Harry Connick Jr. is known for many things: his Grammy Award-winning music, extensive acting career, and daytime talk show, “Harry.” Aside from his professional achievements, the 50-year-old is also known for being absolutely head over heels in love with his wife, Jill Goodacre.
The two tied the knot back in 1994, but to this day, he still gushes about her like a newlywed — especially on his show.
Despite giving his fans an inside look into his marriage with Goodacre, whether that be through telling a personal story, bringing her on his show, or serenading her in front of cameras, Connick has just revealed he and his wife have been keeping a major secret for the past five years:
Goodacre has been battling breast cancer.
In a sneak peek at an interview with his loving wife, Connick is shown having his wife detail the time she discovered the terrifying news — after, of course, he poured his heart out to her once again:
“All I wanted to do was grow old with you and have as many years as possible as I could with you.”
He solemnly continued, saying:
“But about five years ago we ran into a little trouble. Remember that day?”
“I’ll never forget it; it’s one of the hardest days of my life. Exactly five years ago this month, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.”
According to People, Connick’s mother passed away from ovarian cancer when he was just 13-years-old, and the tragic loss majorly impacted the way he processed Goodacre’s diagnosis.
“I was scared I was going to lose her, absolutely. I wasn’t going to let her see that, but I was. I know from losing my mom that the worst can happen. She’s my best friend, and I really don’t know what I would do without her.”
Speaking to People, Goodacre recalled back to that horrific day, saying that after her routine mammogram was cleared, she was brought in for a sonogram. The 53-year-old told People that it was then that doctors detected something out of the ordinary. She then quickly underwent a biopsy and soon found out she had Stage 1 invasive ductal carcinoma.
She said she had to almost immediately undergo a lumpectomy — which is a surgical procedure that involved removing a lump or tumor along with some breast tissue surrounding it — followed by radiation.
However, that was barely the hardest part for Goodacre; telling her three young daughters (21, 20, and 15) was much more difficult:
“It broke my heart.”
Her treatment, she said, was absolutely brutal:
“The lumpectomy didn’t come back with clean margins. So I had to go in for a second surgery the very next day. And then radiation absolutely wiped me out. And since then there’s been the Tamoxifen, which I’ve now been taking for five years.”
That medicine, Tamoxifen, helps to prevent the growth of “hormone receptor-positive breast cancers,” according to People, but it can also lead to subsequent weight gain — something Goodacre, a former lingerie model, told People she’s had a hard time with:
“I’ve always been a pretty fit person, and so to be just rounder and heavier and not to really be able to do much about it — that’s been hard. It’s taken a lot out of my self-confidence.”
Connick told People his wife’s weight gain really took a toll on her spirit:
“It’s a part of how the cancer and the treatment impacted her, and it was a real issue, even though she will always be the most beautiful woman in the world.”
Now at the five-year mark — which doctors say is a good cancer-free landmark to hit — they’re both ready to open up about the painful journey.
Goodacre told People:
“It wasn’t like we were superstitious, like if we said something about being in the clear we’d somehow jinx it. But we wanted to be well on the other side of things before we told everybody. The doctors all say that after the five-year mark, things look optimistic, so we’re starting to feel pretty good.”
She did clarify though that her journey with breast cancer is far from over:
“It’s not something that’s just going to go away like it never happened. I’ll always be a little nervous, always having to get checked, always hoping it doesn’t come back.”
Despite the uncertain road ahead, Goodacre does know one thing for sure: Her husband will be by her side every step of the way.
To watch the sneak peek of Connick’s interview, check out the video below: