Comedian Jimmy Fallon first won over audiences as a cast member on Saturday Night Live and found continued success as the host of Late Night and The Tonight Show, and by his side for more than a decade is his wife, Nancy Juvonen. Usually very private, Juvonen stepped into the spotlight in 2020 to help Fallon with his bare-bones production of The Tonight Show: At Home Edition. However, this isn’t Juvonen’s first taste of show business — she runs a production company with her best friend Drew Barrymore, was nominated for an Emmy and has a couple of acting credits. Here are 10 things to know about the funnyman’s better half:
She’s lived on both U.S. coasts
Born in Connecticut in 1967, Juvonen soon joined her family in the move to Northern California and spent her formative years in Mill Valley, outside San Francisco. But she often returned east for summers in New Hampshire, and eventually settled in New York, where The Tonight Show is taped.
Her father survived a plane ejection
As Fallon described in an April 2015 episode of The Tonight Show, Juvonen’s father, William, was on a training mission for the Marine Corps in 1961 when his plane suddenly went into a tailspin over the Mojave Desert. William managed to nudge the plane back to 20,000 feet and safely eject, an act which, along with saving his life, rendered him eligible for a special watch presented to him by his son-in-law.
She loves to travel
Juvonen made the trek from the Bay Area to the University of Southern California in her beloved VW bus and spent college semesters abroad in Costa Rica and England. She later fulfilled her travel bug as a flight attendant, before finding the time to squeeze in RV road trips as a busy professional.
She was an assistant to Clarence Clemons
Along with her flight attendant gig, Juvonen’s early resume includes stints on a dude ranch in Wyoming, as a housekeeper in San Francisco and alongside an unnamed artist for a mysterious endeavor that sought to “cure all homelessness.” She eventually took a big step toward her future in show business by becoming an assistant to Clarence “The Big Man” Clemons, best known for his long tenure as the hulking saxophonist of Bruce Springsteen‘s E. Street Band.
She launched Flower Films with Drew Barrymore
In her 2016 memoir Wildflower, Barrymore recalled how she met Juvonen, referring to her as “the love of my life,” at a bar while shooting a film in Seattle, Washington, in the mid-1990s. The duo soon launched the Flower Films production company, and while their initial work was limited to suggestions for Barrymore’s roles in Scream (1996) and The Wedding Singer (1998), Flower Films earned a production credit for the romantic comedy Never Been Kissed (1999), and became a backer of Barrymore-led projects like Charlie’s Angels (2000), 50 First Dates (2004), Fever Pitch (2005) and The Drew Barrymore Show.
She is highly organized and one tough cookie
Barrymore quickly observed that Juvonen was “organized like no one I had ever met,” her tendency to plan and chart everything accompanied by sunny mantras like “happiness is a choice.” But the disposition to keep things running smoothly extended to their working relationship, and Barrymore learned that she would get an earful for being late. Juvonen also refused to let her partner direct a film for years, believing she wasn’t ready, until relenting for Barrymore’s inaugural effort on Whip It! (2009).
She has an Emmy nomination and a couple of screen credits to her name
The producer’s Emmy nod came for Olive, the Other Reindeer (1999), an animated adaptation of Vivian Walsh’s best-selling children’s book. And while she prefers to remain behind the scenes, Juvonen has occasionally surfaced on screen as an actress, appearing as a flight attendant in Donnie Darko and as the “store supervisor” in 2004’s Down to the Bone.
She met Fallon on the set of ‘Saturday Night Live’
The encounter took place in February 2004, when Barrymore was serving as the week’s host and Fallon, nearing the end of his run as a cast member, bent over backward to make sure Juvonen felt welcome on set. But the sparks really flew during the shooting for Fever Pitch later that year, with co-star Fallon mesmerized by how Juvonen seemingly glowed on a gloomy day, and she was smitten by the way her future husband played with another producer’s children.
She torpedoed his first planned marriage proposal
Set to propose in spring 2007, Fallon shelved the plan when Juvonen unwittingly secured reservations at a trendy Manhattan restaurant, out of fear that the site of their big moment would one day be transformed into some sort of “laser tag place.” He ended up popping the question a few months later outside the Juvonen summer home at New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee – his emotion-wrenched face prompting the question of whether he was having a stroke – and the lovebirds were married that December at Richard Branson‘s Necker Island.
Her daughters were born via surrogate
Eager to start a family, Juvonen and Fallon tried for about five years before finding success via the surrogacy route. The result was daughters Winnie Rose – in part named after the lake that hosted the marriage proposal – in July 2013 and Frances “Franny” Cole in December 2014.