Some are born to be at the front and center of greatness, to be those the world screams their names and whose works are spoken of with reverence. Some, on the other hand, are meant to nurture this greatness in different roles as managers, agents, mothers, and wives. In the life of Johnny Carson, the iconic television host who passed away in 2005, that person was Alexis Maas, his wife, whom he was married to from 1987 until his death.
Sure, Alexis Maas was the fourth wife of the famous talk show host, but she was married to him the longest, remaining his lover and confidant until his passing at the age of 80. Meet the woman who was with the iconic talk show host towards the end of his life.
A Look At Alexis Maas’s Background
Alexis Maas lived life as a regular girl until her marriage to Johnny Carson elevated her profile into that of a celebrity. According to the limited available information about her background, she is believed to have been born sometime in 1952 in Pittsburgh, making her 27 years younger than her famous husband. As we have come to learn, the age difference had zero negative effect on the success of their relationship.
The shortage of information about Alexis’ background has made details regarding her education and her life before meeting Johnny Carson unknown to the media. But it is popularly believed that she was a stock brokerage employee before she got married to her famous husband.
Alexis Maas’ life was immediately transformed from that of an unknown entity into a nationally recognized personality when she got married to Carson on June 20, 1987.
Alexis Maas And Johnny Carson Met In Malibu
This age difference drew eyebrows in certain corners of the media. Regardless, the couple, who were in love with each other, ignored the critics and continued enjoying their affection for each other, starting with an extravagant honeymoon in Mediterranean countries.
But as it became established that their relationship was there to stay, more information emerged about the duo. For years, fans of the talk show host believed he was single, but it turned out that he had been in a relationship with Alexis Maas all the while. The two reportedly met on a beach in Malibu in 1983 and dated for four years before they got engaged in December 1986.
Their marriage began secretly in June 1987, after they were married by a Superior Court Judge, William Hogoboom, at Carson’s Malibu Beach house. The wedding was attended only by Carson’s brother, Dick Carson.
At the age of 61, giving birth to children was no longer on the cards for Carson, who just sought to enjoy the twilight of his life with his new wife. The couple lived together until his death without biological children of their own. However, Carson, throughout his previous three marriages, had fathered three sons – Cory Carson, Richard Carson, and Christopher Carson.
She Inherited A Sizeable Net Worth From Him
At the end of Johnny Carson’s life, he left his total net worth of $300 million to his wife. Alexis Maas, in turn, donated about $156 million out of her late husband’s fortune to charity, leaving her with a personal net worth of $144 million.
Along with the net worth came ownership of several of the properties owned by her late husband, including a Malibu estate, which she sold for a reported $40 million before she acquired a Beverly Hills home for a comparatively low price of $14.5 million.
Alexis Maas Was Johnny Carson’s Fourth Wife
While Alexis Maas forever remains the widow of the iconic late show host, she wasn’t his first wife. She was the fourth and had been preceded by marriages to Jody Wolcott, Joanne Copeland, and Joanna Holland.
Jody Wolcott (1948 – 1963)
Johnny Carson’s first marriage was to Jody Wolcott. The union began in 1948, a year before Carson started his professional career in radio and television. The marriage lasted for 15 years and produced three children – Christopher, Cory, and Richard.
Perhaps it was the immaturity of age or the result of a marriage exposed to the pressures of public life, but their marriage was incredibly toxic and volatile. According to an interview by Jody Wolcott, both of them committed infidelities, eventually parting ways in 1963.
Years after they got divorced, their second child, Richard Carson, died via an accident on June 21, 1991. He was a photographer who was taking a picture when his car fell down a steep embankment off a highway in Cayucos, California.
Joanne Copeland (1963 – 1972)
The seeds of the tree that eventually led Johnny Carson to Alexis Maas was planted in 1963, and the second stem was his marriage to Joanne Copeland. Johnny married Copeland in the same year he divorced Jody Wolcott, on August 17. The marriage lasted almost a decade before it ended in a protracted divorce in 1972.
As part of the divorce settlement, Copeland received $6,000 in alimony checks per month until Carson’s death. In addition to the cheques, she also received some art collection. During their time together, the couple never shared any children.
Joanna Holland (1972 – 1985)
Similar to the timeline of his marriage to Joanne Copeland, Johnny Carson married his third wife on the same day he completed the divorce of his second. The two of them got married in a secret ceremony on September 30, 1972. The marriage was announced during the celebration of his show’s 10th anniversary.
Joanna Holland, who was a former model, was married to the late show host for more than a decade until she filed for divorce in March 1983. The divorce was anything but amicable, and it finally came to an end in 1985, with an 80-page settlement that gave Holland $20 million in money and properties.
Her Husband Died Of Respiratory Failure
After almost two decades of being a couple, Alexis Maas said her final goodbyes to Johnny Carson on January 23, 2005. He died of respiratory failure caused by emphysema. The late-night host was known for his heavy smoking, which had caused a heart attack back in March 1999.
He died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and his body was subsequently cremated. Although millions of people paid tribute to the TV personality, including the president of the US at the time, President George W. Bush, no public memorial service was held. After the cremation, Johnny Carson’s ashes were given to Alexis Maas, who inherited his estate.