- Stanley Tucci says food had an important role in gauging how sick his late wife became with cancer.
- Speaking on the “River Cafe Table 4” podcast, Tucci recalled his then-wife often lost her appetite.
- He said when someone is sick and they turn down food it’s a good way to “test” how unwell they are.
Stanley Tucci says food played an important part in checking how unwell his late wife was when she was being treated for breast cancer.
The 61-year-old actor and host of CNN’s travel and food show, “Searching for Italy,” spoke about his first wife Kate Spath-Tucci with Ruthie Rogers, the host of the “River Cafe Table 4” podcast, on Tuesday’s episode.
Tucci was married to Spath-Tucci for 14 years and the couple had three children before she died in April 2009, The Independent reports. He later married Felicity Blunt, the sister of actress Emily Blunt, in 2012 and had two children.
When asked by Rogers how the illness affected his relationship with food, Tucci said: “Well I think when anybody is sick, even if it’s just a cold or flu, you instantly say, ‘Do you want me to make some chicken soup?'”
“I’ll always say, ‘Do you want this? Are you feeling hungry? Why does your stomach hurt? Do you want this?'” he said.
Speaking generally about loved ones, he said that he would often use their appetite as a “test” to see how unwell they were feeling. Tucci said if his wife or children turned down food, “then you know something is really wrong.”
“You go, ‘Would you like a chocolate?’ you know, and they go ‘no, I don’t want a chocolate’ and you go, ‘OK let’s go to the doctor,'” he told Rogers.
Tucci also said his then-wife underwent many different cancer treatments including chemotherapy and radiation therapy but this affected her appetite: “All that stuff made her very nauseous and she couldn’t eat a lot at times and then she would recover and then cancer would present itself again and she would go through the process again and it was horrible.”
“The Devil Wears Prada” actor also opened up about his own struggles with mouth cancer that left his sense of taste “destroyed.”
In January, Tucci told Insider’s Palmer Haasch that oral cancer “compelled” him to cultivate his culinary passion. He also joked that while he could eat almost anything, “that’s probably a terrible idea” because of his age.
Tucci further discussed the experience, which led to him needing a feeding tube, on the podcast, saying: “For me, it was a real nightmare because food is everything to me. It’s now most of my life and not be able to eat properly, not to be able to — everything smelled horrible, tasted horrible — and not be able to sit and eat with my friends and drink with my friends and cook for my family, it was really, really hard.”
Tucci said that while his taste slowly came back he still cannot produce a regular amount of saliva. He added that this limits what he can now eat, such as lamb chops, despite four years passing since he last had treatment.