Jean Currivan Trebek is married to Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek. She has been married to the game show celebrity since 1990, and has supported him during his battle against stage 4 pancreatic cancer. “For me, the [toughest part] when I see him in pain and I can’t help him,” Jean told GMA. “When he doesn’t eat right. When he has too much diet soda.”
Trebek has praised his wife for her unending assistance, and for putting up with him when he’s “not the most pleasant person to be around.” Read on to learn more about Jean Currivan Trebek, her real estate career, and her marriage.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Currivan Met Alex Trebek at a New York Party In 1988
Currivan and Trebek met at a party in 1988. The former told People Magazine that she was nervous to talk with Trebek initially, given his celebrity status. “I really nervous. I was afraid I’d mispronounce my own name,” she joked. “But Alex is really down to earth. He’s much more casual than he is on the show.”
Currivan and Trebek quickly became an item, despite the 24-year age gap between them. “At first it worried me,” the latter admitted. “But then I thought, ‘The hell with it. We’ll make it work.'” Currivan was not concerned by the age gap, and was content to take things slow. “I can understand why he was cautious about being with a younger woman,” she conceded. “So I didn’t try to push him. We just took it one day at a time.”
The couple were married in August 1990. They have 2 children, Matthew (born 1990) and Emily (born 1993).
2. Currivan Is a Member of the North Hollywood Church of Religious Science
Currivan is very serious about her religious beliefs. Trebek told The New Republic that she attends the North Hollywood Church of Religious Science, and many of her church friends are part of their social circle. The church’s website lists Currivan as a practitioner who regularly takes part in weekly services.
Currivan doesn’t give many interviews, but she agreed to talk about her beliefs and how it has improved her life with Survivor Net in November 2019. “It’s really about self-love. And that love is the love of the Creator, but there are so many names for that,” she explained. “We might say ‘Universal Mind,’ ‘Infinite Intelligence,’ ‘God,’ ‘Jesus,’ ‘Abraham,’ … or if you don’t have a religious background, you might even call it, ‘gardening.’ It really does boil down to being kind to life and your fellow human beings and having compassion for each other’s journey.”
Currivan credited her spirituality with helping her deal with her husband’s cancer diagnosis. “It comes from a place of love, because I want to uplift him … and when I keep my own self buoyed and enjoying my life, I can actually share that with him,” she said. “He can look at me and have a sense of ‘life is beautiful; my wife is doing something good.”
3. Currivan Is a Former Real Estate Manager Who Invested In Her Son’s Restaurant Business
Currivan worked as the real estate manager for her own business when she met Trebek. She has reduced her working schedule since then, but she did help her son Matthew open up a Mexican restaurant in New York City in 2016. Currivan and Trebek purchased a building at 140th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard for their son, which cost $1.92 million.
Matthew told the New York Post that his father has been supportive of his business venture, even though he was hesitant at first. “At first he was a little questionable [about it],” he said. “[But now] he’s definitely supportive, even though it’s an industry that’s kind of foreign to him.” Matthew said that it was his mother who proved to be the more influential parent when it came time to open the restaurant.
Trebek declined an opportunity to invest in the business, but Currivan agreed to put money into it. “My mom and I are much more reserved and shy, and my dad and my sister are a little more outgoing and [want] to be the entertainment people. We try to create a family with our staff because we’re so small.”
4. Currivan Has Suggested Trebek Take a Break from ‘Jeopardy!’
Despite his cancer diagnosis, Trebek has continued to host weekly episodes of Jeopardy! Currivan told Good Morning America that she has suggested he take a break from the show at various points, but she understands how important the show is to him.
“I know its what feeds him. He loves doing Jeopardy! He has his own family over there,” she explained. “They are such a close-knit, beautiful group of people. I think that gives him a lot of support. A sense of purpose and that he’s just not in bed and can be productive.”
Trebek said that he has no plans to step down as Jeopardy! host, and will continue to show up for work until he is physically unable to do so. “There are weaknesses I feel in my body but I can always suck it up when it comes to tape the show,” he told CTV News. “We’ll play it by ear and keep chugging along until we either win or lose.”
5. Currivan Prefers to Stay Out of the Hollywood Spotlight
Currivan will be appearing with her husband on the ABC special What Is Jeopardy? Alex Trebek and America’s Most Popular Quiz Show. That said, she generally prefers to stay out of the spotlight, and leave the celebrity antics to Trebek. She does not have Instagram or Twitter, nor does she appear on her husband’s profile.
During a 2013 interview with photographer Christina Gressianu, Currivan expressed her discomfort being in front of the camera. “I came to do something to get out of my comfort zone. Being in front of a camera definitely does that for me,” she admits. “And glam-ing up, having to put on make-up and having to focus on me is a challenge.”