Katie Couric, 64, and her husband John Molner, 58, are one of the most solid couples in Hollywood. Learn more about the man Katie married in 2014, as well as her late husband Jay Monahan, who is the father of her daughters Ellie, 30, and Caroline, 25.
Who Is John Molner?
John was born on January 21, 1963 in Chicago, IL to parents Paula and Herbert Molner. John’s parents met at a wedding, and went on to have three children — as well as sons Tom and Dave.
“[Paula] lit up the room — she was really beautiful,” Herbert gushed in a joint interview as part of Katie’s KCM media platform on Valentine’s Day 2021.
After graduating from high school, John pursued his undergraduate degree Trinity College-Hartford, where he studied from 1981 – 1985. He later earned his MBA at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business Executive Education in 1990 before pursuing pursuing a career in finance.
He was formerly the head of Mergers & Acquisitions at investment firm Brown Brothers, based in his native of Chicago. He later continued in similar roles in New York City before stepping away to co-found company Katie Couric Media in 2017.
“Katie and I saw how brands were moving away from traditional advertising and looking for ways to create purpose-driven content. KCM is proud to help brands tell stories that matter through a collaborative partnership with one of the most trusted voices in media,” John said in a statement when the media platform launched.
John was previously married to ex-wife Jane Franke Molner, with whom he shares two kids: daughter Allie, 23, and son Henry.
John Molner and Katie Couric’s early romance to engagement
John and Katie first met in 2012 after her split from tennis pro Brooks Perlin, who was 17 years her junior. The financier and news anchor were introduced by Katie’s friend Molly Helfet, who is an actress.
“In 2012 I was single again and I asked a friend of mine, Molly, whose husband is a trauma surgeon, if her husband knew any other doctors because I thought I’d like to go out with a doctor,” Katie said to on the The Jess Cagle Interview in 2017.
“And so she thought about it and she said, ‘We don’t really know a doctor, but we do know this banker named John Molner.’ And I said, ‘Does he have a pulse?’” she hilariously added. It took a while for John to pick up the phone and ask Katie out, though.
“Finally, after much badgering…He finally asked me out, we met at a restaurant and what can I say?” Katie reflected, revealing he “had me at hello.”
She later confessed John was “a little more age appropriate” than ex Brooks. “He’s really funny and very successful in his own right. In a different line of work. A little more age appropriate,” sh said to USA Today in 2013. “He’s from Chicago and I love mid-westerners,” she also revealed.
The couple publicly dated for two years before John popped the question in Sept. 2013 on the beach in East Hampton, New York.
John Molner and Katie Couric’s wedding
John and Katie also married in the Hamptons at her home on June 21, 2014 — a significant place for the two, as it was also where they got engaged.
The former Katie Couric Show host looked every bit the modern bride in a chic, sleveless dress by designer Carmen Marc Valvo that included chantilly lace details.
For her second wedding, Katie kept the affair intimate and slightly out of the box. “We didn’t want to be too traditional,” she said to PEOPLE magazine two days after the nuptials. “It was so nice to celebrate such a happy occasion, because we’ve been through a lot in our lives,” she explained, noting they had a non-religious ceremony.
John also planned most of the affair, an unexpected task for the groom. “I thought, if this wedding was going to happen, I had to get involved,” he joked in the same interview. Katie and John walked into the event together as the song “Till There Was You” played via string quartet.
Despite being held in her backyard, the party was still an elegant affair with plenty of champagne and a lemon-strawberry wedding cake.
“The party was so beautiful and private and special,” Katie said of the affair. “I said, ‘It’s not a lack of love but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages…But with John, I found a great husband and a perfect friend,” referencing a toast during the reception.
Katie Couric’s late husband Jay Monahan
Katie and was previously married to Jay Monahan, who tragically died after a battle with colon cancer in 1998. He was just 42-year-old when he passed, leaving behind Katie, then 40, and two young girls (Caroline was 7 and Ellie was just two). Notably, Katie has had one other tragic loss to cancer in her life: her sister Emily Couric died of pancreatic cancer in 2001.
Jay was born in Manhasset, Long Island on January 9, 1956 to Carol and John P. Monahan Jr. He later attended Washington and Lee University, where he graduated in 1977, later earning his law degree from Georgetown in 1985.
Before meeting her husband, Katie — who had just turned 30 — was determined to walk down the aisle. “I was always very goal-oriented, both professionally and then when I turned 30, I was like, ‘I better get married to find a nice husband,” she explained in book Going There, confessing she “kind of really treated it almost as if I was looking for a job.”
In her book, she recalled the “early days” of their romance and how they met. “Writing this and remembering Jay and the early days of our courtship — the handsome, young, mischievous Jay I met that freezing January night at a party in northern Virginia — it reminded me of the sheer joy of starting out, starting our lives together,” she penned, admitting she wasn’t shy to make the first move.
“I think I was shaped by the burgeoning feminist movement,” she said in an interview with PEOPLE while promoting her book. “Why should I be the one sitting by the phone singing, ‘Let it please be him…’? I don’t think I have a shy bone in my body. But also I am terrified of rejection… I think I knew Jay liked me too.”
Katie and Jay married in 1989 when she was working as a reporter in Washington, D.C. Katie moved to New York City in 1991 after landing the co-host role on The Today Show, while John remained in Virginia (he eventually moved after getting a job at law firm Hunton & Williams).
The couple welcomed their first daughter Ellie on July 23, 1991 and second daughter Ellie on January 5, 1996.
Jay was known as both a lawyer and legal analyst, where he appeared on NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC covering trials like the O.J. Simpson one.
He was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1997, but continued to work through treatments and surgeries. “The grief started there,” Couric said on the Death, Sex & Money podcast. “In six hours my life went from complete contentment to complete chaos. And that period of hearing, refusing to accept, accepting, you know, preparing,” she added.
A year later, John passed away on January 24, 1998.
The news anchor remembered Jay in much her new book Going There — including his final days. “I did everything I could to keep Jay alive,” she wrote. “Looking back, I wish I had done a better job helping him die.” Katie says she wrote the controversial book, in part, for Jay to “come alive” for her two daughters.
“I just thought this was a good time to look back,” she explained. “Because you know they were 6 and 2 when he passed away.”
In a subsequent interview discussing the memoir, Katie says she was “too scared” to face the reality of his death. “I was so worried about letting go of hope, because I didn’t want Jay to spend whatever time he had left just waiting to die,” she said to PEOPLE magazine in 2021. “I think it takes extraordinary courage to be able to face death, and I think I was too scared, honestly,” she explained.
Katie paid tribute to her late husband on what would have been his 64th birthday in 2020. “Jay, we love you and miss you every day. On this day, we celebrate what would have been your 64th birthday,” she penned, alongside a photo of him.
“You completed our January trifecta of bdays…the 5th, the 7th and the 9th. There must be something cosmic about that. You live on in your girls and in our hearts,” she added, signing off with a quote from Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. “Love is really the only thing we can possess, keep with us and take with us.”
Katie Couric and Jay Monahan’s daughter Ellie gets married
In July 2021, Katie and Jay’s daughter Ellie married Mark Dobrosky. She paid tribute to her late father as she walked down the aisle to his favorite song, “Ashokan Farewell” by Jay Ungar and Molly Mason.
“[It] was incredibly emotional for me…[and] so significant to our family because my late father Jay Monahan was a huge fan of their music when it was featured in Ken Burns‘ PBS documentary series on the Civil War,” she explained to PEOPLE magazine after the wedding. Notably, Ellie’s engagement ring is also the same one Jay proposed to Katie with!