Tragic Details About Giuliana Rancic

For those who are celebrity-minded — so, basically everyone here at Nicki Swift — there are probably a couple dozen entertainment journalists who stand above the rest, sometimes because of skill but often because of visibility. Many of these top celebrity news reporters have themselves become a part of the cultural landscape, and a handful of them have transcended their original roles to become actual celebrities themselves. 

Giuliana Rancic is one of those entertainment journalists who has become something larger — a star with nearly 2.5 million Instagram followers and an ambitious businesswoman. On top of that, she has been (or is) a reality star, a fashion commentator, a public speaker, a producer, and a breast cancer advocate.

Rancic owns or co-owns multiple businesses, including RPM Restaurants, the skincare line Fountain of Truth, the G by Giuliana fashion line, and Giuliana Prosecco. She also founded FAB-U-WISH, a make-a-wish foundation for breast cancer patients. While she has evolved beyond celebrity journalism, Rancic's bread and butter has always been her on-air reporting. She began her professional career in political journalism but quickly moved to entertainment, where she made a name for herself as a host on the E! Network. Rancic started at E! News in 2002 and remained there for decades, with a few breaks. She also provided red-carpet coverage for the network and appeared on "Fashion Police," which almost ruined her career (more on that later). Though Rancic has accomplished much, it has not been all roses with no thorns. Here are some tragic details about Giuliana Rancic.

Her early dream of making it as a model never materialized

Giuliana Rancic has proven to be competent in a lot of different fields, in addition to just journalism. For example, her fashion line G by Giuliana has been around since 2012 and Rancic remains a big name at HSN, where she now also hawks her beauty line and other merchandise. The shopping network likes her so much that they even gave Rancic her own show, "Giuliana & Friends," an eight-episode limited series that ran in early-to-mid 2023. But all of that success does not mean Rancic has never had a professional fail. Take, for example, when she attempted to tackle the world of modeling.

Rancic wrote about her attempt at modeling in her book, "Going Off Script: How I Survived a Crazy Childhood, Cancer and Clooney's 32 On-Screen Rejections," where she detailed how she begged her parents to enroll her in the pricey Barbizon School of Modeling after seeing a newspaper advertisement. "I was 13, with bad skin, a bad perm, and I think I went to Barbizon because I just wanted someone who wasn't my family to tell me, 'You're pretty,'" she wrote (via ABC). "I was hoping at the end when we took [our] final test, I would be deemed a runway model and then I could move to New York with my modeling certificate and be signed by Ford models." However, her dreams were crushed. Though she herself hated the results of her tennis-themed photoshoot, Rancic still mailed off a photo to Ford's New York City headquarters — and never heard back.

She suffered from extreme self-esteem problems growing up due to her scoliosis

One of the reasons that Giuliana Rancic wanted to model was because of the validation she felt would come with the job. She has said that she was told she was "ugly" for the vast majority of her life, and that she believed it herself when younger. "I was pretty hard on myself appearance-wise, too. I never thought I was pretty enough. I was kind of tall and lanky. I don't mind it now, but back in the day I hated it," she told Seventeen, adding that if she could go back in time, "I would tell myself that what I think is ugly at 17 is actually what's going to be pretty about me later."

Though many young people struggle with self-esteem during their preteen and teenage years, Rancic had a medical condition that led her to feel even more self-conscious than most. She was diagnosed with scoliosis at 13, which caused much pain and forced her to wear a body cast throughout high school — a huge source of insecurity. "The thing about scoliosis is it's a different kind of ugly for a young girl," Rancic told People. "It's one thing to hate your hair or to have bad skin, but those are things you can hopefully treat. [Scoliosis] is very hard to camouflage and it's all you think about all day, every minute of the day." The star wore baggy clothing and stood in certain positions to attempt to camouflage her "flaws," eventually opting for surgery at age 21.

Jerry O'Connell dumped her for his current wife — after cheating with a Spice Girl

Giuliana Rancic's husband Bill is handsome, smart, and charming — pretty much everything one could want in a spouse. The businessman is himself no stranger to television, having appeared on (and won) Season 1 of "The Apprentice" way back in 2004. The pair met when Giuliana interviewed Bill about his reality show win, and the rest is history. They got married in 2007 in Capri, an island in Giuliana's birth country of Italy. They married again in 2009 when they were told their Italian wedding license was not valid stateside, as documented on their reality show "Giuliana & Bill." While Bill seems like the perfect match for the former "E! News" anchor, he is not Giuliana's first famous lover.

Before Bill was "hired" by Donald Trump, he was an unknown. Giuliana, on the other hand, was starting to make a name for herself as a go-to entertainment journalist. She even had a high-profile celebrity partner in actor Jerry O'Connell, who had a somewhat lively film career at the time with movies like "Tomcats" and "Kangaroo Jack." The pair dated from 2003 to 2004, but things did not end well. 

In her memoir, Giuliana detailed how O'Connell cheated on her with Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, after which she forgave him because they were talking about marriage. But then O'Connell casually dumped Giuliana after meeting then-married Rebecca Romijn at a Maxim party — opening up the door for Bill to glide through. O'Connell and Romijn were officially dating two months later and have been married since 2007.

For a time, her reality show with her husband led to marital turmoil

Two years after their 2007 marriage, Giuliana and Bill Rancic capitalized on the public interest in their relationship when they started filming the reality series "Giuliana & Bill" for The Style Network. The series documented their personal and professional lives, including both the lighter moments of their marriage, as well as their struggles. 

Amongst other things, it chronicled their infertility struggle, the birth of their son, Giuliana's cancer journey, and the start of their first restaurant. The couple also navigated intermingling their lives — difficult in all circumstances, but especially in a long-distance marriage where one person is based in California and the other in Illinois. The series remained on the air until 2014, with the final two seasons moving to the E! Network (the Style Network ended in 2013).

By the time they ended the show — reportedly because they did not want their son to grow up on camera — both Giuliana and Bill were pros at putting it all out there. But at the beginning, navigating a new marriage in front of the cameras was tough. In her book, Giuliana detailed constantly fighting about the show and having to pretend for the cameras before the duo got their footing. "I think what happens is reality shows, for a couple, they accelerate your relationship," Giuliana told The Hollywood Reporter. "So if you are destined to have problems and fall apart, a reality show will only accelerate it. But at the same time, if you have a very strong relationship and a solid foundation, it accelerates that, too."

She went through four years of IVF treatments after struggling to get pregnant naturally

One reason why "Giuliana & Bill" won over so many fans was Giuliana Rancic's vulnerability and transparency when it came to showing her fertility struggles (and later, her cancer diagnosis). Though discussing things like miscarriage and IVF treatments have now become a TV staple, the topics were not as heavily discussed a decade ago. So, Rancic and her husband's willingness to share their story resonated with many, particularly those facing conception issues themselves. 

Rancic has said she felt "blindsided" by her infertility, as she had misconceptions about fertility when she began trying to conceive at age 33. "My career was thriving, I had a wonderful partner, I was healthy — running six miles a day. I felt amazing. I felt strong. I certainly did not feel old. I still had plenty of time to have kids. Right?!" she recalls thinking.

Things did not go according to plan for the couple, who went on to experience numerous heartbreaks during their four years of trying to get pregnant. Their first IVF cycle ended in miscarriage, while the second one did not take (on her third attempt, a pre-IVF mammogram found cancer). In 2012, Rancic told (via CNN) that the second round was actually more painful than the first, miscarriage and all. "That was the biggest kick in the stomach, because I just could not believe you go through so much to get those eggs and put them in, and when the doctor calls you, to hear, 'Oh, sorry, it didn't work.' That was the most shocking," she confessed.

Her 2011 breast cancer diagnosis left her shell-shocked

Though Giuliana Rancic's infertility left her blindsided, per her own words, there was a silver lining in that it was the IVF treatments she underwent that led to her discovery that she had breast cancer. When she went in for her third round of IVF, her doctor insisted she first have a mammogram — because pregnancy can accelerate cancer — and Rancic credits this early detection of her breast cancer with her success in beating the disease. "Now I truly believe God was looking out for me," Rancic told "Today" when she got her diagnosis in late 2011 (via ABC News). "What's amazing is that baby will have saved my life. If I had gotten pregnant later down the line, I could have been a lot sicker," she added.

While she was thankful to have caught the cancer early, Rancic has also said that the diagnosis left her reeling. In a November 2012 interview with, posted on CNN's website, she recalled being "shell-shocked" by the news the year prior. "I thought I was going to die. I didn't know that if you find breast cancer early enough, you have a 98 percent survival rate," she said. "I went to work right after finding out and did E! News. I recently watched that episode and I don't know how I pulled it off. Afterward, I ran into my dressing room and started hysterically crying. Bill was really the one who had to pick me up off the floor and say, 'Hey, we're making a plan here.'"

She underwent a double mastectomy after her original treatments did not suffice

You do not get to be where Giuliana Rancic is in life without strong forethought and stellar organizational skills. Her husband has them too, and so it was not long after Rancic's cancer diagnosis that they had a plan in place for how to tackle things. When the star made her illness public, in October 2011, she was also talking about the double lumpectomy she was set to undergo only three days later. Rancic also planned on having six weeks of radiation after the surgery, and to head back to work the week after her surgery. "It's funny when you go through a situation like this, it kind of turns the volume down on all the things that really aren't that important," her husband Bill told Entertainment Weekly at the time. Though the couple had set a treatment plan, things changed, and further surgery was needed.

In mid-December of that same year, Rancic underwent a double mastectomy because her lumpectomies did not remove all of the cancer — and she was similarly open about this part of her journey, both in interviews and on her reality show. "I knew this was going to be a tough surgery. I in no way want to minimize it. Yes, I'm two and a half weeks out, (but) my gosh ... Up until a week and a half ago, it was hell. It was horrible," she said in a "Today" interview at the end of December. In October 2022, she celebrated 10 years of being cancer-free.

Her cancer medications sadly forced her to stop trying to carry a baby

One of the most heartbreaking parts of Giuliana Rancic's story is the unexpected way that cancer impacted her plans to carry a baby. After trying to get pregnant for four years, Rancic had to put her efforts on hold to tackle cancer whilst in the middle of her third round of IVF. Unfortunately, even after surgery, the star was unable to have embryos implanted in her body due to her cancer medication. "Part of the treatment is five years of tamoxifen, which can cause birth defects. So we said, 'Dr. Schoolcraft, what now?' He said the next step should be surrogacy because we had the embryos," she explained to Before Rancic even announced she was cancer-free, she had already welcomed a son via surrogate.

Rancic and her husband have one son, Edward Duke, born in August 2012 by way of their surrogate Delphine. Delphine was featured on "Giuliana & Bill," although her face and voice were obscured prior to Edward's birth to ensure her anonymity while pregnant. Though Rancic had an unimaginably tough handful of years, she has no regrets about sharing it all with viewers of her show. "Looking back, I'm so happy that I did do it," she said of the show to "Today." "As I would question God, 'Why are you doing this to me, why me?' I think God knew I was a loud-mouthed Italian girl who would get out and share my story, not tuck it under a rug." Rancic also went on to found her own breast cancer charity, called FAB-U-WISH.

She was extremely hurt when people suggested she had an eating disorder after the 2015 Golden Globes

Because she is a woman in the public eye, Giuliana Rancic's appearance has been critiqued for pretty much her entire career. The vast majority of the commentary has focused on the star's thin frame, despite the fact that she has always been thin. When she was struggling to get pregnant, many even blamed Rancic's underweight body for her infertility and drew upon comments she made about not wanting to gain weight as proof of her vanity. 

In a 2010 interview on "The View," Rancic maintained that her weight had no link to her infertility and that even after gaining 7 pounds, she remained unable to conceive. Rumors about Rancic's weight did not start at that time, and they certainly did not end there.

In fact, they took on a new life in 2015 when her extremely thin appearance at that year's Golden Globes raised eyebrows. This event reignited rumors of an eating disorder — which had been floating around since at least 2009, when Rancic posted a blog with an overly restrictive meal plan — and some even suggested she might have cancer again. Rancic acknowledged being too thin but explained that it was due to the cancer-suppressing medication she had been taking since 2012, which made it difficult for her to put on weight. "It's really hurtful," she admitted to People. "I'm sorry that some people think I'm disgustingly skinny, as they put it, but there's nothing I can do. I'm lucky that I even have the type of cancer that reacts to the medicine."

She was crushed when her surrogate miscarried her final embryo that same year

Her 30s were, in general, very tough for Giuliana Rancic. Though she welcomed a son at age 38, she had by then dealt with years of confusion, frustration, disappointment, and turbulence. She likely thought her 40s would start out better, only to experience the bruhaha about her weight at the start of 2015 (she was about half a year into the new decade by then). This came fresh off the heels of yet another tragic heartbreak for Rancic, whose surrogate miscarried. Though this was not the first time she and her husband had experienced miscarriage via surrogate, it was the most painful as it marked an official end to a chaotic journey.

After welcoming their son, Rancic and her husband quickly decided they would like to try for another child using their remaining embryos. Their surrogate first experienced miscarriage in 2014, when she miscarried two recently implanted embryos. The couple remained hopeful and put all of their dreams into the next shot — their final embryo. Rancic has said that the final miscarriage was the most painful, as it marked the end of even the possibility of having another biological child. "That was our last embryo and things were going great in the beginning of the pregnancy. About six weeks in, we found out it wasn't moving forward. It's just such a disappointment and there's a real sadness there," she told ABC News. Though Rancic has always said she and her hubby were open to adoption, they have remained a family of three in the years since.

E! let her take the complete fall for a joke dubbed racist by many, even though others wrote and edited it

This is a tough one to write about, as we in no way want to excuse the comments that Giuliana Rancic made about superstar Zendaya on that infamous episode of "Fashion Police," which nearly ended Rancic's career. On the show, Rancic made a joke about Zendaya's looks in a photo from the 2015 Oscars red carpet where Zendaya was wearing her hair in dreadlocks. "I feel like she smells like patchouli oil ... or weed," Rancic said on the "Fashion Police" episode shortly after the event. Zendaya responded with a lengthy Instagram post that called out the comment (without mentioning Rancic by name) for its disrespectfulness and for the way it drew upon, and perpetuated, racist stereotypes.

So, yeah, the comment was problematic. But what is tragic about the situation for Rancic herself is the way she shouldered 100 percent of the ensuing blame for a joke that she herself did not write, and that was supposedly edited so that a lot of context was removed. "I talked about patchouli oil, which is a hippie perfume," Rancic told "Today." "And in the editing process, some of the gestures I made, some of the things I said were taken out for time. I made peace signs, I said 'bohemian' twice — those were taken out for time." 

Rancic also clarified that, because the show was not live, there was time to fix anything offensive, and that not one person said anything. Neither the joke's writers nor the network (whose executives were present during filming) had Rancic's back when the firestorm erupted

Her controversial Fashion Police comment led to legitimate death threats

Rancic was the source of much ire after Zendaya's response to the comments she made about her on E!'s "Fashion Police," and she very quickly issued an apology. She tweeted to Zendaya directly and then crafted a more formal video apology, without making excuses. It was only later, on "Today," that Rancic explained that some of her comments had been edited out. 

In a report from The Wrap, which contains the full text of the joke, it is clear that there were meant to be comments about Zendaya being "too high fashion" for the "boho" look, and references to The Grateful Dead. The problematic line in question was meant to be just one line out of four, but with what aired, Rancic made it clear that she understood why people were offended.

While Zendaya accepted the journalist's apology right away, the public did not. She continued to get hit with a disproportionate amount of vitriol, including death threats aimed both at her and her family members. Forgetting that dozens of others were on set the day the joke was told, and the fact that Rancic alone shouldered the blame, the very idea that a joke, offensive or not, resulted in death threats is truly terrifying. She reported getting photos of guns with text like "I will kill your family" attached. Even still, Rancic accepted responsibility for her part in the misstep. "I hurt people and I feel terrible about that," she told People. "And I learned a really important lesson that if people are offended, it doesn't matter the intent."

Her reporting skills have been mercilessly mocked because of a handful of awkward interviews

Her "Fashion Police" comments about Zendaya are by far the biggest scandal Giuliana Rancic has weathered, and the backlash to what she said nearly ended her career. Rancic ended up being (professionally) fine — "Fashion Police," not so much — and she continued on at E! without issue. In addition to her work on E! specials and reporting for "Live from the Red Carpet," Rancic also returned to her former gig co-hosting "E! News" for a year in 2018. When announcing her departure from E! in 2020, the network made it clear that Rancic had scored a development deal with NBCUniversal, the conglomerate that owns E!, and that they were big fans of their longtime employee. Outside of E!, however, Rancic is a polarizing celebrity journalist.

For years, Rancic has been mocked for her awkward interview moments. And, sure, she has had some doozies, but the woman has probably done thousands upon thousands of celebrity interviews between the red carpet and "E! News." She should be allowed a few fumbles, especially considering that plenty of male journalists have had far more egregious interview moments with much less taunting. 

That said, Rancic has racked up a list of memorably cringy moments, including an interview with Bradley Cooper — where he had exactly zero interest in hearing about how "A Star Is Born" related to Rancic's marriage — was mercilessly roasted on social media. Other awkward interviews with stars like Aziz Ansari and Debra Messing have similarly made people question Rancic's skills and earned the internet's ire, despite her many accomplishments.