IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Who is Jimmy Kimmel’s wife? All about Molly McNearney

Meet the funny woman who not only lives with the “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” host, but works with him every day.
Create your free profile or log in to save this article
/ Source: TODAY

As late-night TV’s current, longest-running host, having manned the desk of ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” since 2003, Jimmy Kimmel is at the top of his game. But achieving that tenure, as well as scoring two Emmys and becoming one of Time100’s most influential people in 2018, didn’t happen overnight — or on his own.

The Brooklyn native has been making people laugh since the 1990s, co-hosting series like Comedy Central’s “The Man Show” and “Win Ben Stein’s Money,” but it wasn’t until the early 2000s that he would meet his match. When Molly McNearney joined “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” in 2003, she became a regular in the host’s life: both in front of and behind the camera.

Ahead, a dive into the funniest woman in the Kimmel household.

Hammer Museum K.A.M.P. (Kids' Art Museum Project) 2018
The Kimmel family in 2018 at the Hammer Museum Kids’ Art Museum Project in Los Angeles: (from l.) Jimmy Kimmel, Billy Kimmel, Jane Kimmel and Molly McNearney.Stefanie Keenan / Getty Images for Hammer Museum

McNearney first met Kimmel at work, where he ‘insulted’ her

McNearney, 46, joined “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” in 2003 as an assistant to the executive producer. Three years later, she took on a writer’s role, then was promoted to co-head writer in 2008, People magazine reported in 2009.

She first met Kimmel at the beginning of her time working on the show, and although their love story has a happy ending, their initial meet-cute could actually be described as more of a meet-meh.

24th Annual American Cinematheque Honors Matt Damon - Arrivals
McNearney and Kimmel in 2010 at the American Cinematheque 24th Annual Award Presentation to Matt Damon in Beverly Hills, California.Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

“When I first met him, he insulted me,” she told Glamour magazine in 2010. “The executive producer brought me into his office and said, ‘This is Molly; she’s my new assistant.’ Jimmy barely looked up from his desk until my EP said, ‘She competes in triathlons,’ and then Jimmy looked up at me and said, ‘That is really stupid! What a waste of time.’”

At that time, Kimmel was dating comedian Sarah Silverman; the two split in 2008 and he began dating McNearney the following year.

Kimmel won her over with food McNearney even calls him her ‘Martha Stewart’

According to a 2014 interview with Glamour, Kimmel’s recipe for romance includes homemade foods McNearney loves. “He cooked for me, and that was it,” she told the magazine. “It sealed the deal.”

She added, “He loves to give gifts, and he loves to feed people. He’s really the ultimate host. I really am married to Martha Stewart.”

That last bit turned out to be more accurate than she could have known; in 2020, Kimmel appeared on “Finding Your Roots” with Henry Louis Gates Jr. and discovered he and Stewart are cousins!

35th Kennedy Center Honors
Kimmel and McNearney at the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C., in 2012.Kris Connor / Getty Images

After Kimmel and McNearney began dating regularly, he continued to supply her with the necessities.

“When we started dating, I would go back and forth between my place and his,” she told Entertainment Weekly in 2015. “I have my stuff at my house, and I like my own space. One time, he was in the bathroom for a very long time, and I just figured something was going on internally.”

Later, he gave her a big box filled with two of everything she used so she would be stocked in each household and not have to lug around her Dopp kit with every stay.

Before getting engaged, McNearney and Kimmel kept their relationship secret from co-workers

McNearney said she was “nervous” to tell the “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” staff about their relationship at first, as everyone on the show worked so closely together and she was the only female writer in the writers’ room.

“I didn’t want to change the dynamic,” she told Glamour. “We love to make fun of Jimmy over here, myself included.”

All bets were off, however, when Kimmel proposed to McNearney while vacationing in South Africa’s Kruger National Park in 2012.

2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter - Arrivals
Kimmel and McNearney at the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, California.Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

The couple tied the knot in front of several Hollywood A-listers

McNearney and Kimmel married in 2013 in Ojai, California, People reported, with invitations asking guests to donate to charity rather than contribute gifts.

The bride wore a strapless white gown, while the groom looked dapper in a black tux and bow tie. Celebrity guests included Ben Affleck, Howard Stern, Emily Blunt and John Krasinski.

For McNearney, the wedding marked her first walk down the aisle. Kimmel, however, was previously married to Gina Maddy from 1988 to 2003. They had two children together: Katie Kimmel (born in 1991) and Kevin Kimmel (born in 1993), who looks a lot like Dad.

McNearney and Kimmel share two kids

Now a mom of two, McNearney welcomed her first baby with Kimmel in 2014. They named her Jane, and both parents had something to say about it on X, formerly known as Twitter.

About three years later, the couple’s second baby, named William John (“Billy”), came along. He was born with a congenital heart condition.

Kimmel addressed the details of the birth on his show in May 2017, pivoting during the monologue to urge the passage of universal health care.

“If your baby is going to die and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make,” he said. “We need to take care of each other.”

The tear-jerking monologue went viral, and when McNearney saw it she “sobbed through the entire thing,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “He came home that night, and I just hugged him and I wouldn’t let go.”

McNearney’s career continues to flourish

Not only a co-head writer and executive producer for “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”, McNearney has also worked on the broadcast ceremonies for the Academy Awards and Primetime Emmy Awards (both of which Kimmel has frequently hosted).  

She also appears on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” every so often in a skit called “Win Jimmy’s Crap.”

“The man doesn’t know how to clean up or get rid of stuff,” she said on a 2023 episode of Kimmel’s podcast, “Strike Force Five,” which he hosts with other late-night talk show hosts.

Their marriage is still going strong

The two have been married 10 years and counting, often capitulating to the way work and home life tend to blur.

“I will sometimes dream a joke or think of something in the middle of the night, and then what I do is, because I cannot hold it in, I will wait until she’s stirring and then I’ll tell her what I thought (up),” Kimmel said on the “Smartless” podcast in 2020. “Deep in my skull, I think to myself, This is her job, so it’s OK for me to do this. That’s how I rationalize it.”