Richard Lewis and Joyce Lapinsky: Revisit Their 25-Year Love Story

The entertainment world and beyond is mourning the death of Richard Lewis. The comedian’s rep, Jeff Abraham, confirmed the tragic news to ET saying Lewis died Tuesday night after suffering a heart attack. He was 76.

As the sad news spread, the world remembered him by speaking of his comedic brilliance, whether onstage at comedy clubs throughout the country or for his knack at making every scene a memorable one on Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Fans are also remembering his long-lasting love after spending three decades with his wife, Joyce Lapinsky, and so, ET is taking a look back at their loving marriage.

They met in 1998

It’s been reported that Lewis and Lapinsky met in 1998 at Ringo Starr’s album release party. It made sense that she was at that party, given that she worked in music publishing. According to a 2010 interview with Paul Freeman, Lewis said it was Lapinksy who cut to the chase when they first met at that party.

“I guess she was Italian and 33. She said, ‘Let’s nip this in the bud. I’m 42. I’m a Jew from Minnesota. So if that bugs you… And if children are a major thing…’ She was like reading my mind,” Lewis said at the time.

In that same interview, it’s revealed that a friend had tried to fix them up on the set of his sitcom, Anything But Love. But according to Lewis, she said, “‘No, he’s crazy. I’m not going out with him.'”

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At the time, Lewis said he was “an active drunk and [a] drug addict, so it wouldn’t have worked out anyway.”

But by the time they did meet at Starr’s party, the stars had aligned. Lewis was in the midst of his sobriety and he was ready to take the next step.

“I was able to commit to somebody finally,” he said. “I met the right woman at the right time. There’s a lot of compromise in any relationship. But it’s easier to compromise at 60 than it is at 25.”

After meeting her at that party that night, Lewis recalled telling famed sportscaster Bob Costas, “I met the woman I’m going to marry.”

The next big step in the relationship was … 

Not an engagement. 

After seven years of dating, The New York Observer reported in 2007 that Lewis took Lapinsky to meet his therapist. Lewis recounted having “no confidence in his ability to select a mate.” Lewis also recalled complaining about having “some minor communication” problems with Lapinsky, and that that was the reason why they couldn’t move forward in the relationship.

Then the therapist screamed at Lewis.

“In a voice that was almost satanic — it was so dark and loud that it seemed to echo through the neighborhood — my therapist screamed at me, ‘This is as good as it gets!'” Lewis said. “It shook me to my core.”

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They finally got engaged in 2004, and they were married the following year. They never had children, but as a married man, Lewis found what he had always longed for — love and laughter.

“I’ve found peace and serenity. On stage, I still mine my bottomless pit of bad memories,” he said in 2010. “In real life, I’m still crazy, but I’m far happier and more grateful than I’ve ever been. Marriage has a lot to do with that. We have a neurotic relationship that’s, 99 percent of the time, filled with laughter and love.”

They didn’t live in the same house …

At least not at first.

“I knew that, if I wound up being with you, I would have to have my own home,” Lewis recalled Lapinsky telling him, via The Observer. So, she reportedly got a cabin some 80 miles away up in the mountains, while Lewis kept his home in the Hollywood Hills.

Back in January 2023, Lapinsky uploaded a 2013 documentary of Lewis dubbed House of a Lifetime, which aimed to give fans a guided tour of his legendary home. At the time, Lewis was on the move and anxious about leaving the home where he resided for 25 years. Calling the home a “museum,” House of Lifetime was made in an effort “to preserve thousands of personal and iconic photos, unique pieces of art, and the collectables he’s coveted throughout his impressive career as a stand-up comedian and actor.”

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“Joyce has such a stabilizing effect on him,” said Susie Essman, a Curb co-star, who had known Lewis for two decades at the time. “Everybody is looking for that one person in life who will love you unconditionally, and he’s found that with her.”

She cared for him until the end …

In April 2023, Lewis revealed that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease two years prior and would no longer be performing onstage. He thanked everyone for their outpouring of support and, of course, his wife.

“I went to a neurologist and they gave me a brain scan and I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and that was about two years ago,” he said at the time. “But luckily I got it late in life and they say you progress very slowly, if at all, and I’m on the right meds, so I’m cool.”

“I guess I just wanted to let you know that’s where it’s been at,” his 2023 message concluded. “I’m finished with stand-up. I’m just focusing on writing and acting. I have Parkinson’s disease, but I’m under a doctor’s care and everything is cool and I love my wife, I love my little puppy dog, and I love all of my friends and my fans, and now you know where it’s been at the last three and a half years. God bless you.”

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