Jim Carrey met his ex-wife, Melissa, before either of them had reached their dreams. After they got married and settled down, his fame transformed their relationship, not for the better.
Jim Carrey met Melissa Womer while trying to grow a fledgling comedy career at the "Comedy Store" in Los Angeles. Melissa was an aspiring actress who moved from Arizona to pursue her dream and worked at the "Comedy Store" as a waitress.
Carrey would spend time with Womer while at the comedy club, and that's where she saw his knack for comedy. "He is what legends are made of," she said.
Jim Carrey and his ex-wife Melissa Womer with their young daughter, Jane. | Source: Getty Images
JIM CARREY MADE ONLY $25 A NIGHT WHEN HE MET MELISSA
Reflecting on their wedding, Womer said it was "a perfect day." They ended their night sitting over untouched mahi-mahi at a hotel in Santa Monica, California, and crying together at their happiness.
During the first two years of their marriage, Womer worked two jobs. She continued working at the "Comedy Store" and worked as a masseuse at a health club. She worked through the third trimester of her pregnancy, resting only during the ninth month. Carrey was making $25 a night showcasing his comedy.
HOW FAME TRANSFORMED THE MARRIAGE
1993 marked Carrey's comedy and financial breakthrough when he was offered $7 million for the film "The Mask." This was also the same year the couple split, although the exact month was in question. Leading up to the separation, Carrey publicly complained about regular domestic duties.
Melissa requested that he handle his end of the domestic roles. "You must come home and put your feet back on the ground and take your garbage out like everyone else, or I can't be married to you," she warned him. But not much improved.
I was happy to take on the traditional wife and mother roles. He knows I’m a good woman, a good wife, a good mother. But... He’s not good husband material. Marriage takes empathy, commitment, and sacrifice. The dude has changed.
ANOTHER WOMAN IN CARREY'S LIFE
Womer also believed that Carrey's fame drove them to their divorce. "He decided he wanted to enjoy success from the perspective of a single man," she said. These sentiments may not have been that unfounded because during Carrey's first few weeks shooting the film "Ace Ventura," the couple's relationship deteriorated quickly.
Jim Carrey and Lauren Holly during "Liar, Liar" Los Angeles Premiere at Universal City in California. | Source: Ron Galella/Getty Images
Carrey had laid eyes on actress Lauren Holly who was on the list to feature in "Ace Ventura," but Courtney Cox took the role. But Carrey didn't act territorial when the film's director, Tom Shadyac, asked Holly out on some dates.
But dates with Shadyac led to a friendship, and Shadyac mentioned that she and Carrey might be an ideal match. This infuriated Holly, who resisted the idea that she would fall in love with her co-star.
But despite the vehement resistance to the idea that Carrey and Holly were having an affair, co-star Jeff Daniels spotted Carrey leaving Holly's hotel suite, igniting suspicions of their romance.
Jim Carrey and Lauren Holly during "The Mask" Los Angeles Premiere at Academy of Motion Picture Theater in California. | Source: Getty Images
Womer also recalled the moment she knew about the affair. While Carrey was filming "Dumb and Dumber Too," he needed to have gallbladder removal surgery and spend a few days recovering.
When she walked into Carrey's hotel room and the small group of people inside, including Holly, everyone went quiet. "I walked in the door, and I knew," Womer said and added that everyone in the room, including Carrey, was nervous as Holly ran out.
Holly also suffered insults when their romance went public. "They keep calling me a homewrecker. I feel for Melissa, but they were completely apart when Jim and I met," she said. The timeline of their romance confirms this, with an additional five months in 1993 that were in dispute regarding whether they had separated.
Jim Carrey and Tommy Davidson attend the LA Special Screening Of Paramount's "Sonic The Hedgehog" held at Regency Village Theatre on February 12, 2020 in Westwood, California. | Source: Getty Images
SEPARATION DATE IN DISPUTE
Womer admitted that Carrey's first month on the "Ace Ventura" was tumultuous for their marriage. "I yelled and screamed a lot," she said. They often had late-night calls that left Carrey too sleepy to work during the day.
When he returned to L.A., Carrey moved into his apartment, cementing their separation. But Melissa added that no formal declaration was made from them until Carrey called her while giving their daughter, Jane, a bath and told her he was going through with the divorce.
Carrey filed for divorce on November 1, 1993. "People" magazine released the news to the public before the court papers reached Womer. But before the divorce, Carrey's camp argued that Womer signed a formal separation concluding the date of their split to be five months earlier than what Womer claimed in court.
Actor Jim Carrey at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in new York on September 22, 2010. | Source: Ramin Talaie/Getty Images
Reflecting on their separation, Womer said, "I miss him very much. I still love him with all my heart. I'd take him back in a second because he's my friend, and he has just lost his way."
A MESSY DIVORCE CENTERED ON ALIMONY
The disputed dates of the couple's separation were in dispute because the date claimed by Carrey marked the day he signed his $7 million "Ace Ventura" deal. If his argument were valid, it would mean that Womer would have no claim to the money. But if it were true that they were still together on that date, they would have to split his earnings in half.
During divorce proceedings, Womer lived on $25 000 in temporary alimony and child support. Carrey offered a $500 000 once-off settlement. But Womer refused, demanding between $5 - 10 million.
Actor Jim Carrey, daughter Jane Carrey and actress Jenny McCarthy arrive at "Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears A Who" premiere at The Mann Village on March 8, 2008 in Westwood, California. | Source: Getty Images
Reflecting on the proceedings, Carrey said, "I just want to get to a judge, and he tells me what to pay. And that's all. That's all. If he tells me, "You owe her everything,' then, you know, so be it." Carrey and Womer eventually agreed to settle their divorce in private, with details of the financial settlement kept secret.