In a candid Alex Trebek interview on Good Morning America, the Jeopardy host opened up about some of the dark moments during his stage 4 pancreatic cancer battle. But even on the days where he feels like giving up, his faithful wife Jean Currivan Trebek inspires him to keep fighting!
God brought Alex Trebek and wife Jean together in 1988 and the couple married two years later in 1990. And after more than 30 years of marriage, the pair has certainly weathered many different seasons.
But in 2019, Alex and Jean Trebek entered an especially tough season as doctors diagnosed the beloved Jeopardy host with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
A pancreatic cancer prognosis carries with it an average 5-year survival rate of less than 3 percent. And in interviews, Alex Trebek has always been open about both the good days and bad days he’s experienced.
But when the long-time host sat down with ABC’s T. J. Holmes, he shared even more about the emotional toll the illness takes.
Dark Days For Alex Trebek
Battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer is no easy task. And while Alex has seen some great progress, he’s also experienced crippling pain and heartbreaking setbacks, too.
In this Good Morning America Alex Trebek interview, the host opened up about an especially tough day where he felt like giving up.
"There was one day a few weeks ago when Jeanie asked me in the morning, ‘How do you feel?' And I said, ‘I feel like I wanna die.' It was that bad," Alex confessed. "I apologize to her and explain that it has nothing to do with my love for her or my feelings for her. It just has to do with the fact that I feel like I'm a terrible burden to her. And that bothers me tremendously."
Of course, Jean is quick to assure her husband that he’s not a burden. And Alex Trebek reveals in the interview how the way she remains such a light in those dark times is a true blessing to Alex.
"She's a saint," he said as he wells up with emotion. "She has so much goodness in her that she is always giving out, always putting out to help me get over difficult moments. And there have been some difficult moments. I'm just in awe of the way she handles it."
It’s Jean’s unconditional love and “goodness” in the face of Alex Trebek’s illness that keeps him fighting. In fact, Alex Trebek said in his 1-year health update that giving up would be a “betrayal of my wife and soul mate, Jean, who has given her all to help me survive."
Throughout his cancer journey, the Jeopardy pro has continued to exhibit his usual grace and tact. So, it can be hard to imagine Alex Trebek in these dark moments he describes in his interview.
"I'm good at faking it," he explained.
But even though there are hard days, Alex is also fully aware of the many blessings, too. One of the greatest is having the support of his beloved wife, Jean Trebek. Also, there’s the flood of support he’s gotten from folks all around the world.
"I've received so many expressions of love and so many prayers said on my behalf — since the diagnosis was made public,” Alex said.
In fact, the many messages Alex regularly receives from fans all over inspired him to write a memoir entitled, The Answer Is ...: Reflections On My Life.
Keeping The Faith
Among the other many blessings God has provided is the ability for Alex Trebek to continue hosting Jeopardy, the show he loves so much. In fact, his work on the show is also one of the things helping him through the tough days of his cancer battle.
"It's something that I can't explain intellectually. At a gut level, without even thinking about it, it just happens. I suddenly wake up and I'm able to perform and handle the show because I like it. It’s a good job," the Jeopardy host for 36 years explained.
So, while there are undoubtedly more ups and downs to come, the Alex Trebek interview shows the Christian celebrity is maintaining his positive outlook.
"My doctor has told me that he is counting on me celebrating two years of — survivorship past the diagnosis of stage 4 pancreatic cancer,” he said. “So I expect to be around ‘cause he said I will be around. And I expect to be hosting the show if I am around."
What an inspiration to hear such a raw and honest account of the cancer journey.
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We will all continue lifting Alex up in prayer. We know God has big plans for this humble man!
WATCH: Alex Trebek Interview With GMA About Dark Days & Support From Wife, Jean
h/t: Good Morning America