Alex Trebek Says Wife Jean Has 'Kept Him Alive' Through Cancer Treatment

The "Jeopardy!" host said he struggles with feeling like he's a "terrible burden" on his wife of 30 years.

Longtime “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek has found a lot to be grateful for during his ongoing cancer treatment — namely Jean, his wife of 30 years.

“She’s kept me alive,” Trebek told People in an interview for this week’s cover story. “If it weren’t for Jean, I’d have put myself out of this a long time ago.”

The game show host announced his stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis in March 2019.

Trebek’s memoir “The Answer Is …: Reflections on My Life,” was released Tuesday, the day before his 80th birthday. In it, he talks about how meeting his wife through a mutual friend in 1988 was like love at first sight.

“I mean, you’ve heard stories of people who meet and decide within half an hour; I knew this was going to be the person I’d end up with,” he wrote in the book, according to People. “With Jeanie that’s how it was. I wasn’t looking for love. But I recognized at a gut level that here was someone who was going to complete me as a human being.”

Over the last year, Trebek has been candid about the mental and physical struggles he’s faced since his diagnosis. He recently told fans he’s “doing well,” but he also hasn’t shied away from voicing some of his darker moments, including feeling like “a terrible burden” to his wife.

“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,” Trebek said in a “Good Morning America” interview that aired Monday.

After he shares something like this, Trebek said he apologizes to his wife and explains “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.”

Alex and Jean Trebek have two children together: a son Matthew and a daughter Emily.
Michael Kovac via Getty Images
Alex and Jean Trebek have two children together: a son Matthew and a daughter Emily.

Trebek, who is undergoing an experimental immunotherapy treatment, couldn’t help but get choked up when talking about the support he’s received from the love of his life.

“She’s a saint,” Trebek told “Good Morning America.” “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.”

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