Fox Sports reporter and “Dancing With the Stars” cohost revealed her secret battle with cervical cancer Tuesday, but perhaps the reason why her fans and viewers didn’t notice is because she didn’t miss covering a single NFL game during the ordeal.
Last year was a difficult one for Andrews. Prior to her cancer diagnosis, she also faced another battle – in the courtroom – stemming from the 2008 incident in which a stalker followed her into a Nashville hotel and filmed her by altering a peephole in the door to her room.
In March, Andrews was awarded $55 million in the civil trial against the man, Michael David Barrett, and the two companies that manage the Nashville Marriott, West End Hotel Partners and Windsor Capital Group, for negligence. Barrett had been sentenced to 30 months in prison in 2010 for the incident.
But last summer, when Andrews attended a routine checkup, doctors told her that they’d need to run a few tests, Sports Illustrated reported.
While at a meeting at the New York Giants’ training facility the Saturday before the Week 3 game against the Washington Redskins, Andrews excused herself to take a call from her doctor, who had the results to the follow-up tests.
Andrews had cervical cancer, and she would need surgery, and soon.
“When you hear the word ‘cancer,’ you fear the worst,” her father, Steve Andrews, told Sports Illustrated. “When it’s your child, you think to yourself, you think to God: Take me, not her. She has been through enough. She is just getting her life back.”
Andrews stayed mum on her diagnosis. She covered the Week 3 game and flew home to Los Angeles. While she missed the Monday and Tuesday tapings of “Dancing With the Stars,” ABC chalked it up to her taking time off to support her grieving boyfriend, whose nephew had been killed in a car accident that weekend.
I need to go to bed but can't with this game on!!! Wow
— Erin Andrews (@ErinAndrews) October 11, 2016
Her surgery was scheduled for Oct. 11, but true to her sports fanatic M.O, she couldn’t turn the television off the night before. Andrews then told her oncologist that she refused to miss this year’s Super Bowl LI in Houston, which Fox was hosting.
The leading MVP candidate @M_Ryan02 chats with @ErinAndrews about the pressure to win that elusive #SuperBowl title. #GBvsATL pic.twitter.com/SJliaFtEs5
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) January 22, 2017
Two days after the surgery, Andrews was on her way back to the field by means of a redeye to Green Bay, Wisconsin. On Sunday she was on the sideline for the Packers-Cowboys game at Lambeau Field.
“Should I have been standing for a full game five days after surgery? Let’s just say the doctor didn’t recommend that,” Andrews said. “But just as I felt during my trial, sports were my escape. I needed to be with my crew.”
About a week later, Andrews revealed to her Fox colleagues that she was not OK.
“After the trial everyone kept telling me, ‘You’re so strong, for going through all of this, for holding down a job in football, for being the only woman on the crew,’ ” Andrews says. “Finally I got to the point where I believed it too. ‘Hey, I have cancer, but dammit, I am strong, and I can do this.’”
Halloween in the ballroom thanks to my loves… @AnitaPatrickson @gracewrightt @LAGirlfriend @itsryanrandall #stylebyanita ??❤️? pic.twitter.com/BBz2PUI4yY
— Erin Andrews (@ErinAndrews) November 2, 2016
For the weeks following the surgery, Andrews only thought about football and “Dancing With the Stars.” On Nov. 1, she returned to Los Angeles for another surgery.
At her follow-up appointment on Nov. 17, Andrews’ oncologist told her she wouldn’t need radiation or chemotherapy. Following the news of her cancer battle, her “Dancing With the Stars” colleagues tweeted words of encouragement.
One of the strongest women I know… we love you @ErinAndrews ? https://t.co/0X0SR9ObJ4
— Cheryl Burke (@CherylBurke) January 24, 2017
Love you @ErinAndrews ? You are such a champ ?? https://t.co/96dfaHzMEE
— Jenna Johnson (@Dance10Jenna) January 24, 2017
Andrews’ ordeals have helped her relate more to the professional football players she covers, she said.
“In a way, this all has allowed me to relate to players more,” Andrews said. “I understand what it’s like to be the story.”
As promised, Andrews will be on the sideline for Super Bowl LI between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots.