Anna Marie Tendler, the artist who divorced John Mulaney in a high-profile split in 2021, has opened up about her mental health struggles prior to the end of her marriage.

In an essay for Elle about the loss of her beloved French bulldog Petunia, who died in April, Tendler described her deep bond with Petunia and how the dog helped support her throughout the dissolution of her marriage.

“Petunia and I moved to Connecticut in December 2020, in the wake of my severe mental health breakdown and what appeared to be the impending end of my marriage,” Tendler wrote. “We fused even more deeply together in an attuned and totally symbiotic relationship. She never let me out of her sight. In fact, she watched me intently, as if I was the thing she now needed to guard.”

Tendler went on to say that her mental health “hinged wholly” on Petunia, adding that when she was hospitalized for mental health issues in 2021, including self-harm and suicidal ideation, she was asked to write a list of her reasons to continue living. “Petunia was the one and only thing on that list,” she wrote. When she returned home, Petunia served a new role as a protector: “she seemed to unlock an extra part of herself that was always there, waiting to emerge when it needed to,” she continued.

Tendler became the center of intense media coverage and scrutiny in May 2021, when news of the end of her six-year marriage to Mulaney broke. The split was announced a few months after the comedian had completed a stint in rehab for alcohol and drug addiction, amidst rumors of a relapse.

The news devastated fans of Mulaney, who frequently discussed his married life with Tendler and Petunia in his standup act. At the time of the split, Tendler said in a statement that she was “heartbroken that John has decided to end our marriage.”

In June 2021, Mulaney was photographed for the first time with actress Olivia Munn, whom he had reportedly met at a wedding in 2013. Following months of rumors, in September 2021, Mulaney confirmed that Munn was pregnant with their child, welcoming their son Malcolm in November 2021.

News of their relationship and Munn’s pregnancy was met with intense backlash by fans, who felt they had forged an affinity with Tendler via Mulaney’s standup. In his standup, Mulaney joked about the public response to Munn’s pregnancy, saying it received “mixed reviews.” Munn has also commented on being at the receiving end of the firestorm, saying she didn’t want to “play the game” of engaging with fans over speculation about their relationship.


In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar last year, Tendler alluded to experiencing mental health struggles after the divorce. “Everything that has transpired has been totally shocking and I think surreal,” she said at the time. “In a way, I feel like, well, it can only go up from here, because I reached the depth of where I could go.”

If you are struggling with suicidal ideation, call or text 988 to reach the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. You can also call or text The Trevor Project, which provides help and suicide-prevention resources for LGBTQ youth, at 866-466-7346 or 678-678.