Why John Mulaney Asked Wife Anna Marie Tendler For A Divorce Soon After Checking Out Of Rehab

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John Mulaney and Anna Marie Tendler

Comedian John Mulaney and his wife, Anna Marie Tendler, are getting divorced after six years of marriage.

The announcement comes several months after it was revealed Mulaney, who has been public about his longtime battle with addiction, had checked into a rehab facility after relapsing.

Addiction appears to be a central issue in the divorce, as both Mulaney and Tendler mentioned the comic’s recovery in their separate statements.

"John will not have any further comment as he continues to focus on his recovery and getting back to work," said a representative for Mulaney.

Tendler responded with a statement of her own, in which she said, "I am heartbroken that John has decided to end our marriage. I wish him support and success as he continues his recovery."

Why did John Mulaney ask wife Anna Marie Tendler for a divorce?

Tendler insinuated that the separation was not an entirely mutual decision by stating that her now-estranged husband had made the decision to part ways.

This came as a surprise to fans of the couple who often see Mulaney gushing over his wife, calling her his “hero” and “the greatest woman in the world.”

Sobriety cannot always save a marriage.

In fact, 7.3% of marriages that end in divorce do so due to substance abuse.

RELATED: No, You Can't 'Save' Your Addicted Partner

Mulaney and Tendler’s separation, while upsetting, is understandable due to the complicated nature of addiction and how it impacts families.

“Alcoholism is known as a ‘family disease,’ not only because of genetics but also because of family dynamics,” couples counselor and licensed clinical psychotherapist, Cheryl Gerson tells us.

Being married to an addict can set the tone in a relationship and create certain norms and expectations that can be difficult to change as one partner finds sobriety.

Gerson tells us that family members don’t always join their addict partner on their recovery journey at the speed you might anticipate.

“When a member gets sober, they are upsetting the family system," Gerson says. "While one might rationally expect the family to be overjoyed that the member they were all worried about is in recovery, it’s not uncommon for the family’s first reaction to be rage at the change in the ‘family rules.’”

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Mulaney’s relapse coincided with divorce rumors.

Mulaney spent 60 days in a rehab facility at the end of 2020 to treat cocaine and alcohol abuse.

Tendler deleted her social media days before he entered the facility, sparking rumors that the couple was struggling.

Relapse can be as challenging for families as it is for addicts. Partners may not always trust their spouses while they are in recovery.

Mulaney relapsed after over a decade of sobriety, which must have been incredibly difficult for his wife.

Family members and partners who see such relapses firsthand and experience the fallout from them may be slow to trust them fully.

Spouses are often the ones who have to deal with the financial burdens of addiction, or they may even be covering for their spouse by lying about their relapse.

This emotional toll is not always easily mended by sobriety.

Research also shows men who suffer from substance abuse and their wives are more likely to report lower satisfaction in their marriages than those without addiction issues.

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Gerson says this tense dynamic is challenging for addicts, who may struggle to navigate sobriety while working on a marriage.

“It is hard to get and stay sober while living with another, or others, who don’t know what to do to help and may interfere with early sobriety. Difficult, definitely not impossible,” says Gerson.

he tells us it is possible for a partner to unintentionally trigger a relapse, particularly if they are encouraging them to drink.

Navigating addiction and marital breakdown is complicated.

Mulaney and Tendler are one of many couples who have been impacted by addiction.

In a marriage that has been torn apart by addiction, separation may be a way for addicts to escape their past. However, Gerson tells us that finding sobriety alone is not easy.

“What an addict needs, to develop long-term sobriety, is a ‘village,’ if you will,” she says. “A village of other people who can both understand and support them through the many influences that induce the person to ‘go back’ to their substance. Often an educated family can be part of this.”

Alcoholism and divorce have a kind of symbiotic relationship.

An increase in consumption of one liter per capita increases the divorce rate by about 20%. Conversely, an increase of .0001% in the divorce rate brings about a 10% increase in alcohol consumption.

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Alice Kelly is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Catch her covering all things social justice, news, and entertainment. Keep up with her on Twitter for more.