Heartbroken celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli has opened up about his devastation following his 10-week-old son’s cancer diagnosis
Jean-Christophe, 55, spoke out about his family’s heartache after revealing that his 10-week-old son, Valentino, has been receiving treatment for neuroblastoma – a rare form of childhood cancer.
Speaking on This Morning, the dad of four revealed to Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield how he broke the tragic news to his other young children.
‘It’s been difficult because obviously the mum missing is a huge loss obviously for them on a daily basis,’ he said. ‘Valentino not to be there also, clearly.’
Jean-Christophe and fiancée Michelle first tried to protect their young children, eight-year-old Jean Frankie and four-year-old Jacques, from the heartbreak.
However, he added that he had to break the news after one of his sons heard baby Valentino being talked about at school.
He explained: ‘The problem is the oldest one is eight years old and one day I was driving him to school and he said: “I don’t understand dad. Everyone is mentioning Valentino’s name at school”. And then I realised I’ve got to give them the truth. I’ve got to say exactly what is going on, what is cancer, what is the chemo, the full experience. I cannot lie to them.’
Speaking to the Sunday Mirror, the celebrity chef revealed his despair after he and fiancée Michelle Kennedy found a lump on Valentino’s neck in October.
‘We found a lump in Valentino’s neck and we both went to pieces’, he said.
Within days the growth had doubled in size and an MRI scan revealed it was cancerous.
He continued: ‘There have been nights when I have sat alone, crying, asking God why this has happened to my little boy and not to me. I wish I could change places with him.’
The father of four also spoke out in support of fellow dad Michael Bublé, after the news that his son Noah is also battling cancer: ‘My heart goes out to the Bublés and any other family facing cancer.’
Neuroblastoma cancer is a cancer of the neural crest cells. They are specialised nerve cells which help develop the nervous system. The condition affects fewer than 100 children in the UK each year, with most of them aged under five years old.
Neuroblasta makes up eight percent of the total number of childhood cancers and is the second most comment solid tumour found in children.
A spoksperson for Jean-Christophe announced at the time of Valentino’s diagnosis that the chef has put off all his immediate work in order to spend more time with his family.
They said: ‘Jean-Christophe’s priority at this time is supporting his family as they deal with this devastating news, it is still very early days but they remain positive and they believe the NHS experts are doing everything possible.
‘Jean has had to postpone all his immediate work over the next two weeks to be with his baby and support his family buy it grateful for the understanding and support during this very difficult time.’
Baby Valentino Louis is the chef’s fourth child, as he also has a 30-year-old daughter, Christina, from his first marriage.
Jean-Christophe has been engaged to Michelle since 2007 and the couple have two other children together, Jean Frankie, eight, and Jacques, four.
Our thoughts are with Jean-Christophe and his family at what must be such a difficult time.