted conservatorship over his wife's estate

Her "advanced dementia" diagnosis was made public by her husband's conservatorship filing in January, and a previous report from her neurologist also stated that she was sometimes unaware of her own date of birth, or didn't recognize her husband.

Jay and Mavis met in the 1970s when he performed at the iconic Comedy Store, and while he was initially hesitant about his prospects as a romantic partner, they hit it off and struck up a romance. 

Mavis Leno and Jay Leno attend 60th Anniversary at The Improv at Hollywood Improv on November 07, 2023 © Getty Images
Mavis' dementia battle was made public when her husband filed for conservatorship

They tied the knot in 1980, and it seems like their love for comedy remains just as strong, as it was reported earlier in April that he brought his wife to his show at the Hollywood Improv comedy club in WeHo. Mavis dedicated a majority of her time after their marriage to charitable work and philanthropy.

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