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Jay Leno Seeks Conservatorship Over Wife Mavis, Who’s Living with Dementia

Tonight Show legend Jay Leno has filed for a conservatorship for his wife, Mavis, who has been diagnosed with dementia.

According to the filing, which was obtained by Yahoo Entertainment, Leno is seeking the conservatorship for Mavis’ estate and finances, not her person. The purpose of the arrangement is to “establish a living trust for the 77-year-old Mavis that ensures she has managed assets sufficient to provide her with future care” should Leno die before her.

The filing was made in Los Angeles Superior Court on January 26, with the paperwork initiated on November 1, 2023, and signed by Leno on November 17. A hearing is scheduled for April 9, though Mavis herself is not required to attend due to “medical inability” and “major impairment,” including orientation issues and problems with memory and concentration.

In recent years, there has been controversy around conservatorships, which is a legal status in which a court appoints a person to manage the financial and personal affairs of a minor or incapacitated person. The Britney Spears and Michael Oher conservatorship, in particular, drew much media scrutiny.

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However, the one Leno is seeking appears to be different. As attorney Chris Melcher told Yahoo, “This seems to be a standard situation. They’ve had a long marriage — over 40 years. It seems beneficial… It’s really sad to have a spouse have the inability to provide for her own needs, and it’s natural that the other spouse would do that.”

Leno, who brought Mavis along to his evening show at The Comedy & Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, CA, on Sunday, January 28, “has always handled the couple’s finances,” according to the filing, and “will continue to do so until his passing.”

The couple were seen entering the comedy club hand-in-hand on Sunday. And after the show, Mavis was spotted chatting with friends outside the venue.

“Jay is fully capable of continuing his support for Mavis’s physical and financial needs as he has throughout their marriage,” the filing states, while also noting that Jay “believes that Mavis consents to the conservatorship of the estate and to Jay’s appointment as her conservator and that she would not prefer anyone else to be appointed.”

The conservatorship will also provide for Mavis’ brother, who is noted as “her sole living heir aside from Jay.”

Leno and Mavis met at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles in the 1970s and soon hit it off. They later bought a house together, after which Leno proposed, in part so that Mavis would be covered by his insurance policy. They married on November 3, 1980, and have been together ever since.

When asked in a 2019 interview with People the secret behind his long-lasting marriage, Leno joked, “not screwing around.” He then gave a more serious answer, saying, “I always tell guys when they meet a woman … ‘Marry someone who’s the person you wish you could be, and it works out OK.’”


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