The Painful Lesson Katie Couric Learned While Caring for Her Late Husband

Katie Couric is an award-winning journalist who has been a well-known face on television since the 1990s. Couric has traveled all over the world and gained many different life experiences as a part of her job.

Aside from being accomplished in her career, Couric also has a fair share of wisdom to impart from her personal life. Many years ago, Couric hit a rough patch when her husband became ill from cancer.

She ultimately took on the responsibility of caregiving, and Couric learned a lot from that period in her life. Read on below to find out what Couric wishes she had known when caring for her husband.

Katie Couric’s late husband was diagnosed with cancer in 1997

Katie Couric
Katie Couric | Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Couric’s late husband is John Paul “Jay” Monahan, a lawyer and legal analyst for NBC News. He worked on several high-profile cases, such as the O.J. Simpson trial and the Unabomber trial.

Couric and Monahan tied the knot in 1989. The couple had two children together: Ellie (b. 1991) and Carrie (b. 1996).

In early 1997, Monahan was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. He became very ill and passed away in 1998. He was 42 years old.

Couric ended up experiencing another challenge in 2000 when her older sister, Emily, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Emily was a member of the Virginia Senate at the time, and she was also running for lieutenant governor.

However, she dropped out of the race upon her cancer diagnosis. Emily passed away in 2001 at the age of 54.

What Katie Couric learned from being a caregiver

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Looking back on her time as a cancer caregiver, Couric admitted that there were many things she could have done differently. Speaking to Parade, Couric revealed that it would have been nice to meet other people who were going through the same thing.

She said: “Support groups were really just starting to form when Jay was sick. I wish I had sought out other caregivers and other patients to compare notes with and to find support from and just be able to vent to people or to cry with people. I felt very isolated.”

Couric also wishes that someone could have given her advice and steered her in the right direction. When Couric was taking care of Monahan, she tried to keep a lot of things about his diagnosis from him, hoping that it would not make him feel as sad. However, looking back, she is unsure of that being the right thing to do.

“I said to a couple of people, ‘I wish that someone had helped me have a conversation with Jay and know how to handle this,'” Couric shared. “So I hope that people have advice on how to do that and there’s more attention paid to really helping a family with the emotional minefield of the cancer diagnosis and a very bad prognosis.”

Katie Couric is now involved in cancer advocacy

Having lost her loved ones to cancer, Couric is now an avid advocate for cancer treatment and prevention.

In 2000, she underwent a colonoscopy on TV in order to raise awareness for colon cancer and inspire others to get checked.

Eight years later, Couric also co-founded Stand Up to Cancer, a charitable program that works to raise money to fund cancer research. The program started out in the United States but has since expanded to the United Kingdom as well.

More recently, Couric teamed up with the pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. to start a project called #WithLoveMe. The project encourages cancer caregivers and survivors to share their own stories in hopes of connecting with others who are in the same situation.