Anna Marie Tendler, the ex-wife of John Mulaney, reveals she suffered a mental breakdown shortly before the end of her marriage was announced.
In an Elle essay published on Tuesday, the 37-year-old artist discussed how her pending divorce spiraled her into depression, prompted her to change cities, and helped her forge a bond with her French bulldog.
“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,” wrote Tendler. “We fused even more deeply together in an attuned and totally symbiotic relationship. She never let me out of her sight.”
Tendler credits her beloved canine with giving her the “deepest love I had ever known.”
“My mental health hinged wholly on my dog. When I was hospitalized for depression, self-harm, and severe suicidal ideation in the first two weeks of 2021, the doctors asked me to make a list of my reasons for living,” she added. “Petunia was the one and only thing on that list.”
Tendler learned Petunia was stricken with both heart disease and a “brain tumor or brain stem disease.” She recounted the last days of her dog’s life, who died in April, in the essay.
“She took her last breaths while cradled in my arms. Even after life had left her body, I sat with her, held her, and continued to talk to her. I told her how much I love her,” Tendler remembered, who had cared for Petunia for 10 years. “I told her how grateful I was for her love and companionship. I promised her that I was okay and that I would be okay without her; crushed, lonely, but okay.”
Tendler recounted making “the decision that Petunia’s life should come to a close” and explained the French bulldog’s incredible impact on her life with Mulaney, whom she married in New York in 2014. The pair announced their split in May 2021. The news came three months after Mulaney completed a 60-day rehab stay after a relapse of his decades-long battle with addiction.
“I am heartbroken that John has decided to end our marriage,” Tendler told PEOPLE in a statement at the time of their split. “I wish him support and success as he continues his recovery.”
In January 2022, after taking time to reflect and process, Tendler told Harper’s Bazaar how she is looking forward to starting a new chapter of life.
“I feel lucky that I get to be standing on the precipice of all of these new things, that I get to possibly experience, and who knows how they will go?” she explained to the outlet. “And there is certainly something exciting about that.”
If you or someone you know needs mental health help, text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.