American tennis legend Pete Sampras slot says his wife, actress Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, has been silently battling ovarian cancer since last year.
In a statement posted to ATP Tour’s X page, Sampras said that although he is typically a quiet and private person, his family’s “exceptionally challenging” past year pushed him to share news of the situation.
“Last December, my wife, Bridgette, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Since then, she has had major surgery, pushed through chemotherapy and continues with targeted maintenance therapy,” his statement read. “It is hard to watch someone you love go through a challenge like this. However, seeing our boys step up and be such strong supports of Bridgette, myself and each other has been amazing. Watching Bridgette continue to be an incredible mom and wife through it all has been inspiring.”
He concluded the post by saying it’s been hard to reach out for support during the hard time but that he’s now asking for thoughts and prayers for the family as Wilson-Sampras continues to “thrive on her healing journey.”
Sampras is regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time, winning 14 Grand Slam championships and holding the world No. 1 ranking for 286 weeks. He announced his retirement in 2003.
And Wilson-Sampras is known for her career as an actress, singer, model and being 1990 Miss Teen USA. She appeared in a number of films and TV shows, including “Billy Madison,” “I Know What You DId Last Summer” and “The Wedding Planner.” She retired from acting after her 2008 film, “Phantom Punch.”
The couple has been married since 2000 and share two kids, 20-year-old Christian and 18-year-old Ryan.
Ovarian cancer is the second-most common gynecologic cancer in the U.S. and causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system, the CDC says.
According to the American Cancer Society, a woman’s risk of getting ovarian cancer in her lifetime is about 1 in 78, and her chance of dying from it in her lifetime is about 1 in 108.
It’s not clear at what stage Wilson-Sampras’ cancer is, but the CDC says treatment works best when found early.
Though ovarian cancers can come in many different tumor types and subtypes, treatment usually involves a combination of surgery and chemotherapy, the federal agency says. Surgery is used to remove cancer tissue, while chemotherapy and targeted therapies can target the cancer cells to shrink or kill them.
There is no way to know who will get the disease, but several factors can increase a woman’s risk of getting it, including having relatives who have been diagnosed, other types of cancer like breast or uterine, endometriosis, certain genetic mutations, being middle-aged or older, never giving birth or having trouble getting pregnant, and/or having eastern European or Ashkenazi Jewish background.
These risks don’t mean you’ll get the disease, but the CDC recommends those with increased risk talk to a doctor.