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Patton Oswalt: My Daughter Saved Me From Becoming A 'Shut-In Alcoholic'

Patton Oswalt says after the sudden death of his wife, Michelle McNamara, he could have ended up in a very different place if it wasn't for his daughter.

"If I hadn't had a daughter and my wife died, we wouldn't be talking right now," he tells Playboy. "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.'"

Alice was just 7 years old when McNamara died at age 46. Oswalt says a medical condition that caused blockages in his wife's arteries combined with various medications caused her death.

"Depression is not terrifying. Depression is seductive and comforting," says Oswalt. "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."

Oswalt says he was afraid his daughter would fall into the same trap.

"There were times when I had to get her to play a game on her iPad or start a little project, and then I would say, 'Oh, let me go upstairs,' and I would go put my head in a pillow and just scream and cry because I didn't want to break down in front of her."

Oswalt recently became engaged to actress Meredith Salenger.

He says the pair got to know each other after three months of messaging online after being introduced through friends.

"We had conversations about books and philosophies and what love means and what loyalty and death are," he explains. "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."

"I'm excited, but because she gives me something that is so secure and calming, I don't have to question and worry about it. There are no mind games. I'm calm enough to let the excitement really grow, you know?"

August 22, 2017 |

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