‘I needed to change everything’: Maria Menounos opens up and says brain tumor was a ‘gift’

Maria Menounos believes, in some way, her brain tumor served as “a gift,” forcing her to make much needed changes in her life.

In an emotional interview with Megyn Kelly that will be airing this weekend, the former E! News host shared about her battle with the diagnosis she received in February, the subsequent brain surgery on her 39th birthday in June and taking care of her mother who is battling stage 4 brain cancer.

(Images: screengrab NBC)

“I think that this was a gift, because I needed to change my life. I needed to change the way I did everything,” Menounos told Kelly in the “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly” preview that aired Friday on the Today show.

The former Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight reporter stepped down as co-anchor of E! News amid the turmoil and held back tears telling Kelly about caring for her mother who is apparently battling the same type of brain cancer that Senator John McCain was diagnosed with this week.

“I hear ‘stage 4 brain cancer,’ I don’t think anything good is coming from that, that’s for sure,” she told Kelly about when she found out about her mother’s diagnosis. “They just said: ‘We need to operate and remove this tumor.’ ”

maria menounos diagnosed brain cancer mom Litsa battle stage 4 cancer

Menounos reached out in a message to McCain’s family after the news broke about the senator’s diagnosis of brain cancer, telling his daughter Meghan McCain she was there for her if needed.

Menounos herself underwent a seven-hour procedure in June to remove the golf ball-sized brain tumor, which was benign. She said she found herself “chuckling” in disbelief when her doctor gave her the diagnosis in February.

“He said: ‘I’m so sorry I have to tell you this because I know you’re going through a lot with your mom, but you have a brain tumor. It’s called a meningioma. You need to schedule an appointment with a neurosurgeon right away,’ ” she recalled. “I started kind of chuckling. Because at this point it’s like: ‘This is a joke. Like, how does this happen?’ ”

And while Menounos is on the road to recovery, with 99.9 percent of the tumor removed, she fought back tears speaking about her mother’s difficult journey ahead.

“I just hope that we can make her one of the long-term survivors,” Menounos said, tearing up and causing Kelly to fight back tears as well. “Because I’m worried about her. Nobody ever wants to lose their mom.”

The full interview with Menounos on “Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly” will air at 7pm on NBC this Sunday.

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