Jean Trebek opened up for the first time in an interview with NBC News following the passing of her husband Alex Trebek.
Beloved “Jeopardy!” host Alex passed away at age 80 on November 8, 2020, following a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Alex and Jean were married for 30 years.
Speaking with NBC News’ Savannah Guthrie for the Saturday primetime special, “Inspiring America: The 2021 Inspiration List”, Jean revealed how their children are doing: “I think right now, talking with you, I’m good, you know? I’m good. I absolutely have moments of waves of grief that just come over me, I miss him a lot.”
“He wanted to empower people to move through whatever challenge they had in life with a sense of inner strength.”@SavannahGuthrie speaks with Jean Trebek, wife of Alex Trebek, about how she is carrying on the late “Jeopardy!” host’s legacy and keeping his memory alive. pic.twitter.com/OdeohS9Tdr
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) May 3, 2021
Jean also explained how she and Alex were both surprised by how many lives he had touched: “I think one of the beautiful things, the blessings that came, if you can call it a blessing, was that he got to really see the outpouring of love and admiration that he gave to the world.”
“And some people just, you know, you don’t see that while you’re still embodied, you don’t get to really witness all the love that people feel for you. And I know that was in and of itself a huge inspiration for Alex.”
Jean shared of Alex’s openness about his cancer diagnosis: “I think that is one of Alex’s gifts was that he could be very resolute and know that the truth will not hurt you and he wanted to empower people to move through whatever challenge they had in life with a sense of inner strength, inner dignity, and love.”
Trebek wants to continue her other half’s charitable work, as she looks to support a new homeless shelter in Los Angeles. The Trebeks helped fund it for the charity Hope of the Valley, and it now bears the family name.
“He was deeply grateful to be part of the solution,” she said. “We both saw the rise of homelessness. Now we have this beautiful bridge house that’s being built right now to help people.”
The Trebeks were involved in many causes over the years.
“He loved representing the underdeveloped countries, communities,” Trebek shared. “He really wanted to be a spokesman for the underdog.”
She added of her late husband’s beloved job, “Doing ‘Jeopardy!’ really gave him a sense of purpose, a reason to wake up in the morning. And I would say we all need that. We all need a purpose.
“I think that I knew his life on Earth here would wrap up quickly when he could no longer do the show. But he wanted to finish strong, and he did. And he lived life on his own terms.”
The interview aired during the primetime special on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC and Telemundo. Guthrie hosted the program along with “NBC Nightly News” journalist Lester Holt and “Today”‘s Hoda Kotb.