Alex Trebek is thankful everyday for having his wife Jean by his side.
The longtime “Jeopardy!” host opened up about his marriage in a new memoir titled “The Answer Is… Reflections On My Life,” which is out now. In the book, the 80-year-old described how the 56-year-old has been his rock during his stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis.
“She’s kept me alive,” the host told People magazine on Wednesday. “If it weren’t for Jean, I’d had put myself out of this a long time ago.”
Trebek first met Jean through a mutual friend in 1988 when he was 47 years old. At the time, Trebek had been hosting “Jeopardy!” for just four years. According to the outlet, he was newly single after his divorce from his first wife, businesswoman Elaine Callei. As for Jean, who was 23 at the time, she was doing part-time bookkeeping for one of Trebek’s friends.
Alex Trebek revealed that his wife, Jean Currivan, has been the best support he’s had throughout his cancer battle.
(Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI)
“With Jean, it just happened,” Trebek wrote in his book, as reported by People. “Sometimes you look at something, you look at someone, and you know. 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.
“With Jeanie, that’s how it was,” he continued. “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.”
Back in 1990, Trebek admitted that their 24-year age gap initially concerned him.
“At first it worried me,” he said. “But then I thought, ‘To hell with it. We’ll make it work.’”
In his book, Trebek recalled meeting Jean’s father for the first time, a man who was only two years older than he was.
“He was running a private investigation firm in New York, and he had arranged for a boat to host some family and friends for an engagement party,” he wrote. “When Jeanie introduced me to him, he took one look at me and said, ‘I guess I won’t be calling you ‘son.’”
Alex Trebek and Jean Currivan Trebek attend the 47th AFI Life Achievement Award honoring Denzel Washington at Dolby Theatre on June 06, 2019, in Hollywood, California.
((Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI))
Trebek and Jean married in 1990.
“When the minister said, ‘Do you, Alex, take Jean to be your wife?’” he wrote. “I said, ‘The answer is… Yes.’ Leave it to me, always trying to go for a laugh. And I got one. Everybody cracked up.”
Three weeks after tying the knot, the couple learned Jean was pregnant with their son Matthew, now 29. Trebek and Jean later welcomed a daughter named Emily, now 26, in 1993.
Today, Matthew owns a restaurant in New York while Emily works in real estate.
Trebek received his cancer diagnosis in March 2019. Despite the devastating news, the couple’s love for each other has endured. The outlet noted they just celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary.
“I’ve got [a] framed image,” wrote Trebek. “Jeanie gave it to me. It’s a line from our favorite movie, ‘Wuthering Heights.’ ‘Whatever our souls are made of, yours and mine are the same.’ That’s the way I look at our relationship. We are one soul in two bodies.”