Gwyneth Paltrow has praised her “strong” mother Blythe Danner after she opened up about her private years-long battle with oral cancer.
Danner spoke to People about her battle, revealing that she’s in remission after being diagnosed with the same disease in March 2018 that killed her husband Bruce Paltrow in 2002.
Danner didn’t tell her kids Gwyneth and Jake Paltrow for a while.
Paltrow said of when her mom finally told her about the diagnosis, “I was obviously very shocked. It was scary. And it felt really eerie because it was so similar [to my dad’s].”
“She went through it with so much grace,” the actress added. “I was amazed at how strong she was able to be.”
Danner had two earlier surgeries and spent several years exploring alternative treatments, before undergoing a third surgery with Dr. Mark DeLacure in 2020. This removed the cancerous tissue.
“Everyone is touched by cancer in some way, but it’s unusual for a couple to have the same cancer,” Danner told the magazine.
She said of the diagnosis, “I remember I looked up at heaven and said to Bruce, ‘Are you lonely up there?’
“It’s a sneaky disease. But I’m fine and dandy now. And I’m lucky to be alive.”
She explained how she was working in London in 2018 when “I started feeling very woozy and I was forgetting everything.
“And then I felt a lump in my neck, right next to where Bruce had found his [in 1999].”
Danner, who was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, continued, “I kept it from my kids for a long time. I wanted to forge ahead as a mother, and I didn’t want them to worry.”
She said of going through radiation and chemotherapy, “I wasn’t quaking in my boots. I don’t have any fear of death at all.”
Danner shared of losing her husband of 33 years: “You never get over that kind of loss.
“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.”
She said of Bruce’s death and her diagnosis, “I think we’ve all become somehow stronger. It’s a bit of a crapshoot — this disease and this life. But I’ve had a career, great kids and a loving husband. I’m very grateful.”