After battling pancreatic cancer for more than a year, longtime game show host Alex Trebek died at the age of 80 on Sunday surrounded by loved ones. The Jeopardy! host had spent his final day "coherent" and not "in pain… sitting on his swing next to his wife," Jean Currivan, fulfilling a wish he had written about in his memoir, The Answer Is...Reflections On My Life.
After divorcing his first wife, Elaine Callei Trebek, in 1981 after seven years of marriage, Trebek met Currivan, who was working as a real estate project manager, at a party in 1988. According to PEOPLE, the game show host invited Currivan to his house for dinner, with Currivan admitting that while she was "really nervous," she soon discovered that Trebek was "really down to earth." What followed was a whirlwind romance, with Trebek popping the question on Currivan's 26th birthday by gifting her black velvet pants and a matching bolero jacket before stating, "Here's a little something else," and giving her a wicker box with a 16-carat sapphire ring inside. The couple would go on to marry in front of 150 guests at L.A.'s Regency Club on April 30, 1990, despite their 24-year age difference.
"At first it worried me. But then I thought, 'The hell with it. We'll make it work,'" Trebek said of their age gap, with Currivan adding, "I can understand why he was cautious about being with a younger woman. So I didn't try to push him. We just took it one day at a time."
In the years that followed, the couple welcomed daughter, Emily and son, Matthew. The couple have supported their children through their various endeavors, with Heavy reporting that in 2016, Currivan invested in her son's business by purchasing a building at 140th Street and Frederick Douglas Boulevard for their son. Along with having a hand in real estate, Currivan is also a professional sound healer, Reiki master, and Religious Science practitioner, having revealed in an interview with SurvivorNet in 2019, following her husband's cancer diagnosis, that she was relying on her faith and "sound healing" to help her "stay grounded."
"It comes from a place of love, because I want to uplift him…and when I keep my own self buoyed and enjoying my life, I can actually share that with him," Jean told the outlet at the time. "He can look at me and have a sense of 'life is beautiful; my wife is doing something good.'"
Her support was certainly felt and appreciated by Trebek, who had praised his wife for remaining strong amid the "pressure" of his diagnosis, which Currivan once said brought back to the grief she felt when her older brother Chris was killed in a car accident three decades ago. Speaking to PEOPLE, Trebek said that his wife "is wonderful."
Trebek is survived by Currivan and their two children, as well as daughter Nicky, his first wife's daughter whom he adopted. At this time, Currivan has not publicly addressed her husband's passing.