John Oliver got his first big career boost on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (1999-2015) in 2006. Stewart, on Ricky Gervais’ recommendation, summoned Oliver across the pond to the United States from his native England (according to The Hollywood Reporter).
After scoring various gigs over the years, Oliver received his very own program, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, in 2014. The Emmy-winning series has wowed viewers and critics alike. The show is believed by some to be so influential that it gets credited for having “the John Oliver effect” on legislation and popular culture.
Oliver’s wife, Kate Norley, who is from Arlington, Virginia, is truly a remarkable person in her own right. We looked into who she is and what the Olivers’ relationship is like. Here’s the lowdown on the amazing woman who shares the humorist’s life.
Who Is Kate Norley?
Kate Norley has definitely faced her share of major challenges. At the age of 16, she was struck by a vehicle while riding her bicycle. She sustained a head injury that was so severe she had to re-learn basic skills such as writing and reading.
However, that did not deter her from enlisting in the U.S. Army just three years later at age 19, motivated by a desire to serve following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Norley, an Iraq War veteran, was a mental health specialist who helped soldiers who were dealing with emotional trauma. She was also a counselor and a combat medic.
Norley has expressed tremendous gratitude for her military service, which she felt helped her to push her boundaries in unexpected ways. “The Army has given me a chance to do things I never dreamed I was capable of doing.”
Oliver has voiced his unabashed admiration for Norley, calling her “one of [his] heroes,” Parade reported. “I’m incredibly proud of her for everything that she did and has done and is continuing to do and supporting everyone who she has served with.”
Even after her military service ended, Norley ardently wanted to continue to support our troops and veterans.
Working with an organization called Vets for Freedom, her activities have included advocating for funding to assist veterans and speaking out on their behalf on national media outlets such as Fox News (per Yahoo).
Norley also reportedly supports Team Rubicon. They describe themselves as “a veteran-led humanitarian organization” that responds following disasters and crises.
John Oliver Met His Wife At The 2008 Republican National Convention
Oliver and Norley first crossed paths in 2008 at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. There’s a bit more to the story, however.
Oliver, who was covering the GOP gathering for The Daily Show, was in a restricted area on the second level of the venue, the Xcel Energy Center, stated The Hollywood Reporter.
With event security taking notice and carrying only a temporary work visa, Oliver could have landed in big trouble. He was even at risk for deportation!
Fortunately, Norley—who was there with Vets for Freedom—along with other veterans who were in attendance, came to Oliver’s rescue by concealing him.
Looking back on it, Oliver tersely assessed his plight on that day. “The end result is romantic; at the time, it just felt harrowing.”
As for Oliver and Norley, they were friends for a while, then they began dating. Their relationship clearly caught fire and blossomed.
They Married In October 2011
Oliver proposed to Norley in July 2010 while they were vacationing in St. Thomas after they had been seeing each other for a couple of years.
“I was a medic in the Army,” Norley told People. “It was difficult, but right now it’s nice that I get to spend time with the love of my life.”
Oliver characteristically joshed, “It’s the most emasculating thing I could possibly do to go out with someone who has actually done something valuable with their life.”
Evidently, the comedian’s joke couldn’t be further from the truth. Oliver doesn’t see his wife’s success as emasculating. In fact, he sometimes wears a 1st Cavalry Division pin on his lapel to honor Norley’s patriotism, bravery, and military service.
Oliver and Norley make their home in New York City, close to the studio where he tapes Last Week Tonight.
They Share Two Sons
The Olivers became a happy trio in 2015 when their son was born. Near the conclusion of an episode of Last Week Tonight, Oliver said, “I have a son. He is 19 months old. He was born prematurely following a very difficult pregnancy.”
In 2018, at the Emmy Awards Governors Ball, Oliver told People that he and Norley had a second child three months earlier.
Oliver had his reasons for not trumpeting the birth of his and Norley’s new baby. It wasn’t because he’s not a genuinely proud papa. As he wittily told Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show (per The Hollywood Reporter), “We didn’t really announce it because it doesn’t matter. To me, it matters a great deal. Let me make that clear.”
He continued, “This is not a royal baby. In terms of how far in line he is to the throne, it’s a peasant. I have a peasant child. So it didn’t even cross my mind that we should make a public thing about it.”
In 2015, Oliver said cheekily to Vanity Fair that “he has entertained thoughts of giving his children ‘whatever the opposite of elocution lessons are, a kind of reverse-Pygmalion process: ‘By George, I think she’s lost it!’”
John Oliver and Kate Norley evidently have a solid partnership. He has been totally supportive and conspicuously admiring of her military service. It seems as though they are each present for the other publicly and privately, a key ingredient for a happy, enduring marriage.