Jean Trebek Says She and Late Husband Alex Trebek Were 'Equal Partners' in Their Marriage

Alex Trebek died on Nov. 8, 2020, at age 80 after suffering from stage 4 pancreatic cancer

Alex Trebek; Jean Currivan Trebek
Alex and Jean Trebek. Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images

Jean Trebek is reflecting on the loss of her husband, Alex Trebek.

In the October 2021 issue of The Eden Magazine, Jean, 58, opened up about her marriage with the late Jeopardy! host — who died on Nov. 8, 2020, at age 80 — and how she copes with grief almost one year after his death.

Calling Alex her "most beloved friend," Jean said that she never realized how much of an impact her husband had on the world until he went public with his stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

"Like most long-term relationships, we had our ups and downs, but the truth of it was that we were very close and experienced a lot of life together," she shared, explaining how it was "important to Alex to keep his personal life separate from his professional life" aside from when they would make public appearances.

"For the most part, Alex and I enjoyed staying at home. When we did go out, it was perhaps for a quick dinner or movie every now and then, so it wasn't like we were always out in public for me to really notice his popularity," she continued. "I started realizing just how much he was adored by people from all walks of life when he made his public announcement that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer."

Alex Trebek
Alex and Jean Trebek in 2019. Michael Kovac/Getty Images

According to Jean, the couple received "cartons of mail every day" from fans after the game show host disclosed his diagnosis. "It was astonishing!" she remembered.

"In looking back, the fact that I did not identify Alex as an 'icon' was a gift," she said. "We were equal partners in a marriage, and we had our own personal growth issues to deal with just like any ordinary couple."

"It would have been really weird for both Alex and myself if I thought of him as some celebrity. He could just be himself at home, and that was it," Jean added.

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The couple met in 1988, when Trebek had been hosting Jeopardy! for just four years. At the time, Jean was working as a part-time bookkeeper for one of Trebek's friends.

Jean and Alex tied the knot in 1990 and went on to have two children together: son Matthew and daughter Emily. Trebek was also father to another daughter named Nicky from a previous marriage.

RELATED VIDEO: Alex Trebek's Wife Jean Shares Photo from Their Wedding as She Thanks Fans for Support After Husband's Death

When asked about dealing with grief, Jean told The Eden Magazine that she's been leaning on loved ones after Alex's death.

"There are moments of my day that I miss Alex so much, and I just have to allow myself those times. Sometimes I feel as if he's been on a long vacation, and then there are other times that the reality of the absence of his presence is really palatable," she said. "I find that being with my family and friends or doing something creative and new is really helpful."

RELATED GALLERY: Alex & Jean Trebek's Love Story in Photos

Reflecting on his decades-long relationship with Jean, Alex told PEOPLE last January, "I'm pretty satisfied with my life."

"But my wife Jean and I have been together almost 29 years, and I was thinking about President Bush when he died, and all the comments about his life about what a nice guy he is, and how he and his wife had been together 73 years. I thought, oh my gosh … if I'd just met Jean in my 20s we could have had a longer life together," he said at the time.

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