Patton Oswalt's first wife, Michelle McNamara, died unexpectedly in 2016 due to a combination of prescription drugs and a previously undiagnosed condition

By Jen Juneau
November 12, 2019 01:30 PM
Advertisement

When Patton Oswalt‘s first wife Michelle McNamara died unexpectedly in 2016 at the age of 46, she not only left behind a grieving husband, but their daughter, Alice Rigney.

The actor and comedian, 50, found love again with now-wife Meredith Salenger, whom he married in November 2017. And Alice has since adjusted to her stepmother, but Oswalt remembers that “there was some weirdness” at first — specifically surrounding his daughter’s newfound responsibilities around the house.

“When Michelle was Alice’s mom, Alice was 3, 4, 5 — she was still a little kid,” Oswalt tells Kevin Nealon in an upcoming episode of the latter’s YouTube series Hiking with Kevin. “Michelle passes away, a year or so goes by and then I marry Meredith. Now Alice is 10 and both Meredith and I are like, ‘You have responsibilities, you have some chores.’ We’re treating her like a 10-year-old.”

“There’s been times where [Alice] goes, ‘With Mommy, I didn’t have to do this,’ [and I tell her], ‘Well, that’s because you were 5, and if Mommy were here, you’d be doing all this same stuff — probably even more,’ ” he adds.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE’s free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Michelle McNamara (L) and Patton Oswalt
Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic
Patton Oswalt’s daughter Alice
Patton Oswalt Twitter

The Ratatouille voice actor admits that he is “guilty of” a similar mindset, “In that, yes, my daughter is 10, and a lot of times, I want to treat her like a 3-year-old.”

“I still want her to be this little [girl],” Oswalt says. “And I talk to her like she’s 3 and she’s like, ‘Dude, what are you doing?’ You don’t want them to grow up.”

When it comes to wanting the best for Alice, he says what he worries about most is “that she is constantly being shown examples of bad behavior being rewarded” in society.

“We are in such a f—ed up time, morally and responsibly — and that scares little kids, when they see adults acting like mean little kids and no one’s correcting them,” Oswalt continues. “So it just makes them feel, ‘Well, does anything matter?’ ”

Patton Oswalt (R), wife Meredith and daughter Alice
Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock

RELATED VIDEO: Glenn Howerton on Patton Oswalt’s New Marriage: “He’s in a Very Good Place” After Previous Wife’s Death

McNamara, a crime writer, died in April 2016 due to a “combination of drugs” in her system, “along with a condition we were unaware of,” Oswalt wrote in a statement to the Associated Press in February 2017.

He also explained that the couple, who wed in 2005, had “no idea” she had a condition that caused artery blockages. The blockages, combined with her taking the medications Adderall, Xanax and the pain medication fentanyl, caused the mother of one’s death, Oswalt said.

The actor tied the knot with Salenger in November 2017 at Jim Henson Studios in Los Angeles, and shared a photo of a sweet post-nuptials moment, where the bride and groom each held one of a smiling Alice’s hands.

Hiking with Kevin‘s full episode featuring Patton Oswalt premieres Thursday on Nealon’s YouTube channel.