Stanley Tucci says he almost couldn’t endure the crippling side effects from his oral cancer treatments.
The actor, 62, detailed his “brutal” experience battling cancer during NBC’s “Sunday Sitdown with Willie Geist,” where he described the “awful” reactions his body had to his life-saving care.
“I lost 35 pounds,” he said. “I couldn’t eat. I had a feeding tube for six months and everything tasted like you-know-what and smelled like you-know-what.”
“It took months and months and months for me to finally be able to eat again and then taste properly again,” the renowned foodie added.
Having lost his first wife Kate to breast cancer in 2009, Tucci was especially “terrified” following his 2017 diagnosis.
“My late wife and I, we traveled all over the world trying to find a cure for her. So when I got it, I was completely shocked,” he told Geist. “I was terrified, absolutely terrified.”
While treatment was agonizing for the “Citadel” actor, he praised his wife Felicity for helping him push through the grueling series of medications and procedures.
“I was so afraid,” Tucci admitted. “But Felicity was very insistent. I mean they had to drag me kicking and screaming, but I wouldn’t be around if I hadn’t done that.”
Tucci underwent 35 days of radiation treatments and seven sessions of chemotherapy during his battle with oral cancer. He completed treatment in 2018 and has been in remission since.
Though oral cancer temporarily took Tucci’s ability to taste, his love of food helped propel him to heal.
He told The New Yorker about how cooking shows soothed him during his recovery, explaining, “I would watch cooking shows because I didn’t have to smell the food. I couldn’t smell any food, because it was so disgusting to me; I couldn’t put anything in my mouth.”
“Your taste buds are completely destroyed. It’s not that you don’t taste — you do taste, but everything tastes like shit, and that goes on for months. But I could look at it. Looking at it was fun. And it sort of propelled me to get better.”
While in recovery in 2019, Tucci found purpose in food and embarked on a culinary tour-turned-series: “Searching for Italy.” He also wrote a food-focused memoir, “Taste: My Life Through Food,” where he reflects on “the intersection of food and life.” He writes, “Food not only feeds me, it enriches me. All of me. Mind, body, and soul.”
Watch the full interview below: