Patton Oswalt talks engagement to fiancee Meredith Salenger and dealing with grief


Patton Oswalt has found love once again.

The 48-year-old comedian, whose wife Michelle McNamara died in April 2016, is ready to begin a new chapter of his life with his fiancée, Meredith Salenger.

In a new interview with Playboy for the Sept./Oct. 2017 issue, Owalt shares how he and his 8-year-old daughter, Alice, have coped with grief in the past year and how his relationship with Salenger blossomed.

"My fiancée and I started talking February 28, through Facebook. We have friends in common and we were messaging, and it just turned into every night for three months-- February through May," Oswalt shares. "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 the two finally did meet, the Talking for Clapping star says, "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."

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Patton Oswalt, Meredith Salenger and Patton's daughter Alice
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Patton Oswalt, Meredith Salenger and Patton's daughter Alice
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LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 20: Patton Oswalt and Meredith Salenger arrive at the Los Angeles premiere of AMC's 'Preacher' season 2 held at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on June 20, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 20: Patton Oswalt and Meredith Salenger arrive at the Los Angeles premiere of AMC's 'Preacher' season 2 held at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on June 20, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 20: Meredith Salenger and Patton Oswalt arrive at the Premiere of AMC's 'Preacher' Season 2 at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on June 20, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kathryn Page/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 20: (L-R) Actress Meredith Salenger and actor/comedian Patton Oswalt attend the Premiere of AMC's 'Preacher' Season 2 at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on June 20, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Barry King/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 20: Meredith Salenger and Patton Oswalt arrive at the Premiere of AMC's 'Preacher' Season 2 at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on June 20, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kathryn Page/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 14: Actors Meredith Salenger (L) and Patton Oswalt arrive at the premiere of 'Baby Driver' at Ace Hotel on June 14, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
Happiest me! 💖🌈💖
I don't wanna brag... but check out the size of The Rock on my finger! Hahahah (photoshop via @edwardderuiter)
💖#preacher
Happiest Place on Earth #disneyland #dreamscometrue
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While the first year was difficult for Oswalt to take in, he credits his daughter for making him get up every day.

"This is going to sound selfish, but I'm forever glad that I have Alice. If I hadn't had a daughter and my wife died, we wouldn't be talking right now," he expresses. "I'm not saying I would be dead, but I would be a shut-in alcoholic. Everything would have shut down. I wouldn't have been about anything. But with Alice, it was and is 'You got to get up.' There are mornings when we're late to school because I'm sad, but I've still f**king got to get up. A night when I've had maybe one scotch with some friends, I'll say, 'That's it. I've got to take her to school tomorrow.'"

"If there were no reason to wake up, I would be morbidly obese. I'd be rewatching movies I've seen a million times, and I would have wallowed and sealed myself off in a falsely comforting bath of despair," he continues. "Depression is not terrifying. Depression is seductive and comforting. It sticks around so long because it creates this false sense of 'Oh, here's where I'm safe.' Grief is like depression's drill sergeant. It knows the tricks that depression doesn't know. Grief is like, 'Hey, depression, I taught you everything you know, but I didn't teach you everything I know. Here, watch what I can do.'"

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Patton Oswalt and his wife
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Patton Oswalt and his wife
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: Actor Patton Oswalt and wife attends the 'Young Adult' world premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre on December 8, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 12: Actor Patton Oswalt and wife Michelle Eileen McNamara attend the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 3rd annual Governors Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on November 12, 2011 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 05: Comedian Patton Oswalt (R) and wife Michelle Eileen McNamara attend the LACMA inaugural Art + Film Gala at LACMA on November 5, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: Patton Oswalt and Michelle McNamara attend the 'Young Adult' world premiere after party at the Hudson Terrace on December 8, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 05: Actor Patton Oswalt (R) and Michelle Eileen McNamara arrive at LACMA's Art And Film Gala Honoring Clint Eastwood And John Baldessari at LACMA on November 5, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 05: Actor Patton Oswalt (L) and Michelle Eileen McNamara attend LACMA Art + Film Gala Honoring Clint Eastwood and John Baldessari Presented By Gucci at Los Angeles County Museum of Art on November 5, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for LACMA)
Michelle McNamara and Patton Oswalt during The World Premiere of Disney/Pixar's 'Ratatouille' at Kodak Theater in Hollywood, Calfornia, United States. (Photo by E. Charbonneau/WireImage for Disney Pictures)
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Oswalt says he's happy to have met Salenger, sharing that she brings him "excitement and calm" and gives him something that is "so secure and calming."

"I don't have to question and worry about it," he added. "There are no mind games. I'm calm enough to let the excitement really grow, you know? One of the things I missed the most about Michelle is like the old Elvis Costello lyric: 'I miss talking in the dark.' Meredith and I talk in the dark, at night."

The couple recently had to defend their engagement from online critics, who complained that Oswalt was moving on too soon after his wife's death. The comedian expressed that his and McNamara's family were very supportive.

"When I told Michelle's sisters they were like, 'Oh my God, we were so worried. We thought you were going to be alone forever,'" he says. "If I had passed away, no f**king way would I want someone as dynamic and unique as Michelle to be pining for me. My family was terrific. My dad served in Vietnam for three years, so he's very pragmatic, like, 'Why would you make yourself miserable if you don't need to be?' He was really happy, and my mom was excited too... My brother was really happy, like, 'Oh my God. She's smart. She's sane. It's wonderful.'"


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