Stanley Tucci attends the "Worth" premiere during the 2020 Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Center Theatre on January 24, 2020 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

Stanley Tucci explains why his cancer diagnosis made him “more afraid and less afraid”

Stanley Tucci has, for the first time, opened up about the health scare he faced three years ago. 

Stanley Tucci is, without a doubt, one of our absolute Hollywood favourites – and not just because he’s dazzled us in the likes of Devil Wears Prada, Julie & Julia, and The Hunger Games, oh no. It’s also because, during lockdown, the actor has delivered us nothing but warmth, wit, and wisdom via his now viral Instagram feed, too.

Despite sharing a glut of cooking-at-home videos, though, Tucci has always made a point of keeping his personal life just that; personal. Which is why so many fans were drawn to his latest interview, in which he has opened up about the cancer diagnosis he received three years ago.

Speaking to Virgin Atlantic’s Vera, Tucci explained that he was diagnosed with a tumour at the base of his tongue. And, while he gently avoided talking about the medical care he received at that time, the actor did discuss the fears he felt during that period of his life – fears which felt far more pronounced due to the fact that his first wife, Kate Spath-Tucci, passed away in 2009 after battling breast cancer.

“It was too big to operate, so they had to do high-dose radiation and chemo,” he said. 

“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.”

Stanley Tucci attends the "Rocketman" UK premiere at Odeon Leicester Square on May 20, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
Stanley Tucci is one of the world’s most beloved actors.

Tucci went on to explain that he worried about the impact his illness would have upon his wife, Felicity Blunt, and his five children.

“The kids were great, but it was hard for them,” he said. “I had a feeding tube for six months. And I could barely make it to the twins’ high school graduation.”

Explaining that his cancer is now in remission and unlikely to return, the actor added: “[Cancer] makes you more afraid and less afraid at the same time. I feel much older than I did before I was sick. But you still want to get ahead and get things done.”

You may also like

Stanley Tucci: Searching For Italy is the feel-good foodie TV series we all need right now

Tucci has, it seems, gotten a lot of things done; this year alone has seen him drop a new travel show, Searching For Italy, as well as Supernova, a new romantic drama with Colin Firth. There’s also a memoir about food on the way, not to mention his starring roles in Netflix’s Worth and The King’s Man.

Then, as mentioned, there’s the fact that Tucci’s Instagram feed has positively blown up during lockdown, with many flocking to the actor’s social media page for foodie fun, custom cocktail recipes, and the occasional home movies.

“It turns out that all I had to do, all these years, was just be myself,” the actor tells Vera, when asked the secret to his success.

“Who knew?”

Sign up for the latest news and must-read features from Stylist, so you don't miss out on the conversation.

By entering my email I agree to Stylist’s Privacy Policy

Images: Getty


Share this article

Recommended by Kayleigh Dray


15 engrossing films guaranteed to scratch your Stanley Tucci itch

From Big Night to The Devil Wears Prada, here’s our pick of Stanley Tucci’s best films.

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray

39 truly brilliant Netflix films that make for perfect winter viewing

Print this, laminate it, and stick it to the fridge ASAP, because you won’t want to miss out on any of these.

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray

Stanley Tucci *and* pasta? This new TV series combines our 2 greatest loves

Get ready to become absolutely obsessed with Stanley Tucci’s new TV show...

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray

The best autumnal comfort food? These traditional pasta recipes by Italian nonnas

The kitchen secrets of the YouTube-famous Pasta Grannies epitomise hearty home cooking.

Posted by
Christobel Hastings

Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci’s heartbreaking new film is an emotional rollercoaster

Supernova is coming out later this year.

Posted by
Hollie Richardson