Tonight, Maria Menounos is helping Steve Harvey to host the FOX network’s New Year’s Eve special. This will be her first televised hosting gig since her brain tumor diagnosis. Over the summer, Menounos left her gig at the E! network after being diagnosed with the tumor and going through surgery to remove it. In a statement via E!, Menounos said at the time, “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.”
In February 2017, Menounos started experiencing symptoms, telling People that, “I’d been getting lightheaded on set and having headaches. My speech had gotten slurred and I was having difficulty reading the teleprompter.” Menounos was diagnosed with golf-ball-size meningioma brain tumor after getting an MRI done.
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This video was taken 24 hours after my brain surgery. I still can’t believe that you can eat and speak normally so soon after. It was hard to keep my eyes open bc i was seeing double at this point. I’ve received so many messages from people saying that my story has helped them, and on my 6 month anniversary I wanted to share this so if you are about to go through this you can see with your own eyes what it can be like. Everyone is different…but if I can ease your fears a bit I would like to. Also want to stress the importance of friends! @alyssawallerce my best friend of 26 years was by my side for months and she fed me this first meal (broth)…it’s a journey and you need help so Don’t be afraid to ask for it. Forever grateful to alyssa and all my amazing friends who helped me through this!
Menounos underwent surgery in June 2017 and by September 2017, she told the Today Show that, “I feel so lucky to be functioning and to be almost normal and to not have cancer … For me having so much time and so much stillness, I’ve been able to look back and everything. And I did see this all as a gift and I did shift everything into positives throughout this whole journey. I think that’s really important. We’re all going to have really hard times in life. It’s how we respond, how we react, how we shift to see the good. Because out of every bad thing, something good comes if you see it — if you open your mind to it.” So, fortunately, Menounos’ tumor was benign.
In an interview with Women’s Health, Menounos recalled how she told the people she loved that she had a brain tumor. Menounos explained, “The only time I cried was when I told people. I had tried IVF, so the first thing my parents and friends thought when I called with news was, ‘You’re pregnant!’ I had to say, ‘No, it’s not good news.’ The hardest part was telling my inner circle, people like Vin Diesel, Tony Robbins, Wilmer Valderrama. But they were wonderful. They told me how much I mean to them—things people usually say at your funeral, but I got to hear them while I am alive. Wilmer said, ‘Maria, you’re a mama bear. You take care of us. You never ask for anything.’ I’m like, ‘Are you talking about me?’ I didn’t even realize what or who I was, because I was so focused on work and trying to be perfect.”
Menounos also said that her brain tumor is the best thing that has ever happened to her. She went on to say, “It’s freed me from all of that anxiety of having to be perfect. You can’t control everything; leave it to God and just say, ‘Okay, this is my journey.'” Menounos says that today, she takes things at a slower pace and keeps her health in mind. She also tries to enjoy life and not overload her schedule like she has in the past.