Conan O’Brien and Liza Powel O’Brien first met in 1999 at her advertising agency
Comedian Conan O'Brien has his former late-night show to thank for allowing him to cross paths with his wife, Liza Powel O'Brien.
Conan and Liza first met in 1999 while filming a remote segment for Late Night with Conan O'Brien at her advertising agency.
"I walk into this room of 11 people, so we're sitting here with the creative team at FCB [Foote, Cone & Belding], and everyone here is in black, which is, I guess, a New York advertising thing," Conan recounted on The Michelle Obama Podcast in September 2020. "I immediately start talking to her [Liza], and then I'm not even trying to be funny ... I'm just trying to find out more about this woman."
He continued, "Then I left the room after this 20-minute conversation with only her ... We were breaking down the equipment, and she walks out. We start talking some more, and then we end up talking in the lobby."
After joking about having kids together during this initial conversation, the two exchanged information and began dating. In January 2002, the couple tied the knot in Liza's hometown of Seattle. They have since welcomed two children — daughter Neve and son Beckett.
In addition to being a supportive wife and a mother, Liza has written at least 12 plays and hosted the nonfiction podcast Significant Others on Conan's podcast network, Team Coco, since July 2022.
"My very talented wife, Liza, has a new history podcast that I absolutely love," Conan shared on Twitter at the time.
So who is Conan O'Brien's wife? Here's everything to know about Liza Powel O'Brien and her relationship with the TV host and comedian.
She has a master's degree in fiction writing
Liza received a master of fine arts degree (MFA) in fiction writing from Columbia University's School of the Arts. She would employ her writing education in a career as a copywriter and playwright.
She also earned a bachelor's degree at Vassar College in New York, which served as the inspiration and subject of her 2019 play, The Great Experiment.
According to her official site, the play was set in 1865 — four years after Vassar was established — with the following premise: "Freshman year means new horizons, questionable decisions, toxic friendship and epic culture clashes. At the radically progressive 'first female college,' it also marks the birth [of] a whole new era."
She's written 12 plays
Liza is an accomplished playwright who has written at least a dozen plays, each developed and presented at venues like the Geffen Playhouse, the Blank Theatre, Unscreened LA, the Lark Theatre and Ojai Playwrights Conference, per her site.
Beyond The Great Experiment, her work has included Ruthie Goes Shopping, John Wayne Times, The Distinguished Gentleman and Lucky, to name a few.
Her full-length play, Apostrophe, was first presented during the 2020 Ojai Playwright's Conference. It premiered on June 10, 2022, at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts in Langley, Washington.
A review in the local Langley newspaper South Whidbey Record commended Liza for her involvement in the play, writing, "What made this show special was the level of involvement on the playwright's part. O'Brien listened in on a number of rehearsals and tailored the script to the cast. For the first full week of rehearsal, she was present."
She met Conan during a remote taping of his show
Liza was a copywriter for the advertising agency Foote, Cone & Belding when she first met Conan in 1999. The agency was tapped to do a remote segment for Late Night with Conan O'Brien, where they worked with their "worst advertisers" to give them a commercial makeover. Liza was part of the team that worked on a commercial for Hilton Furniture. Conan visited the agency's offices, where he met Liza and the rest of the FCB team — and as the talk show host tells it, he fell for her right away.
The late-night show uploaded the ad agency segment that originally aired in 2000 on its official YouTube channel in October 2020.
In January 2022, Liza was a guest on the Team Coco podcast Inside Conan, where she discussed their fateful meeting.
"He's never watched it … he wants to remember it instead," she said of Conan. "Which is sweet, but it's like … are you afraid you're gonna reconsider?"
She married Conan in 2002
Conan and Liza tied the knot in the bride's hometown of Seattle on Jan. 12, 2002, at the St. James Cathedral.
"Sorry about the rain," Conan said as the newlyweds exited the St. James Cathedral under an umbrella following the afternoon ceremony.
According to a 2010 interview with Liza's parents in The Seattle Times, Liza "brought him [Conan] home, he brought her home, and a year or so later, Liza and Conan were sitting with Madison Park florist Martha Harris, picking out flowers for their wedding."
The funnyman revealed on the Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend podcast that actress Claire Danes played a role in helping him to score brownie points with his wife after they bumped into her at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle.
"I think my wife and I were newly married — or maybe not even married yet — and you [Danes] came running up to me and were really nice to me," Conan recalled to Danes when she was a guest on his podcast in June 2023. "My wife was like, 'You know Claire Danes?' I was like, 'Yes, I do.' That may have sealed the deal for me. That may have gotten me my wife of 21 years."
She shares two children with Conan
The couple welcomed their first child, daughter Neve, on Oct. 14, 2003. According to Neve's LinkedIn, she has been a student at Yale University since 2022 and is expected to graduate in 2026. Liza had their second child, son Beckett, on Nov. 9, 2005. The couple's two children (and Liza) have often been the butt of Conan's dad jokes on social media.
Conan wrote on Twitter in May 2022, "My children think of me as their best friend, the one they dropped like a stone in high school."
He also poked fun at his kids and Liza on Twitter for Mother's Day and Father's Day in 2022.
"All my wife wants for Mother's Day is two years of alone time," before tweeting on Father's Day that his kids regifted [him] a cold and distant stare."
In a 2020 interview with Ojai Playwrights Conference, Liza opened up about her experience raising teenagers.
"It's sort of terrifying to watch them," Liza said. "They have a lot of confidence in some ways and doubt in other ways, but they don't know any of that yet, and to know it for them is very hard sometimes."
She hosts the podcast Significant Others on Conan's Team Coco network
Since July 2022, Liza has hosted, narrated and written episodes for the Significant Otherspodcast on her husband's podcast network, Team Coco. The nonfiction podcast "tells the story of a talented, difficult and little-known individual who altered the destiny of their better-known partner, child, sibling or friend and impacted the world they left behind," per the show's description.
"I'm constantly thinking of missed opportunities, but maybe moving forward, I should be asking everyone that I interview who their significant other is in the story of their life," she told Newsweek in 2022. "Not necessarily their romantic life, but just their career or their passion project, or whatever it is that they think defines them."
She added, "For Conan, I don't think I would be technically kind of significant other in terms of being his wife, but he has other people in the story of his career who were pivotal. And that could be an interesting story."
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