“It was terrifying. My first wife [Kate Spath-Tucci] died of cancer. So when I got it, I was completely shocked,” the Citadel star, 62, recalled during a Sunday, April 30, appearance on Sunday Today. “And luckily, it hadn’t metastasized, but the treatments were brutal. I lost 35 pounds and couldn’t eat. I had a feeding tube for six months and everything tasted like you-know-what and smelled like you-know-what.”
Tucci first revealed his diagnosis in September 2021, telling Vera magazine that doctors had found a tumor at the base of his tongue that was “too big to operate” three years earlier.
“I’d vowed I’d never do anything like that because my first wife died of cancer, and to watch her go through those treatments for years was horrible,” the Devil Wears Prada star told the magazine, noting he underwent high-dose radiation and chemotherapy. “The kids were great, but it was hard for them. I had a feeding tube for six months. I could barely make it to the twins’ high school graduation.”
Tucci and Spath-Tucci shared twins Isabel and Nicolo, both 23, and daughter Camilla, 21. The Lovely Bones actor and the literary agent — who is actress Emily Blunt’s sister — later welcomed son Matteo, 8, and daughter Emilia, 5.
“[Cancer] makes you more afraid and less afraid at the same time,” Tucci confessed to Vera at the time. “I feel much older than I did before I was sick. But you still want to get ahead and get things done.”
Shortly after the Burlesque actor learned his cancer had gone into remission, he started production on Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy. The CNN docuseries followed Tucci cooking — and eating — his way throughout the Italian countryside.
“It was horrible,” Tucci later told The New York Times in October 2021, noting his radiation therapy led to him losing his appetite. “I mean, if you can’t eat and enjoy food, how are you going to enjoy everything else?”
He continued at the time: “It was hard because I could taste everything, but I couldn’t necessarily swallow. I had to chew [a piece of steak Florentina] for 10 minutes to get it down my throat … [sometimes] I just had to get rid of the food.”