Anna Marie Tendler Speaks Out About Her 'Mental Health Breakdown' Amid John Mulaney Divorce

John Mulaney and Annamarie Tendler
Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

The stand-up comic's ex-wife is speaking out about the painful loss of her pet pooch in a new editorial.

For Anna Marie Tendler, the death of her beloved French bulldog, Petunia, hit harder than many might have imagined. The artist and author recently penned an emotional op-ed for Elle magazine about her beloved pooch and the role she played in helping Tendler move on following her very public divorce from comedian John Mulaney.

Tendler and Mulaney both announced the news of Petunia's death in April after a series of health complications made it necessary to put her to sleep. In Tendler's new essay on Petunia's last days, it's clear just how difficult that decision really was.

"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."

Tendler wrote about how, through most of Petunia's life, she did something called "resource guarding," which meant she would growl and declare ownership over toys and basically anything that would land on the floor. However, after Tendler's emotional turmoil, her guarding habits changed.

"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, though, where guarding once incited her primal rage, she would now guard me with the deepest kind of love I had ever known," Tendler recalled.

The 37-year-old multimedia artist explained that, amid her marriage falling apart, her "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. Petunia was the one and only thing on that list," she revealed. "When I returned home, it was as if Petunia knew this and took her job very seriously."

"She mellowed, almost overnight. Except for an errant sock theft here and there, she stopped resource guarding. She sat at my feet at every meal. She followed me around my property without a leash, never straying more than 20 feet and always galloping back to me when she did," Tendler continued. "Petunia became an entirely new version of herself."

Tendler confirmed her split from Mulaney in May 2021. Shortly after, Mulaney went public with his relationship with actress Olivia Munn and later announced they were expecting a child together. Mulaney and Munn share a 1-year-old son, Malcolm.

Mulaney and Tendler were married for six years prior to their breakup. Mulaney checked himself into a rehab facility for 60 days in December 2020 after struggling with alcohol and drug abuse. In a statement in May 2021, Tendler described herself as "heartbroken," saying that Mulaney was the one who "decided to end our marriage." 

Reflecting on her painful split in her new op-ed, Tendler said of Petunia, "She was my constant through marriage, four moves, graduate school, a career change (or two), a mental health crisis, a divorce, and finally a reinvention."

However, Petunia's litany of health problems and a likely future of painful physical distress led Tendler to the realization that there was only one humane option and put Petunia to sleep at their home in Connecticut.

"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. 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 recalled. "I thanked her for staying with me -- for guarding me --until I was strong enough to survive without her."

Tendler previously reflected on her split from Mulaney in January 2022 in a new profile for Harper's Bazaar,

"Everything that has transpired has been totally shocking and I think surreal," Tendler said, recalling the unexpected divorce. "In a way, I feel like, well, it can only go up from here, because I reached the depth of where I could go."