Blythe Danner secretly battled the same oral cancer that killed husband Bruce Paltrow, the actress is sharing for the first time.
In a cover story for People magazine published Monday, the “Meet The Parents” star, who is mom to Gwyneth Paltrow, said she found a lump in her neck in 2018 and was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma.
“I started feeling very woozy and I was forgetting everything,” she told the outlet, noting that the lump was “right next to where Bruce had found his.”
Adenoid cystic carcinoma is a rare type of cancer that forms in the salivary glands, according the Cleveland Clinic.
Danner and producer/director Bruce Paltrow were married for more than 30 years until Paltrow died in 2002 at 58 following a battle with throat cancer. The couple also share son Jake Paltrow, who is a director and actor as well.
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Danner, who is now in remission after treatment and surgeries to remove the cancerous tissue, said “it’s unusual for a couple to have the same cancer.”
“I remember I looked up at heaven and said to Bruce, ‘Are you lonely up there?'” she told People. “It’s a sneaky disease. But I’m fine and dandy now. And I’m lucky to be alive.”
Danner also said she initially kept the news from her kids because she didn’t want them to worry.
“It was scary,” Gwyneth Paltrow told People, saying it “felt really eerie” because it was so similar to her dad’s.
However, Danner said her perspective on death changed because of her longtime husband.
“You never get over that kind of loss,” Danner said. “Bruce was the heart of our family. And life is so much paler without him around. But grief is the price we pay for love.”
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Gwyneth Paltrow, who turned 50 in September, reflected on aging in a blog post marking her milestone birthday. She noted the differences in celebrating her mother’s 50th birthday versus her father’s.
“My father was gripped by something I could not articulate but I could feel. The membrane between us was porous, as we were so close. He said he was ‘fine,’ but I found him swallowed by something—he felt bereft, unanchored in some way,” she wrote. “It was unsettling. He could not embrace the milestone, this marking of the passage of time. Perhaps on some level he knew it would be his last decade.”
She added: “I am struck by how, for both of my parents, 50 seemed like a reckoning. For my mother, it was a culmination of the wonderous, the highs, the loves, the art. For my father, a culmination of sorrows.”
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Story Credit: usatoday.com