Pete Sampras has revealed that his wife, actress Bridgette Wilson, has ovarian cancer.
In a statement released via the ATP Tour on Sunday, Sampras said he felt compelled to come forward with his family’s news.
"As most have come to know, I am a pretty quiet and private person. However, this past year has been an exceptionally challenging time for my family and I have decided to share what’s been going on," Sampras, 52, began.
"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," he continued.
Former tennis champion Chris Evert went public with her ovarian cancer diagnosis last year in a bid to raise more awareness of the disease.
"We need to have these conversations. Ovarian cancer is a very deadly disease. Any information is power," Evert said in an ESPN article co-written with journalist Chris McKendry.
What to know about ovarian cancer
Ovarian cancer is one of several gynecologic cancers that can affect a woman’s reproductive system. After uterine cancer, it is the second most common gynecologic cancer in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC notes that ovarian cancer causes more deaths than other gynecologic cancers and often starts in the ovaries. It can also first appear in the fallopian tubes or peritoneum.
According to the CDC, risk factors may vary, but they include being 45 and older, of Eastern European or Ashkenazi Jewish background, having a family member with ovarian cancer, having a genetic mutation such as the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene or having other cancers.
There are multiple symptoms that can signal ovarian cancer, including vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain or pressure, abdominal or back pain, bloating, difficulty eating, feeling full too quickly and a change in bathroom habits, such as a more frequent need to urinate or constipation, according to the CDC. Currently, there is no reliable screening for ovarian cancer in women.
Treatment for ovarian cancer, according to the CDC, tends to be multifaceted and often includes the three treatments Sampras said his wife underwent – surgery, chemotherapy and targeted therapy.
Sampras and Wilson, who famously starred in 1995’s "Mortal Kombat," "Billy Madison" and "I Know What You Did Last Summer," married in September 2000, three years before the former world No. 1 tennis champion retired after winning the 2002 U.S. Open, his fifth U.S. Open title and 14th Grand Slam.
The couple went on to have two children – sons Christian Charles Sampras and Ryan Nikolaos Sampras.
"It is hard to watch someone you love go through a challenge like this," Sampras said. "However, seeing our boys step up and be such strong supporters 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."
Sampras concluded his statement by asking for support and thanking his many fans.
"I have also learned that it is very hard to reach for support when something is simply too hard to talk about," he said. "With that said, I will end this by humbly asking for good thoughts and prayers for our family as Bridgette continues to thrive on her healing journey. Thank you."