Stanley Tucci Opens up About His Past Cancer Battle

Stanley Tucci announced last fall that he fought cancer, surprising his fans around the world. Now, the Searching for Italy star is opening up about the battle, crediting the support from his wife Felicity Blunt for helping him get through the most difficult periods in his life. Tucci, 61, was diagnosed with cancer at the base of his tongue in 2017 but is now cancer-free.

The Devil Wears Prada star considers himself "incredibly lucky" to be alive, he told PEOPLE this week. Tucci lived two years with extreme jaw pain before he was finally diagnosed correctly. "I had a scan, but the scan missed it. And of course, when you think that there might be something wrong, you're also afraid that there is something wrong," he said.

Tucci's doctors discovered a 3-centimeter tumor at the base of his tongue, but they could not do surgery since it was so big, the Oscar nominee explained. "It's a miracle that it didn't metastasize. It had been in me so long," he said. After his final treatments in 2018, the process of regaining his strength and ability to eat was slow, but also the "most exciting thing in the world" at the time.

"Felicity's undying attention, affection, and encouragement got me through it," Tucci said. Tucci and Blunt, who have been married for 10 years, are parents to son Matteo, 7, and Emilia, 3. Tucci also has three older children from his marriage to Kate Spath, who died from breast cancer in 2009.

There are still some lingering side effects from the cancer treatments that cause some foods to taste "weird" and make spicy foods painful to eat. However, Tucci told PEOPLE his passion for food and cooking hasn't wavered. "I couldn't be with someone who didn't care about food. I just wouldn't be attracted to them," Tucci said.

In September 2021, Tucci spoke out about his cancer battle for the first time in an interview with Vera Magazine. At the time, he said he was most concerned about the impact his cancer treatments had on his family. "The kids were great, but it was hard for them," he said at the time. "I had a feeding tube for six months. I could barely make it to the twins' high school graduation."

Tucci now hosts CNN's Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy. The first season aired in February and March 2021 and earned an Emmy for Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series. He also published his latest book, Taste: My Life Through Food, in October. Tucci was recently cast as music mogul Clive Davis in the Whitney Houston biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody