Alex Trebek’s Wife Recalls First Sign of Sickness: “God Will See Us Through”

Photo via Jean Trebek Instagram

Alex Trebek’s Wife Recalls First Sign of Sickness: “God Will See Us Through”

By Allyson Vannatta, Senior Writer

Alex Trebek’s wife, Jean, recounted the moment she suspected her husband was sick and said she continues to rely on God’s love to see her and her husband through his cancer battle.

“We go on little walks together, if he’s up to it,” Jean said in an essay for Guideposts. “We eat dinner together. We watch comedies and movies on TV. Or we’ll sit in the swing in our backyard and sway to and fro, feeling the warmth of the sun, gazing at the flowers or up at the sky, knowing we are loved. Not just by each other but by a God who will see us through all things.”

The JEOPARDY host was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2019. But Jean said she knew something was wrong before then. In her essay, she detailed the moment she thought something was “off” with her husband’s health.

“We’d gone to Israel to visit the sites of the Holy Land in December 2018, taking our son and daughter, Matthew and Emily, then 27 and 24,” she recounted. “We’d finished dinner one night, and I looked across the table at Alex. His coloring seemed off. ‘You feeling okay?’ I asked.”

Trebek said he was fine, but admitted he was having stomach pain. Jean thought it could just be because they were in a different country, eating different cuisine.

When the family returned home to California, Jean recalled, “Things were still not right.”

After his doctor ran some tests, the couple headed off to New York, a trip that was already planned.

“It was there, in our hotel, that we got a call from his doctor. ‘We need to see you as soon as you get back from your trip. We have some concerns,’” she explained.

They cut the trip short and headed back to the West Coast.

Jean continued, “He went in for a CT scan—all of this at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, not far from our house. The doctor called back within hours. ‘We need to talk,’ he said. We went back and got the news. Pancreatic cancer with a tumor that had spread to the soft lining of his stomach. Stage IV.”

After losing her brother in a tragic car crash 35 years earlier, Jean doubted if she’d be able to get through this situation and be strong for her husband.

“Only my faith in God’s ultimate goodness and love had gotten me through that period of my life,” she wrote. “Then I met Alex, as if the Lord had led me through my grief to the man I would love forever. I couldn’t imagine my life without him. Could I accept this diagnosis? Could my faith sustain me now? Could I be strong for Alex and myself?”

The answer, she eventually realized, was yes.

“I wondered then how long we had. More than a year and a half later, we’re still at it, every day a gift,” she said.

To this day, Alex and Jean rely on the small, joyous, everyday miracles in life to stay positive.

“With each passing day, I have found so much to be grateful for. Alex’s work. Our kids, our friends, a sunset, a flower blooming in our garden.

“This didn’t have to be a death sentence. It could be a life sentence.” She added, “A constant reminder of how precious life is. The smallest things that I once took for granted now carry more meaning. I think that is how God keeps us in the moment. He focuses us with grace.”

Movieguide® previously reported how, despite Trebek asking for prayers and declarations of faith throughout his journey with cancer, the host said he doesn’t believe in a particular God. This is a particular opportunity to pray for Trebek and his salvation.