Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Alex Trebek Was Not 'Looking for Love' When He Met Wife with Whom He Feels Like 'One Soul in Two Bodies'

Oyin Balogun
Mar 18, 2022
02:00 P.M.
Share this pen

Longterm "Jeopardy!" icon Alex Trebek had just gone through a divorce when he met Jean, 24 years his junior. But the game show host was not looking for love. 


Alex Trebek spent many decades hosting the popular game show, "Jeopardy!" but the best part of his life was spent with his partner of over three decades, Jean Currivan. The lovebirds met at a party in 1988 and clicked right away. 

Trebek hosted "Jeopardy!" for four years before meeting Currivan and had just divorced his first wife, Elaine Callei. Currivan was working as a part-time bookkeeper for one of Trebek's friends. She was 24 years younger than the famous host.

[Left] TV personality Alex Trebek and Jean Trebek attend the 2014 AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Jane Fonda at the Dolby Theatre on June 5, 2014. [Right] Game Show Host Alex Trebek and wife Jean Currivan attending the opening of 'Jackie Mason' on May 30, 1990. | Source: Getty Images


In his memoir, "The Answer Is...Reflections On My Life, " Trebek explained that he felt convinced Currivan was the one when they met. However, he wasn't looking for love at the time, having just ended a marriage. The actor wrote:

"I wasn't looking for love. But I recognized at a gut level that here was someone who was going to complete me as a human being." 

Currivan also admitted to sharing Trebek's feelings for her, but she also felt anxious about dating the iconic "Jeopardy!" host. She told People, "I was afraid I'd mispronounce my own name! But Alex is really down to earth. He's much more casual than he is on the show."


Alex Trebek, circa 1984. | Source: Getty Images


Trebek's romance with Currivan lasted several decades, but the couple once admitted that they were concerned about the 24-year age gap.


The "Jeopardy!" icon was 47 when they first met, while Currivan was only 23. Trebek confessed to feeling worried about the difference. He was only two years younger than Currivan's father.

Trebek recalled meeting Currivan's father for the first time in his memoir, and his future in-law realized he would not be referring to the game show host as "son" due to their age difference.

Alex Trebek and wife Jean Currivan attend Hollywood Stars Night Thoroughbred Horse Race on June 22, 1990. | Source: Getty Images


Currivan and Trebek remained friends for a while, but she realized she was constantly attracted to him, despite being cautious of the several decades between them. 

She explained her thoughts, saying, "I kept thinking, he's 24 years older than me .. but there was something that just kept drawing me to him." Currivan later decided to throw off her fear and follow her heart.


Alex Trebek and Jean Trebek arrive at the 19th Annual Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation's Taste For A Cure at Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on April 25, 2014. | Source: Getty Images


In September 1989, Trebek proposed to Currivan most stylishly on her 26th birthday. The late 80-year-old presented her with a birthday gift of black velvet pants and a bolero jacket.

Currivan thought that was the only surprise the famous games master had for her, but Trebek quickly left her gushing after presenting her with a small wicker box. Inside, she found an engagement ring made from a 16-carat sapphire surrounded by six carats of diamonds. 

Speaking to People about her experience, Currivan said, "I mean, it was a rock." Trebek popped the question afterward, and Currivan was thrilled and gave him a resounding yes.


"Jeopardy" Game Show host Alex Trebek poses for a portrait session in 1997. | Source: Getty Images

Close friends of the long-time "Jeopardy!" show host revealed that Trebek was equally excited to be with Currivan. After meeting the real estate agent, Trebek lost interest in being set up with other ladies, as his friends loved to do.


On April 30, 1990, the couple tied the knot in front of 150 guests at L.A.'s Regency Club. The event was an emotional affair for the newly-weds. Trebek felt assured he had made the right choice. Trebek and his new bride didn't waste time in starting a family. 

Trebek admitted being shocked when he found out about their baby's arrival. He remarked, "We wanted to have children, but we didn't think it would happen that quickly—three weeks after we got married!"

Jean Trebek (L) and TV personality Alex Trebek attend the 2014 AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Jane Fonda at the Dolby Theatre on June 5, 2014. | Source: Getty Images


Trebek and Currivan shared two children, Matthew and Emily, during their over three decades marriage. Their first child, Matthew, was born in 1990, while Emily was born in 1993. 

Trebek and Currivan built a good life together as equals and preferred their company to any other social clique in Hollywood.

The lovebirds were rarely spotted outside, except for dinners and rare outings. Trebek also admitted that he preferred to stay home, read a book, or do some repair work around the house. He once said, "I was never into going out to clubs. It wasn't my scene." 

Alex Trebek and Jean Currivan Trebek attend the 47th AFI Life Achievement Award honoring Denzel Washington at Dolby Theatre on June 06, 2019. | Source: Getty Images


The father of three enjoyed having some movie time with his family before bedtime. Living an indoor life helped Trebek and Currivan share a deep bond that kept them together for several decades.

Although they spent many years together, Trebek's marriage was far from perfect. The couple had to overcome several challenges to keep their family together. However, each difficulty they faced only made them closer. 

Currivan once said of their marriage, "Like most long-term relationships, we had our ups and downs, but the truth of it was that we were very close and experienced a lot of life together."

"JEOPARDY!" on set hosted by Alex Trebek. | Source: Getty Images


One of the duo's early challenges was Trebek's mother, Lucille, who was his long-term roommate. But Trebek claimed his mother was never a distraction, and later on, both women in his life got along well.

Currivan never realized how famous and loved Trebek was until he shared his cancer diagnosis news. Then, she said, "I started realizing just how much he was adored by people from all walks of life when he made his public announcement that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer."

Trebek's wife became his caregiver as he struggled with his ailing health. The show host praised his long-term wife for her support and commitment. The "Jeopardy!" legend said his only regret was not meeting Currivan in his 20s.



Alex Trebek and wife Jean Currivan Trebek arrive at the 38th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards show in Las Vegas, Nevada, on June 19, 2011. | Source: Getty Images

Trebek was not only an accomplished show host, but he was also a proud father. The "Jeopardy" icon's children each pursued their dreams, and their success was a source of joy for Trebek.


Trebek adopted his first wife, Elaine's daughter, Nicky, and the duo shared a good relationship. Nicky worked on "Jeopardy!" and is also a singer and songwriter. But her best memories are from her growing days with her father.

Jean Currivan Trebek and Alex Trebek arrive at the 38th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards held at the Las Vegas Hilton on June 19, 2011. | Source: Getty Images


Trebek's son, Matthew, pursued a career outside of the podium. He graduated from Fordham University in 2015, worked as a restaurateur in New York City, and co-owns a Mexican restaurant called Oso.

The youngest of Trebek's children, Emily graduated from Loyola Marymount University and worked as a real estate agent.

Alex Trebek and son Matthew Trebek attend the 11th annual Giants of Broadcasting Honors at Gotham Hall on October 16, 2013. | Source: Getty Images

Although none of his kids became show hosts, they all enjoyed the support of their late father in establishing their careers.