TV personality and WWE fan Maria Menounos revealed that she recently underwent risky surgery to remove a brain tumor and will step down as co-anchor of E! News.
In a People magazine cover story, the 39-year-old Menounos said she was diagnosed after reporting dizziness, headaches and slurred speech to a doctor. She had a golf-ball-size meningioma brain tumor that was pushing on her facial nerves.
“I didn’t cry. I actually laughed,” she told People. “It’s so surreal and crazy and unbelievable that my mom has a brain tumor — and now I have one too?”
Menounos had been caring for her mother, who has stage four brain cancer. She had the seven-hour surgery with famed neurosurgeon Dr. Keith L. Black on June 8 and 99.9 percent of the benign tumor was removed.
“He said, ‘I’m 98 percent sure it’s benign but we won’t know until we get in there,’” Menounos told People.
“I don’t have my balance fully yet… My face is still numb. This is something that takes at least a month of healing, but I’m getting stronger and stronger every day and I’ll be back to normal very soon,” she said.
Menounos told People that she considers the experience a “blessing” that brought her family closer.
“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,” she said.
Menounos said in a statement that she is “grateful for the past three years at E!” and “will truly miss everyone,” but is looking forward to the next chapter in her life.
Menounos has been active with WWE in a variety of capacities — including in the ring — since 2009. The popular personality even had a WrestleMania moment back in 2012, teaming with Kelly Kelly to defeat Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres.
More recently, she’s been a regular presence at the annual WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. She inducted her friend Bob Backlund in 2013 and hosted the red carpet special the past four years. She has also appeared as a guest backstage interviewer at WrestleMania the last three years.