Everything Jean Trebek Has Said About Her Husband's Battle With Cancer

Jean Currivan Trebek recently penned an essay discussing her husband, Jeopardy host Alex Trebek's battle with pancreatic cancer.

Published at the end of July in Guideposts, Trebek's essay chronicles what it was like when she and her husband learned about his diagnosis. While on vacation in Israel in December 2018, she noticed that something seemed off about her husband. She wrote that one night at dinner, the Jeopardy host's "coloring seemed off," but he said that he was fine and was just experiencing stomach pain.

She recalled that the couple learned about doctors' concerns while on a trip to New York. After the couple flew back to California, a doctor told them that the TV icon was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. "It felt as if the bottom dropped out of my world. Again. Alex has been everything to me," she wrote.

Trebek also opened up about the death of her older brother in a 1984 car accident, describing it as a dark period that her relationship with Trebek helped her get through. She wrote that learning about his diagnosis brought on emotions that were similar to those she experienced in the wake of her brother's death. "Then I met Alex, as if the Lord had led me through my grief to the man I would love forever. I couldn't imagine my life without him. Could I accept this diagnosis? Could my faith sustain me now? Could I be strong for Alex and myself?" she wrote.

Trebek showed admiration for her husband and how he's handled his diagnosis. She broke down some of the lifestyle changes they've made and what their routine is like, usually involving a large meal at 5 p.m. and watching Jeopardy together. She called "every day a gift." She also noted that Trebek encourages the work she does writing for her lifestyle website Inside Wink, for which she's a founder and editor.

The two have been married since 1990, but the Jeopardy host's wife was pretty private before his cancer diagnosis, as previously reported. In a November 2019 interview with SurvivorNet, Trebek spoke about practicing sound healing, Reiki and religious science. She said while the practice helps her, it gives her husband some positivity. "It comes from a place of love, because I want to uplift him ... and when I keep my own self buoyed and enjoying my life, I can actually share that with him. He can look at me and have a sense of 'life is beautiful; my wife is doing something good,'" she explained.

In ABC's January special What Is Jeopardy?, about the beloved game show, Trebek shared the hardest part of seeing her husband battle cancer. "It's when I see him in pain and I can't help him," she said. "And when he doesn't eat right. When he has too much diet soda." She also noted that the show gave him "a sense of purpose."

The host has spoken extensively about his wife's support during his illness. "It's always tough for the caretakers, because she has to deal with her worrying about my wellbeing, and also dealing with—I'm not always the most pleasant person to be around, when I'm experiencing severe pain or depression, and she has to tread lightly around me," he said in What Is Jeopardy?

Alex Trebek's agent did not respond to Newsweek's emailed request for comment in time for publication.

Alex Trebek
Alex Trebek (R) and wife Jean Currivan Trebek arrive at the 38th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards show in Las Vegas, Nevada, on June 19, 2011. Jean Trebek recently wrote a piece for "Guideposts" speaking about what her and her husband's lives have been like since his pancreatic cancer diagnosis. Getty/ADRIAN SANCHEZ-GONZALEZ/AFP