‘Jeopardy!’ host and his wife speak out about cancer journey

Alex Trebek and his wife Jean sat down with ABC News to talk about the difficulties since his diagnosis with pancreatic cancer and the toughest parts of the illness.
4:50 | 01/02/20

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Transcript for ‘Jeopardy!’ host and his wife speak out about cancer journey
"Jeopardy" host Alex trebek and his wife Jean. We're hearing from her for the first time since his cancer diagnosis. The couple sat down with Michael to talk about their journey that began when Alex started experiencing severe stomach pain one year ago. Iowa caucus knew as soon as the doctor came back and mentioned the pancreas. Iowa caucus said, uh-oh, it's going to be cancer. Throughout my life I've always wondered how courageous a human being I was. Iowa caucus just look at it as it's part of life. Does that mean I'm courageous because I'm dealing with it? No. Iowa caucus could be scared to death and still would have to deal with it but I'm not scared to death so maybe I am courageous. Way to go, Alex. Did you think once you announced it that it would affect people the way it has. Had no idea. That was not my burp in making the announcement. Iowa caucus just wanted to get ahead of the tabloids because Iowa caucus knew they would emphasize and misrepresent what was happening to me. And you've seen some of the headlines in the tabloids. You know, he's not going to make it to Christmas. Okay, I'll show them. I am going to make it and beyond. Reporter: Jean and Alex trebek have been married 29 years and have two adult children. Very simple question. Do you know you're married to an icon? He's just my husband. But Iowa caucus liked it better when she would bow when Iowa caucus came into the house. Those days are gone. Iowa caucus know, Jean, you haven't spoken about your husband's illness before. What's the toughest part for both of you? For me it's when Iowa caucus see him in pain and Iowa caucus can't help him. And when he doesn't eat right. When he has too much diet soda. Back off, Michael. I'm not saying anything. I'm 79. If you get to be 79 and be in as good a shape -- wait a minute. I'm not in great shape. Darn. Boo that one, trebek. Alex has been working through all of this. Have you ever looked at him and said, honey, take a break. You can miss a show? Yes. Iowa caucus mean, to my girlfriends, yes, but Iowa caucus know it's what feeds him. He of loves doing "Jeopardy." He has his own family there. They have a close-knit beautiful group of people so Iowa caucus think that gives him a lot of support, a sense of purpose and that he's just not in bed and can be productive. It's always tough for the caretakers because she has to deal with her worrying about my well-being and also dealing with I'm not always the most pleasant person to be around when I'm experiencing severe pain or depression and she has to tread lightly around me. Reporter: The cancer diagnosis shifted his world. Most of us have open-ended lives. We don't know when we're going to die. Because of the cancer diagnosis, it's no longer an open-ended life. It's a close-end life because of the terrible statistics survival rates for pancreatic cancer. And because of that and something else that is operating here, people all over America and abroad have decided they want to let me know now while I'm alive about the impact that I've been having on their existence. I'm just happy that people are able to express it right now. They have come out and they have told me and my gosh, it makes me feel so good. You see there, those well wish, they really do make a difference. I'm so glad he talked about the caretakers and in particular his wife Jean because they are the unsung heroes when somebody they love is going through something like this. We've had the good fortoour tune to spent time since his diagnosis and that trademark humor. He makes you feel better about his situation, right. And his wife, one of the first things out of his mouth about his wife and how she's taking care of him. Interesting what he said. He chose to speak out and be candid about all this because he wanted to gain control of the narrative and he is doing that and helping so many in the process. You can see so much more of Michael's interview with Alex and Jean on the ABC news special "What is jeopardy? Alex trebek and America's most popular quiz show" at 8:00 P.M. Here on ABC.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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