Alex Trebek's Wife Jean Shares the Hardest Part About His Cancer Battle

Antoinette Bueno‍
Alex Trebek and his wife of 29 years, Jean, are opening up about his battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

Alex Trebek and his wife of 29 years, Jean, are opening up about his battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

The couple recently sat down with Good Morning America's Michael Strahan for an upcoming special and got candid about the 79-year-old Jeopardy! host's diagnosis, including the toll it has taken on 55-year-old Jean. When asked about what the hardest part of Trebek's cancer battle is, Jean said it was feeling helpless.

"When I see him in pain and I can't help him," she said. "When he doesn't eat right."

"When he has too much diet soda," she added in a more lighthearted tone.

Trebek and his wife have two kids together, daughter Emily and son Matthew. Jean admitted that at times she does feel like Trebek should take a break from hosting Jeopardy! but she knows he loves it, and that it gives him a sense of purpose. For his part, Trebek acknowledged that his cancer diagnosis has been hard on Jean.

"It's always tough for caretakers 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," he shared.

The television icon also talked about all the support he's received from fans, including the now viral moment when he fought back tears on air in November after Jeopardy! contestant Dhruv Gaur answered his Final Jeopardy question with "'What is… We [love] you, Alex!'"

"I read it first and then I got choked up because it suddenly registered on me: 'Oh, dear. OK. Yeah,'" Trebek recalled. "I don't mind getting choked up. My oncologist told me one of the symptoms, if you will, of pancreatic cancer is that you get these moments of depression, sadness."

Trebek said all the well-wishes from around the world have definitely had a positive effect on him.

"Most of us have open-ended lives, we don't know when we're going to die," he noted. "Because of the cancer diagnosis, it's no longer an open-ended life, it's a closed-end life ... Because of that, and something else that is operating here, people all over America and abroad have decided they want to let me know now, while I'm alive, about the impact I've been having on their existence. They have come out and they have told me, and, my gosh, it makes me feel so good."

The one-hour special "What Is Jeopardy? Alex Trebek and America’s Most Popular Quiz Show" airs Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Watch the video below to see Gaur talk to Ellen DeGeneres about his unexpected emotional Jeopardy! moment, and how his fellow contestants have a plan to honor the legendary host as the tournament continues.

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