In a candid interview to be published this week, the couple share their grueling journey with the disease and their love for each other.
In 2012, Jill Goodacre, a mom to three daughters and wife of crooner Harry Connick, Jr., went for a routine mammogram that came back normal. However, due to the dense tissue in her breasts, she was sent to have a sonogram to double-check. Unfortunately, the test revealed a lump, necessitating a biopsy, which led to the discovery that she had Stage 1 invasive ductal carcinoma. Goodacre endured a lumpectomy and radiation treatment.
The Connick Jr. family revealed this news of Jill Goodacre’s secret battle with cancer this week in People magazine. As they discuss their harrowing experience, the couple — who married in St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans 23 years ago — demonstrate not only their deep love for each other, but their desire to spend the rest of their lives together, which is pretty refreshing in their celebrity-filled world.
Connick Jr., whose own mother died of ovarian cancer when he was just 13, shared: “I was scared I was going to lose her, absolutely,” adding “I wasn’t going to let her see that, but I was. I know from losing my mom that the worst can happen. She’s my best friend, and I really don’t know what I would do without her.”
Goodacre also shared how giving the news to her three girls “broke my heart.” Explaining to Georgia, 21, Sara Kate, 20, and Charlotte, 15, would have been any mom’s worst nightmare, especially as the girls are all at an age where they can understand the stark reality of this potentially deadly disease.
Thankfully for Goodacre, the disease was caught in time so she didn’t have to go through any chemotherapy. However, “pathology tests showed she also had extensive ductal carcinoma in situ, a less invasive form of the disease,” which meant Goodacre went on to spend five years taking tamoxifen, “an estrogen modulator taken in pill form that helps prevent the development of hormone receptor-positive breast cancers.” This five-year treatment does have unpleasant side-effects, including weight gain.
Of course those extra pounds are worth sacrificing to stay alive, but as Goodacre, a former Victoria’s Secret model, explains: “I’ve always been a pretty fit person, and so to be just rounder and heavier and not to really be able to do much about it — that’s been hard. It’s taken a lot out of my self-confidence.” A lot of women out there will totally get that, model or not.
Thankfully Connick Jr. understands his wife: “It’s a part of how the cancer and the treatment impacted her, and it was a real issue, even though she will always be the most beautiful woman in the world.”
Harry Connick, Jr., could you get any better? Not only do you woo us with your dulcet jazz tones, pop up in the odd blockbuster or two, but you appreciate what a wife needs to hear in such difficult times.
Now that Goodacre has been in remission for nearly five years, the couple feel ready to share their trial with the world. Citing superstition for keeping the news under wraps, saying they didn’t want to “jinx it,” Goodacre shares that “the doctors all say that after the five-year mark, things look optimistic, so we’re starting to feel pretty good.”