Alex Trebek appears to have it all — a long, fulfilling career, a loving marriage, and international fame. But even though he’s had plenty of good moments in life, that doesn’t mean he’s immune to regrets. His recent cancer diagnosis has the 79-year-old Jeopardy! host thinking about what might have been.
There’s no denying that Alex adores his wife of more than 30years, Jean. But he did admit he has one regret about their long-lasting marriage.
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Alex Trebek and his wife Jean were hesitant to start arelationship
The Jeopardy! host first met his future wife at a party and the pair experienced instant attraction to each other. But they didn’t jump into a relationship right away. Jean explained that they remained friends for a while, though they felt deeper feelings than just friendship.
“There was just this deep sensitivity about him with a gruffy exterior,” she said, Oprah Magazine reported. “I kept thinking, he’s 24 years older than me…but there was something that just kept drawing me to him.”
He popped the question and never looked back
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Despite the age difference, Alex and Jean decided to takethe plunge. He proposed to her in Sept. 1989 and the pair tiedthe knot in April 1990. She was pregnant just three weeks later.
Jean recalled how special the engagement was. Alex had givenher a pair of velvet pants and a bolero jacket for a birthday gift, and thenwhen he pulled out the 16-carat sapphire ring flanked with diamonds, she wasthrilled.
“I thought that was it,” she said. “Then he said, ‘Here’s alittle something else,’ and he took out this little wicker box…It took mybreath away. I mean, it was a rock.”
Alex Trebek wishes he had more time with his wife Jean
Alex and Jean have withstood the test of time, which is nosmall feat in Hollywood. But he wishes he would have met Jean when he was youngerand that they had a longer marriage.
“I’m pretty satisfied with my life,” he mused. “But my wifeJean and I have been together almost 29 years, and I was thinking aboutPresident Bush when he died, and all the comments about his life about what anice guy he is, and how he and his wife had been together 73 years. I thought, ‘Ohmy gosh… if I’d just met Jean in my 20s we could have had a longer lifetogether.’”
Alex was previously married to Elaine Callei Trebek from 1974to 1981. He and Jean didn’t have any children, but later Alex and Jean adoptedElaine’s daughter, Nicky. The Trebeks also have two kids together: MatthewTrebek, 30, a Manhattan restaurateur, and Emily Trebek, 27, a Los Angelesrealtor.
He’s fighting for his life
Alex has a lot to live for — his loving wife, his impressive career, and his kids. He admitted that Jean is a huge motivation behind never giving up.
“There were some good days, but a lot of not so good days,” he said of his cancer battle. But he refuses to give up because the love of his life is counting on him.
“Because [giving up] would have a massive betrayal—a betrayalof my wife and soul mate, Jean, who has given her all to help me survive,” hesaid.
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