‘Jeopardy!’ Host Alex Trebek Reveals 1 Regret He Has About His Marriage to His Wife Jean

Alex Trebek appears to have it all — a long, fulfilling career, a loving marriage, and international fame. But even though he’s had plenty of good moments in life, that doesn’t mean he’s immune to regrets. His recent cancer diagnosis has the 79-year-old Jeopardy! host thinking about what might have been.

There’s no denying that Alex adores his wife of more than 30 years, Jean. But he did admit he has one regret about their long-lasting marriage.

Alex Trebek and Jean Trebek
Alex Trebek and Jean Trebek | Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI

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Alex Trebek and his wife Jean were hesitant to start a relationship

The Jeopardy! host first met his future wife at a party and the pair experienced instant attraction to each other. But they didn’t jump into a relationship right away. Jean explained that they remained friends for a while, though they felt deeper feelings than just friendship.

“There was just this deep sensitivity about him with a gruffy exterior,” she said, Oprah Magazine reported. “I kept thinking, he’s 24 years older than me…but there was something that just kept drawing me to him.”

He popped the question and never looked back

Alex and Jean Trebek
Alex Trebek and wife Jean | Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

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Despite the age difference, Alex and Jean decided to take the plunge. He proposed to her in Sept. 1989 and the pair tied the knot in April 1990. She was pregnant just three weeks later.

Jean recalled how special the engagement was. Alex had given her a pair of velvet pants and a bolero jacket for a birthday gift, and then when he pulled out the 16-carat sapphire ring flanked with diamonds, she was thrilled.

“I thought that was it,” she said. “Then he said, ‘Here’s a little something else,’ and he took out this little wicker box…It took my breath away. I mean, it was a rock.”

Alex Trebek wishes he had more time with his wife Jean

Alex and Jean have withstood the test of time, which is no small feat in Hollywood. But he wishes he would have met Jean when he was younger and that they had a longer marriage.

“I’m pretty satisfied with my life,” he mused. “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.’”

Alex was previously married to Elaine Callei Trebek from 1974 to 1981. He and Elaine didn’t have any children, but Alex adopted Elaine’s daughter, Nicky. Alex and Jean have two kids together: Matthew Trebek, 30, a Manhattan restaurateur, and Emily Trebek, 27, a Los Angeles real estate agent.

He’s fighting for his life

Alex Trebek
Alex Trebek | Kris Connor/Getty Images

Alex has a lot to live for — his loving wife, his impressive career, and his kids. He admitted that Jean is a huge motivation behind never giving up.

“There were some good days, but a lot of not so good days,” he said of his cancer battle. But he refuses to give up because the love of his life is counting on him.

“Because [giving up] would have a massive betrayal—a betrayal of my wife and soul mate, Jean, who has given her all to help me survive,” he said.