'Jeopardy!' host Alex Trebek's wife Jean opens up about his cancer diagnosis

Raechal Shewfelt
·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek’s wife of nearly 30 years, Jean Currivan Trebek, is struggling right along with him as he continues to undergo treatment for pancreatic cancer.

She was asked about the hardest part of it all during an interview with ABC’s Michael Strahan for an upcoming special, What Is Jeopardy? Alex Trebek and America’s Most Popular Quiz Show, which airs Jan. 2 at 8 p.m.

Jean and Alex Trebek speak with Michael Strahan for a Jan. 2 special, "What Is Jeopardy? Alex Trebek and America's Quiz Show." (Photo: ABC)
Jean and Alex Trebek speak with Michael Strahan for a Jan. 2 special, What Is Jeopardy? Alex Trebek and America's Quiz Show. (Photo: ABC)

“It’s when I see him in pain and I can’t help him,” said Jean, who shares two kids with Alex. “And when he doesn’t eat right. When he has too much diet soda.”

The 79-year-old TV icon acknowledged that his spouse has had a lot to deal with in the months since he announced his condition in March.

“It’s always tough for caretakers,” he said, “because she has to deal with her worrying about my well-being 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.”

Trebek said he’s grateful for the tremendous support he’s received from fans of the show in the wake of his illness, but he dismissed the idea that he’s somehow brave because of it.

“Throughout my life, I’ve always wondered about how courageous a human being I was,” Trebek said. “I just look at it as it’s a part of life. Does that mean I’m courageous because I’m dealing with it? No. I could be scared to death and I’d still have to deal with it.”

Trebek, who’s hosted Jeopardy! since 1984, said in September that he needed to undergo further treatment, because his “numbers went sky-high,” after he stopped chemo. He told Strahan that he’s considering a different kind of chemotherapy or even a treatment still in the clinical trial stages.

“I don’t mind experimenting,” he said. “I’ve got nothing to lose, so let’s go for it.”

On Monday, People reported that one of Trebek’s co-workers said Trebek plans to remain behind the Jeopardy! podium for the foreseeable future.

“He has no plans to quit, and is absolutely not announcing his retirement,” the source told the magazine.

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