Melissa McCarthy, a household name known for her work in film, television, and comedy, has firmly established herself in Hollywood as an Oscar-nominated actress and comedian.
Her distinct sense of humor has brought her roles in popular sitcoms like “Gilmore Girls” and “Mike and Molly,” and leading roles in movies such as “Tammy” and “The Boss.” As one of the most sought-after and top-earning actresses, her success comes as no surprise.
What some may not know is that Melissa’s real-life partner is actor and director Ben Falcone, with whom she often collaborates. Falcone has directed several of her movies, and together they co-founded On the Day Productions, a company specializing in comedy films. Melissa credits her husband for helping her maintain balance in her life.
Born on August 26, 1970, and raised on a soybean farm in Plainfield, Illinois, Melissa’s humble beginnings didn’t hold her back from becoming a Hollywood star.
She shares her fame with several well-known relatives, including actor and model Jenny McCarthy and professional basketball player Joanne McCarthy.
Melissa’s decision to pursue an entertainment career led her to join The Groundlings, a prestigious improvisational and sketch comedy troupe in Los Angeles. Here, she honed her skills and formed lasting bonds with fellow members Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph.
It was also at The Groundlings where she met her future husband, actor, comedian, and filmmaker Ben Falcone.
Despite their strong connection, it would take almost two decades for the couple to tie the knot.
While at The Groundlings, Melissa was instantly intrigued by Falcone. In a 2018 interview with Ellen DeGeneres, she fondly recalled being captivated by Falcone’s skit involving “an inmate that really liked his new roommate.”
Melissa shared, “I immediately was like, ‘Oh, he’s strange. I like him. And we were friends from, like, day one.”
In a 2013 More magazine interview quoted by Us Weekly, Melissa mentioned she “got hit with the lucky stick with Ben.” Falcone expressed the same sentiment, stating they “got hit with the same lucky stick.”
“From the very first time we spoke, we were on the same page,” he said. “We love each other, respect each other, and try not to sweat the small stuff. And we really make each other laugh.”
The couple’s deep affection for each other appears to know no bounds. In 2020, Melissa told People how much she cherished Falcone’s ability to make her laugh.
“He’s nothing but supportive, and he’s super smart. He makes me gut-laugh, like crazy gut-laugh, four or five times a day. I hit the jackpot!” she gushed to the publication.
Falcone has also expressed his admiration for Melissa, taking to Instagram in August 2021 to celebrate his “Mooch” on her birthday.
“…Melissa makes everything fun – just by being herself. I’m such a lucky fella to be married to someone so smart, kind, beautiful and crazy funny. Happy birthday Mooch, love you!” he wrote alongside a vintage photo of the duo.
Although their love story started slowly, Falcone proposed to Melissa 17 years after they first met. When they first crossed paths in Illinois, Melissa was in college, and Falcone was still in high school. Falcone admitted to Seth Meyers in August 2021 that, back then, Melissa “struck terror in certain people” during her goth phase.
He confessed he had been “afraid” of her when they initially met, as she wore “a heavy cape” and had “kind of a nice shade of blue hair.”
Fate brought the pair back together in Los Angeles ten years later in 1998, but they only wed in 2005. Falcone shared his “terrible” proposal story with Jimmy Fallon in June 2022, recounting how he had planned to pop the question at their home one Saturday morning in 2004. After buying bagels, he returned to find a contractor there to redo the bathroom tiles.
Frantically, he considered other locations for the proposal, such as the dog park but ultimately decided against it.
“My blood pressure is just skyrocketing all day. And the guy leaves. Melissa is watching an autopsy show … and playing like a handheld ‘Tetris’ game,” he told Fallon. “And I literally – I’m so jacked up and I’m freaked out. And I just rush at her and go, ‘Melissa, will you marry me!” Falcone said.
Melissa jokingly recalled the proposal as, “He screamed at me like he hates me.”
The couple wed the following year and are now proud parents to two beautiful daughters – Vivian, 14, and Georgette, 12. Fifteen years after their wedding, Melissa commemorated their love with a touching Instagram photo of them kissing at their nuptials.
“15 years ago today I married the kindest, funniest and weirdest human I’ve ever met. Grateful every single day!!!” she wrote.
In February 2019, the pair demonstrated their fun-loving connection when they arrived at the Oscars Vanity Fair party wearing matching tracksuits, a last-minute idea from Melissa.
“I asked, ‘Can we wear matching tracksuits?’ And someone was like, ‘For tomorrow? Like, that both fit?’ It’s not that easy. … It just seemed so funny to me and so comfortable. I have never been flipped off or told to f— off as much as at that party and it was all done jokingly but also with something real behind it,” she told InStyle.
Unfortunately, Melissa has faced criticism throughout her career, often receiving hurtful comments about her weight. In February 2013, her cousin Jenny defended her after a journalist referred to Melissa as “tractor-sized Melissa McCarthy” in a review of her film “Identity Thief.” The journalist also labeled Melissa a “gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success.”
Jenny responded to E! News, saying, “That’s obnoxious in itself. For anyone to attack like that, it’s just wrong and hurtful, and it doesn’t do anyone any good.”
After losing weight, Melissa told Refinery 29 that her weight should not be a focus.
“I’ll be up, I’ll be down, probably for the rest of my life. The thing is, if that is the most interesting thing about me, I need to go have a lavender farm in Minnesota and give this up. There has to be something more. There are so many more intriguing things about women than their butt or their this or their that. It can’t be the first question every time, or a question at all,” she expressed.