Maria Menounos calls her brain tumor ‘a gift’ in an emotional interview with Megyn Kelly

Maria Menounos arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Entourage" at the Westwood Regency Village Theatre on Monday, June 1, 2015. –Rob Latour/Invision/AP

Entertainment correspondent and Medford native Maria Menounos had a golf ball-sized brain tumor removed on her 39th birthday in June. The tumor was discovered after she began exhibiting the same symptoms as her mother, who has been battling stage 4 brain cancer for almost a year.

Menounos sat down with NBC’s Megyn Kelly for her first on-camera interview since the surgery, and a short excerpt ran on The Today Show Friday morning. Menounos revealed that when she received the diagnosis, all she could do was laugh.

“I started kinda chuckling,” Menounos told Kelly. “At that point it’s like, ‘This is a joke.’ Like, how does this happen?”

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While Kelly said Menounos is very close to making a full recovery, the same unfortunately cannot be said for her mother.

“I just hope that we can make her one of the long-term survivors,” Menounos said, choking up. “Because I’m worried about her.”

Despite these hardships, Menounos told Kelly that she views the brain tumor “as a gift.”

“I think that this was a gift because I needed to change my life,” Menounos said. “I needed to change the way I did everything.”

Kelly’s full interview with Menounos will air Sunday at 7 p.m. on NBC.