Stephen Colbert is, above all, a family man. The host of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS is the youngest of 11 children in an Irish Catholic family. Tragically, when Colbert was only ten years old his father, James, and two of his brothers were killed when Eastern Airlines Flight 212 crashed into a North Carolina cornfield in 1974. Since his older siblings mostly lived out of the house, Colbert and his mother, Lorna, became inseparable in the wake of such a horrible catastrophe.
Long before the fame of The Colbert Report, Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, and so many Emmy Awards, the future late-night host had a girlfriend named Ann. Ann gave Stephen Colbert an ultimatum: get married or break up. Unsure of what to do, Colbert said he knew he had to return to his hometown of Charleston, South Carolina to seek advice from the woman who knew him best: mom. Stephen Colbert recounted the story, in detail, during one of The Late Show’s Q&As in 2019. His first day back in Charleston, Colbert’s mother asked him if he wanted to marry his Ann; he said “I don’t know.” And Lorna said, “‘I don’t know isn’t good enough.'” As Colbert joked when telling the story to. live audience, “Suddenly I had a week to kill!”
Watch Stephen Colbert Tell His Love Story So Beautifully
It was during that week that Colbert met Evelyn McGee, at a Spoleto Festival event for Philip Glass and Allen Ginsburg’s The Hydrogen Jukebox. When Colbert saw Evelyn in the lobby for the first time, “a beautiful woman in a black linen dress,” he knew instantly. When she cut in line to stand near him, the pair realized they were childhood acquaintances; Evelyn also grew up in Charleston. When the two began discussing Philip Glass and poetry, Colbert mentioned that his favorite North Carolina poet, Chuck Sullivan, was out of print. That’s when another man turned around in line and chimed in, saying, “That’s my father!”
It was kismet. The Late Show host has compared the fateful coincidence of the moment to Homer’s The Odyssey, from the Nausicaa book where Odysseus becomes shipwrecked and relays his heavy story to a new audience of islanders. Unsure of whether to believe his outlandish tales, the islander’s sneezes. In Robert Fagel’s translation, the line is “sneezed a blessing on his story.” In ancient tradition, this meant a fantastic story was really true. Always the classics nerd, Stephen Colbert has said that Chuck Sullivan’s son sneezed a blessing on him and Evelyn McGee while in line that day.
Knowing the interaction was so rare and special, it didn’t take long before Stephen Colbert and Evelyn McGee began to date, and then marry, and then go on to raise three children.
Stephen Colbert’s wife, Evelyn “Evie” McGee-Colbert is the daughter of a prominent Charleston lawyer, Joseph McGee. Growing up in Charleston, she attended the all-girls sister school to Stephen Colbert’s Catholic boys high school, and so upon meeting the couple realized they had many mutual friends.
McGee-Colbert acts occasionally and had a role on Colbert’s Comedy Central show and spin-off film, Strangers with Candy. She also had a cameo in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, alongside her sons John and Peter, and of course, her husband Stephen. Stephen is the ultimate Lord of the Rings fan; the small roles became a family affair.
The celeb couple currently resides outside of New York City, in Montclair, New Jersey. Their three children are now young adults: Madeline Colbert, Peter Colbert, and John Colbert.