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Jeopardy!'s Alex Trebek Says He Wishes He’d Met Wife Earlier, Amid Cancer Diagnosis

Jeopardy Alex Trebek Wishes Met Wife Earlier Cancer Diagnosis
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Mar. 7 2019, Updated 1:55 p.m. ET

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Beloved Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek is fighting through one of the hardest moments of his life: his recent cancer diagnosis. Though he has undoubtedly had a wonderful career and is quite content with how his 78 years have played out, there is one thing he would change if he could turn back time: the moment he met his wife.

“I’m pretty satisfied with my life,” the Canadian TV star told PEOPLE this January.

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“But my wife Jean and I have been together almost 29 years, and I was thinking about President Bush when he died, and all the comments about his life about what a nice guy he is, and how he and his wife had been together 73 years. I thought, oh my gosh … if I’d just met Jean in my 20s we could have had a longer life together,” he said.

The show host then joked that it would’ve actually been impossible for him to meet his wife when he was in his twenties, because she hadn’t been born yet. readers know Trebek married second wife Jean Currivan in 1990. She is 55, which makes her 8 years his junior. The two met at a party in 1988 and began dating. One year later, he proposed, and a year after that, they tied the knot in a lavish, star-studded ceremony. The two share son Mathew, 29, and daughter Emily, 26, and Trebek is also a step-father father to Nicky, the daughter of his first wife, Elaine Callei.

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This Wednesday, March 6, Trebek announced on Jeopardy! That he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. 

“Now, just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week I was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer,” he told fans, adding that he would do his best to “fight” the disease and continue working on the game show.

As readers know, he has been the host for 35 years, and though he’s remained extremely committed to his job, he’s suffered a series of unfortunate health crises over the years. In 2017 he had to undergo an emergency surgery when doctors found blood clots in his brain. 

Jean Currivan
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While Trebek recognizes that the chances of his surviving cancer are slim, he refuses to give up.

“Now normally the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this and I’m going to keep working,” he continued. “And with the love and support of my family and friends, and with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease.”

Trebek then joked that if nothing else, he needs to beat the disease because Jeopardy! needs him.

“Truth told, I have to because under the terms of my contract, I have to host Jeopardy! for three more years!” he said. “So help me!”

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