Maria Menounos leaving E! following brain tumor surgery
Maria Menounos is stepping down as co-anchor of E! News in the wake of surgery to remove a golf ball-size brain tumor, the network said Monday.
The 39-year-old TV personality revealed in People magazine’s new issue that she was diagnosed with a meningioma brain tumor back in February, while her own mother, Litsa, was battling Stage 4 cancer in her brain.
Menounos’ surgeon was able to remove almost 100% of the tumor, which was benign, during a complicated seven-hour surgery, she told the publication.
“He said there’s a six to seven percent chance that we’ll see it come back,” said Menounos, who is recovering at home. “But I’ll take those odds any day.”
Menounos, 39, joined E! in 2014 and began co-hosting its news program the following year.
“Our thoughts and support go out to Maria and her family and we wish them all the best knowing that Maria will tackle this with the same fierce dedication she is known for,” Adam Stotsky, president of E! Entertainment, said in a statement. “We are grateful for Maria’s many contributions to E! over the past three years.”
“I just want to be still for a bit and see what I’m supposed to be in this world,” Menounos said. “For me, sharing this story is important on so many levels.”
The diagnosis came after Menounos began feeling lightheaded on set and suffering from headaches and slurred speech in February.
It also came at a time when the TV personality, who also hosts a Sirius XM radio and has appeared on “Dancing with the Stars,” was grappling with another family medical issue: Her mother has stage 4 brain cancer.
“First I wanna say thank you all for the well wishes, prayers and support. It’s been a crazy time here in our home,” Menounos captioned the photo of herself kissing her mom’s head. “I want you all to know that I’m ok! Seriously I’m recovering well and should be as good as new very very soon! Luckily I don’t need any further treatments but I can’t say the same about my mom. So please keep her in your prayers.”
She also took a moment to thank the nurses and medical professionals who treated her at Cedars-Sinai in NYC.
“Most people want to rush out of the hospital to get home I kept saying I’ve never been treated kinder,” she wrote. “I cried like a baby saying goodbye to the amazing nurses who took such good care of me. God bless nurses! I of course need to thank dr black and dr Chu for performing an amazing surgery and giving me the best bday gift ever-my health.”
And while the experience was certainly scary, Menounos is finding the positives in her situation.
Menounos said she views it all as a “blessing” that has brought her family closer.
It’s also made her re-evaluate her life and health, she said.
“We’re caretakers as women and we put ourselves last,” she told People. “I tell people all the time if your car is making a weird noise, you take it to the mechanic. How come when our body is making weird noises, we ignore it? I’m so lucky that I went to the doctor and raised the alarm.”
“I am so grateful for the past three years at E!, I had such an amazing time co-hosting with Jason Kennedy and working everyday with the wonderful roster of talent on the show including producers, staff and crew,” Menounos said in a statement. “It was such a special, good-hearted group and one I’ll always consider family. A special thank you to Frances Berwick and Adam Stotsky for all the support they have shown me through the years especially during these tough times. I will truly miss everyone and looking forward to this next chapter in my life.”