"If I'd just met Jean in my 20s we could have had a longer life together," he added. He then quipped jokingly, "I guess if I’d met her when I was in my 20s she wouldn't have been born yet. But hey, 29 years is pretty good!"
Regret is something most of us have in common. It may be because we've done something horrible or because we just did not have the chance to get something done. But, at the end of the day, regret is all the same.
It comes in all shapes and sizes. People can regret not having gotten enough time to spend with someone, or a chance to live their life. Alex Trebek and Jean Currivan's story is that of love and a little bit of regret. The longtime host of the game show Jeopardy! revealed that he is battling stage IV pancreatic cancer and he says he regrets not meeting his wife earlier in life.
However, the days they did spend together were filled with love and they did break a lot of barriers with their relationship, as they went on prove that age does not matter. Trebek, 79, exchanged vows with Jean Currivan, 56, in 1990 after courting her for two years.
They have been the epitome of togetherness and companionship ever since. In an interview with PEOPLE, the 78-year-old confessed, "I'm pretty satisfied with my life." However, thinking about death made him realize that they could have been together longer but destiny has its own schemes."
"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 added.
He then quipped jokingly, "I guess if I’d met her when I was in my 20s she wouldn't have been born yet. But hey, 29 years is pretty good!"
The couple never let criticism and judgment get in the way of their relationship, one that many thought was unconventional. At the end of the day, their relationship not only nurtured them and their family but also inspired their admirers to not hold back when in love.
Trebek spoke about their massive age gap in a 1990 interview with PEOPLE, which shows how determined he was to make his relationship with Jean work, "At first it worried me," Trebek shared. "But then I thought, 'The hell with it. We'll make it work.'"
As Trebek puts it, Jean has been more than understanding and supportive of him, "I can understand why he was cautious about being with a younger woman,” said Jean.
“So I didn’t try to push him. We just took it one day at a time." Looking at their relationship, you'd think it was always love at first sight. However, Jean revealed that their relationship, the one that's inspired millions of people, eventually started as a friendship. but there was something about it that drew her to him.
"There was just this deep sensitivity about him with a gruffy exterior," she says. "I kept thinking, he's 24 years older than me but there was something that just kept drawing me to him."
But what's that one thing that keeps her drawn to him? "He's got a great sense of humor," she said. "He takes his job very seriously, but won't take himself too seriously." He's also youthful. "He's just an intelligent human being," Jean said. "Part of Alex's staying youthful is his staying curious."
The couple has been married for almost three decades now and they are proud parents to two children, Matthew, 29, a restaurateur and Emily, 27, who works in real estate in Los Angeles.
"They’re really sharp, and have done their due diligence in their respective endeavors," Trebek said of their children. Jean added, "They're both very compassionate, sensitive people. They're really the best of Alex and I. You can talk to them. They're our good friend."
Even though their love story is one for the books, it's not always been this smooth. Even if leaving the other person seems like the better option, a bit of dedication and constant work in the relationship can make it last and go a long way. And that's exactly what Jean and Trebek did.
"We have our challenges," she said. "And then we have our really beautiful times, where we're just so blessed to know that we're in each other's courtyard."