Since signing off as The Daily Show host back in 2015, Jon Stewart has devoted much of his time to directing feature films and advocating for war veterans and 9/11 first responders. He’s also had more time to spend with his family, which includes wife Tracey McShane (now Tracey Stewart) and the couple’s two children. Not many people know about Stewart’s marriage, as the funnyman likes to keep his personal life out of the spotlight. To give you some insight into the 58-year-old comedian’s family, here’s everything you need to know about Jon Stewart’s wife, Tracey.
Jon Stewart Met His Wife, Tracey McShane, On A Blind Date
Stewart almost completely botched his first date with his wife-to-be back in 1997. While working as an actor on a film called Wishful Thinking, Stewart was given Tracey’s phone number by a female production assistant who thought the pair would hit it off. While the comedian was totally game to call Tracey and ask her out on a blind date, he had written her phone number down on a dollar bill (remember, this was before smartphones). He then accidentally used that dollar bill to buy a pack a cigarettes—before he had a chance to call her.
Luckily, Stewart did some sleuthing and was able to get Tracey’s digits again. “You know how they used to give out cast sheets where they have everybody’s phone number who worked on the set?” Stewart said in a 2002 interview on CNN Larry King Live. “I got the number there, because she was the roommate of the [production assistant]. And then I called.” We have to admit, it was a pretty smooth move!
Stewart Proposed Via Crossword Puzzle
If you think the way this pair met was cute, just wait until you hear how Stewart proposed. After dating Tracey for nearly four years, the comedian decided he wanted to propose to his girlfriend in the most unique way possible. So he enlisted the help of Will Shortz, who’s best known as the editor of the New York Times‘ crossword puzzles.
Unbeknownst to Tracey—who was an avid NYT crossword puzzle player herself—Shortz created a puzzle that included a number of clues with special meanings referencing Stewart’s proposal. Imagine Tracey’s shock and delight when she realized her boyfriend was proposing to her through a crossword puzzle!
Another fun fact about the couple’s nuptials is that they weren’t officially “Mr. and Mrs. Stewart” when they first got married. That’s because at the time they wed, “Jon Stewart” was not The Daily Show star’s legal name. Born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz, the comedian decided to drop his surname when he was young because of his strained relationship with his father. Rather than use his mom’s maiden name instead (“I thought that would be just too big a fuck you to my dad,” he explained), he decided to use his middle name with a different spelling. One he began performing standup, he adopted Jon Stewart as his stage name.
However, he never officially filed to have his last name legally changed. At the time of their 2000 wedding, the couple became “Mr. and Mrs. Leibowitz” on paper. Eventually, Jon and Tracey filed a joint name-change application so they could officially become “Jon and Tracey Stewart.”
The Couple Have Two Children Together
The Stewarts have two kids—Nathan “Nate” Thomas, born in 2004, and Maggie Rose, born in 2006. According to a 2015 profile of Tracey Stewart in the New York Times, the couple had trouble conceiving, so they turned to in vitro fertilization (IVF) for help.
Always the comedian, Jon Stewart made sure to keep his wife smiling when she had to self-administer painful shots for the procedure by dressing up the couple’s many pets. “The cat was Stanley—Stanley Tucci—and he’d put him in a little hat,” Tracey told the New York Times. “We called him Nurse Tucci. Then he outfitted my dog Monkey in these surgeon’s scrubs. And Jon wore a lab coat and … well, you’d have to see the photographs.”
Tracey Has A Passion For Animals
Though Tracey originally studied design at Drexel University and attended the California College of Arts and Crafts, her true passion has always been working with animals. When she met Jon, she had been working at various design jobs but wasn’t really enjoying her work. “It wasn’t until I started dating Jon that he would mention to me that he couldn’t understand how such a passionate person was so uninspired at work,” she said in a 2015 interview on Terry Gross’s Fresh Air. “He knew that I always wanted to be a veterinarian when I was young and he had suggested to me that I go back to school for that.”
It turned out to be excellent advice—Tracey got a job as a veterinary technician and instantly fell in love with the work. “It was the best job I ever had and I truly loved that job,” she said.
After working as a vet tech for most of the ’00s, Tracey decided to return to her creative roots. She launched Moomah The Magazine in the 2010s, which was a popular online hub for parents. She’s also the founder of the Hockhockson Farm Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to promoting sustainable living, and author of the book Do Unto Animals: A Friendly Guide to How Animals Live, and How We Can Make Their Lives Better.
Jon And Tracey Run An Animal Sanctuary In New Jersey
After Moomah The Magazine folded, Tracey realized she really missed working with her beloved furry friends. “I thought about going back to being a vet tech, but the hours are intense and my kids are still young,” she told the New York Times. “And living in the city—elevators, cars, noise—there’s just a level of craziness that comes to seem the norm until you spend time somewhere else.”
So she started doing work with the Farm Sanctuary, a nonprofit dedicated to rescuing animal abused by the agriculture system. She and Jon also started sheltering animals at their own home in New Jersey, which at one point included four dogs, four pigs, three rabbits, two guinea pigs, one parrot, one hamster and two fish. Once that situation got too crowded, Tracey had the idea to open up her own animal sanctuary.
In 2016, the Stewarts bought the 45-acre farm property on which they now run the Hockhockson Farm Foundation. In addition to providing resources and education, the foundation serves as a sanctuary for dozens of rescued animals.
Clearly, Jon and Tracey’s marriage is deeply rooted in their shared love of animals. They still spend lots of time together helping animals both at home and on Hockhockson Farm, and they are mindful about what they eat (Tracey is a vegan, Jon is a vegetarian).
Tracey also hopes her and Jon’s work will help inspire more people to treat animals humanely. “I’d like people to start to look at animals as individuals,” she told the New York Times. “If everyone did a bit more, if they fell in love a little bit more, so much could happen.”