Maria Menounos has announced that she is leaving E! and E! News after being diagnosed with a brain tumor and undergoing surgery to remove it.
“I am so grateful for the past three years at E!. I had such an amazing time co-hosting with Jason Kennedy and working everyday with the wonderful roster of talent on the show including producers, staff and crew. It was such a special, good-hearted group and one I’ll always consider family. A special thank you to Frances Berwick and Adam Stotsky for all the support they have shown me through the years especially during these tough times. I will truly miss everyone and looking forward to this next chapter in my life,” Menounos said in a press release on Monday morning.
President of E! Entertainment, Adam Stotsky, responded to Menounos’ departure in a statement.
“Our thoughts and support go out to Maria and her family and we wish them all the best knowing that Maria will tackle this with the same fierce dedication she is known for. We are grateful for Maria’s many contributions to E! over the past three years,” he said.
Menounos started having strange symptoms back in February that led her to seek medical attention.
“I’d been getting lightheaded on set and having headaches. My speech had gotten slurred and I was having difficulty reading the teleprompter,” she told People Magazine. She went to see a doctor, who ordered an MRI. The results of that MRI showed that Menounos had a golf-ball-size meningioma brain tumor. When Menounos found out the news, she said that she didn’t cry. Instead, she laughed.
“I didn’t cry. I actually laughed. It’s so surreal and crazy and unbelievable that my mom has a brain tumor—and now I have one too?” Menounos questioned. Her mom, Litsa, has been battling Stage 4 brain cancer since last summer.
Menounos has surgery to remove her brain tumor on her birthday — June 4. Her neurosurgeon, Dr. Keith L. Black, was fairly confident that the tumor was benign, but said that he wouldn’t be 100 percent sure until he removed it and the tumor was tested.
The surgery lasted seven hours, but Dr. Black was able to remove “99.9 percent of the tumor.” Menounos said that there’s a six to seven percent chance that the tumor will return.
“I’ll take those odds any day,” she told People Magazine.
Menounos is at home with her family, including her fiancee, Keven Undergaro, who has been a great support system for her. Litsa’s cancer is said to be stable at this time. As the family has gone through so much over the past several months, Menounos’ decision to leave E! News isn’t at all surprising.
“I don’t have my balance fully yet but as long as I’m holding on to Keven, I’m sturdy and fine. My face is still numb. This is something that takes at least a month of healing, but I’m getting stronger and stronger every day and I’ll be back to normal very soon,” she told People.