Giuliana and Bill Rancic aren’t usually shy about letting people into their personal lives. We’ve watched as the 37-year-old and her husband, a business author, speaker and former Apprentice winner, documented their unsuccessful attempts to have children on their show, Giuliana & Bill (season five starts April 3 on the Style Network). And though the series covered fertility treatments and a miscarriage, there’s a big piece of their lives that’s been unseen—until now. On December 13, 2011, Giuliana underwent a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery in the wake of a breast cancer diagnosis. Her odyssey had started in September. When her fertility doctor ordered a mammogram before her third round of IVF, the couple’s hopeful crusade to start a family took an unexpected turn: The test found an early-stage tumor. After an October lumpectomy failed to get rid of all the cancer cells, the couple opted for the radical solution of a double mastectomy to try to eradicate the disease. (Their other option, radiation and possible chemotherapy, could have derailed their chance of conceiving.) Two months after her surgery, without cameras rolling, Giuliana and Bill, 40, revealed to Glamour the details no one’s heard about their private struggle, her life-changing procedure and what’s next for them.
Giuliana Rancic: After the lumpectomy, we were so done.
Bill Rancic: We were high-fiving each other.
GR: When Bill went on Today, after I’d had the procedure, he was careful not to say we were out of the woods. He said, “She’s doing well.” Then the next day my doctor said, “We have great news in one breast and bad news in the other. You need to start thinking about a mastectomy.” That had been the furthest thing from my mind. I knew nothing about breast cancer before this happened to me, and I thought mastectomy meant stage three or four cancer. I didn’t have a big family history of it. I just never thought it would happen to me. I really didn’t.
I wanted to yell from a rooftop and cry and scream. Bill was the one who said, “Calm down”—and he got out a legal pad. I’m like, “Bill, this isn’t one of your business deals.” He goes, “We’ve got to make a list and figure out the pros and cons of a lumpectomy with radiation and anti-estrogen therapy, and the pros and cons of a mastectomy. Let’s figure this out.”
BR: We could either get busy living or get busy dying.