Stanley Tucci Says His Wife's 'Undying Attention and Affection' Got Him Through Cancer Battle

Stanley Tucci tells PEOPLE about recovering from cancer after being diagnosed with a tumor at the base of his tongue in 2017: "I'm incredibly lucky"

Stanley Tucci credits wife Felicity Blunt's support as what helped him through one of the toughest times in his life.

In this week's PEOPLE cover story, Tucci says that he counts himself "incredibly lucky" to be alive today.

The Oscar nominee was diagnosed with cancer at the base of his tongue back in 2017. He went through a 35-day radiation treatment plus seven sessions of chemotherapy, which ravaged his senses of taste and smell and left him unable to eat, dependent on a feeding tube.

Now, Tucci, 61, is cancer-free and living in London with his wife of 10 years Felicity (who is older sister to actress Emily Blunt) and enjoying his passion for cuisine on his CNN food and travel series Searching for Italy, back for season 2 this spring.

For more on PEOPLE's cover story with Stanley Tucci, listen below to our daily podcast on PEOPLE Every Day.

Tucci spent two years living with extreme pain in his jaw before his condition was accurately diagnosed.

"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," recalls Tucci, who lost his first wife Kate to breast cancer in 2009.

Watch the full episode of People Cover Story: Stanley Tucci on or on the PeopleTV app.

After seeing different doctors, The Devil Wears Prada actor was eventually correctly diagnosed as having a 3-centimeter tumor at the base of his tongue: "They couldn't do surgery because the tumor was so big. It's a miracle that it didn't metastasize. It had been in me so long."

Stanley Tucci People cover- 3-21-22
Stanley Tucci on the cover of PEOPLE. Matt Holyoak

A few months after his treatments ended back in 2018, Tucci slowly began to regain his strength and ability to eat, which was "just the most exciting thing in the world" to him at the time, he says.

Tucci — who shares daughter Emilia, 3, and son Matteo, 7, with Felicity (he's also dad to three older kids with Kate: 22-year-old twins Nicolo and Isabel, plus Camilla, 20) — tells PEOPLE, "Felicity's undying attention, affection and encouragement got me through it."

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Stanley Tucci Instagram
Stanley Tucci/Instagram

Despite some lingering effects from his cancer treatment — some foods still taste "weird" and spicy dishes are inedibly painful — the Taste: My Life Through Food author is back to living his foodie lifestyle to the fullest, enjoying his longtime passion for cooking and drink-making with friends and family. As he puts it, "I couldn't be with someone who didn't care about food. I just wouldn't be attracted to them."

As for how he spends his free time these days, Tucci says: "A perfect day off for me would be going to the farmer's market, buy a bunch of food, start cooking, play with the kids. And then have people over for dinner. To me, that's just a great day."

For more on Stanley Tucci and his life today, pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands nationwide Friday.

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