Maria Menounos rose to fame as an anchor on E! News, but she’s now stepping out of the spotlight to recover from a major health scare.
“I’d been getting lightheaded on set and having headaches. My speech had gotten slurred and I was having difficulty reading the teleprompter.”
And when she finally went to a doctor, she received a frightening diagnosis. She had a golf-ball-size meningioma brain tumor, and it was pushing right on her facial nerves.
The worst part? The E! star’s mother had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer less than a year before.
Menounos almost couldn’t believe that she had developed a brain tumor like her mother, only hers was benign. She told People:
“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?”
The television personality scheduled her surgery for June 8, her 39th birthday. And it was a success. The neurosurgeon was able to remove 99.9% of the tumor during the grueling seven-hour operation.
A month later, Menounos is now focusing on recovery. She’s made great progress with her fiancé, Keven Undergaro, by her side.
Undergaro has been with her every step of the way — literally. After Menounos was prescribed “walking therapy” by her doctor, the two started regularly taking laps around the local mall in order to avoid the California heat.
It’s been a long road for Menounos, but she said she is surprisingly thankful for the diagnosis. Through tears, she told “Good Morning America:”
“I saw it as a huge blessing and a huge gift, because I needed to change my life.”
Earlier this month, Menounos revealed that she had resigned from E! News in order to focus on family and her recovery.
She has now shifted her focus to finding her “purpose” and helping other families facing similar health struggles, instead of focusing on her work, according to “GMA.”
There’s no word yet if Menounos plans to return to television in the future.