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By Rebecca Silverstein
If anyone should be happy to celebrate the end of 2011, it's Giuliana and Bill Rancic. This year, the couple triumphed over multiple hardships, including Giuliana's breast cancer diagnosis and subsequent double mastectomy. But through it all, the Rancics have stayed strong together. Read on as Giuliana and Bill -- who will host this year's New Year's Eve Nivea Kiss Stage in Times Square -- chat about their tumultuous 2011 and their resolutions for 2012.
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Wonderwall: Giuliana, it's been two-and-a-half weeks since your surgery. How are you feeling?
Giuliana: I'm feeling great. The first week, week-and-a-half was hell. I knew it was going to be an incredibly hard surgery, and that's exactly what it was. It was a real struggle. As that first week goes by, you think, "I'm never going to be normal again. I'm never going to feel good again." And then day-by-day, you get stronger and you start feeling a little bit better, and you realize, I will get through this and this too shall pass. My whole thing was attitude. I really changed my attitude and made it very positive. When I would find myself feeling sorry for myself, I would think, "OK, you've felt sorry for yourself. You've thought about all the bad things, but now why don't you think about some of the good things in your life?" I realized, yes, I'm going through tough things, but there are a lot of people going through a lot tougher things, and I have so many amazing things in my life, and I really need to focus on those.
WW: Did you feel pressure to have a positive outlook because you were fighting cancer in the public eye?
Giuliana: When I was on "Today" in October, I remember people called me right after that and said, "God, you looked so scared. You looked so vulnerable." And my mom called me today and she was so happy, like "I have my old Giuliana back! You were laughing on 'Today.' You looked happy." I don't feel the pressure, honestly. In the public, I'm exactly how I am in private life. If I'm scared, I show I'm scared; if I'm strong, I show I'm strong; and when I'm weak, I show I'm weak. I don't feel like I need to fake it. I share what I'm feeling because I hope people can relate to me and see some of themselves in me and somehow I can help them.
WW: What advice do you have for couples who are facing similar situations?
Giuliana: It's really about the spouse or the boyfriend or the partner stepping up and saying, "I know you think you can do it, but for me, let me do this for you because I want to take care of you." I would get into the car, and I would feel bad asking Bill to put my seatbelt on -- not because Bill's not the most amazing person, of course he'll do it for me -- but I just felt like, God, am I that weak that I can't do this myself? I would try to do things and Bill would be like, "Hey, you have to ask me to do this. Please let me lift you up and put you back in bed. Let me help you to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Let me help you put that dress over your head." Bill would even put my hair in a ponytail. Yes, it was off to the side and crooked and half of it was sticking up, but you know what? I couldn't do it.
Bill: In any good relationship, when one person's down, the other person's there to pull them up, and that's how we've always lived our lives. Life is full of ups and downs, and you just hope you're both not down at the same time. Giuliana's always there for me when I need a boost up, and I'm always there for her. You have to set goals for yourself, too. This whole process, we've always had goals, and we've focused on what we needed to do. Certainly, her health was priority one. With this last surgery, we used this New Year's event as a goal. It gave her something to look forward to.
Giuliana: Work is a big distraction for me, and that includes going to E! News everyday or coming to Times Square and doing this. For instance, just being here and being with Bill and walking on the streets of New York, I don't think about my diagnosis and my surgery every minute like I do when I'm in bed at home. Work ... reminds me that there's more to life than sitting at home, feeling sorry for myself.
WW: Has the diagnosis and surgery brought you closer together?
Giuliana: Oh my gosh. There are times in bed when I think, "How did I get here? I'm a good person. I go to church. I pray. Why did this happen to me?" And then I think, "You know, there's gotta be a reason. There has to be a bigger plan here. So I think how is my life different?" Well, Bill and I are closer. I thought we couldn't get closer, but our marriage is even closer, our friendship is closer. We know what we're capable of. I know now that Bill can handle any situation, and I love knowing that.
WW: What are your New Year's Resolutions?
Bill: For me, I just want Giuliana to be healthy. That's first and foremost. And if we do get that, everything else is a bonus. But I think our goal is to take more vacations. We always said we want to live in the present more and enjoy the moments that we have together because you let life slip by and you're 65, 70 years old saying, "What happened? Where did it go?"
Giuliana: It's funny. My New Year's Resolution last year was to eat less dessert. And I think, wow. This year's New Year's Resolution is to get healthy. All I want in 2012 is a clean bill of health. That's all I care about because I don't care what you have in you have in your life: you can have the best car in the world, the best house; you can have all the money in the world, you could have all the friends in the world -- if you don't have your health, then none of it really matters.
WW: What makes for a good New Year's kiss?
Giuliana: There's no more important kiss than the New Year's kiss. It's big. It's kind of out with the old, in with the new, and it's really the kiss of the year. ... I think you've gotta have smooth lips, fresh breath, and some passion behind it. But also I think it's in the relationship you have with the person you're kissing. With Bill and I, what's going to make a great kiss is that it's coming from the heart. We've had such a tough year and the fact that we're looking so forward to a new year, hoping it brings us health and good things makes this kiss probably the most important kiss of our life because we're just so happy to put 2012 behind us.
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WW: Which is more nerve-wracking: your first ever kiss, first kiss at your wedding or having the whole world watch you kiss on New Year's Eve?
Bill: The kiss on New Year's Eve is the most exciting for us. We loved it last year.
Giuliana: It's nerve-wracking because it's in front of so many people.
Bill: Yeah, but I think we both operate well under pressure.
Giuliana: Yeah, I think that one. A-million-and-a-half people are expected in Times Square this year -- there were a million last year -- and then we're going to be the first kiss on the world feed of Times Square. No matter what station you're on, everyone gets the same world feed. The fact that my relatives in Italy are going to be watching and our friends in South Africa, it's pretty wild. Our wedding day kiss, I think I wasn't nervous at all, just because there was so much more to be nervous about that day that I couldn't even think about the kiss. It happened so quickly, and it was kind of just sweet. But this is different because there are cameras watching and there are hundreds of millions of people watching, so it's going to be pretty nerve-wracking.
WW: Do you think there will be a baby Rancic in 2012?
Giuliana: We sure as heck hope so! We're just waiting for our doctors' green light to move forward to try to have a child again. They told us it would be a few months before we could start trying to have a child again because this is a major surgery and it took a major toll on my body, so it's really about getting into a physical state that is ready to have a child, as well as a mental state. As soon as the doctors give us the green light, we'll start trying again. We can only hope and pray. We're definitely not giving up!
Bill: We can only run one marathon at a time, and we need to finish this marathon before we move on to the next one.
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