Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Michael Strahan’s Daughter Isabella Hits New Milestone in Cancer Fight

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Isabella Strahan Shares Update On Chemotherapy Amid Cancer Battle

Isabella Strahan is keeping a smile on her face.

Michael Strahan‘s 19-year-old daughter shared that she’s reached a new milestone in her cancer battle: finishing her second cycle of chemotherapy, as she explained in a March 26 YouTube video.

She celebrated alongside mom Jean Muggli in the hospital by decorating the window of her room, making a taco salad and staying hydrated while continuing her treatment process. 

In the video, Isabella also showed off some of the cheerful drawings she has done during her cancer journey, including sketches of a star in cowboy boots, flower designs and Monsters Inc. character Mike Wazowski. Another page of her USC notebook revealed an “I love you” message she had written for her grandmother.

In addition to her family, Isabella has been leaning on fellow cancer patient Greg Brooks Jr., a Louisiana State University football player.

“He thought he had vertigo just like me, so I thought our stories were so similar,” she said. “And then he discovered it was not vertigo and we’re on the same kind of treatment schedules… I am so inspired by him.”

Isabella was diagnosed with medulloblastoma—a malignant tumor on the base of the brain—in October and underwent painful radiation therapy in January.

“My head has hurt a lot, but the thing is you can really tell how much it affects you,” the teen shared in another vlog at the time. “You can feel great one day and then horrible the next. It’s frustrating but it is what it is. You can’t really control how you feel.”

YouTube

Isabella then started chemotherapy in February, noting on March 21 that she’d started her second round, with four more scheduled.

YouTube

Her dad Michael, meanwhile, has expressed his support for his daughter, telling Good Morning America earlier this year, “I know she’s going through it, but I know that we’re never given more than we can handle and that she is going to crush this.”

Keep reading for a closer look inside Michael’s family.

Instagram (@tanitaa.st)

Daughter Tanita Strahan, Son Michael Strahan Jr. with Ex-Wife Wanda Hutchins

Michael Strahan married Wanda Hutchins in 1992, months before going No. 40 to the New York Giants in the 1993 NFL Draft.

Daughter Tanitha was born Nov. 10, 1991, and son Michael Jr. arrived Sept. 12, 1994.

Wanda and Michael divorced in 1996 and Michael Jr. and Tanita primarily lived in Germany with their mother.

Instagram (@wandafullhomedesigns)

“But from day one, it was very important for me to be active, to be a part of their life,” Michael recalled to People in 2016. “I was constantly on planes and phones. And it’s very hard…But one thing I learned is, you make time for what you want to make time for.”

Still, the Super Bowl winner has admitted to some regrets from his days as a young father. 

“I didn’t know what my future was gonna be,” Michael told Brooke Shields on an August 2023, episode of her podcast What Now? “I knew I’d work hard. I knew that if I had an opportunity, I would do my best at it. But it was still tough.”

He was “so young,” the Pro Football Hall of Famer continued, “and having kids and having all the responsibilities, I do look back, and I do wish I did a lot of things better as far as being a parent because I felt like there was so many times I should’ve probably sacrificed certain things in order to be a little bit more present.”

Ida Mae Astute/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images via Getty Images

That being said, Michael continued, “then there are times I’ve looked back, and I think in order to have the life that I’ve been able to provide and give them, I had to sacrifice a lot of things.”

Michael Jr. and Tanita eventually moved back to the U.S. and attended high school in their father’s native Houston, according to People, then studied psychology and art, respectively, in college.

Tanita is “kind of like me in the sense that she has a very strong personality, but a silent strong personality,” Michael told New York Family in 2012. “She’s not going to be one to walk into a room and make it all about her. She definitely has an opinion and she’s very smart and she knows what she wants, which I love about her.”

He called Michael Jr. a “very smart” and “very particular young man.”

Ultimately, Michael said, “I have great kids, and they’re not the kind who look at my life and say ‘Daddy’s this’ and ‘Daddy’s that.’ My kids are interested in making their own way. They have their own personalities and do their own thing. I’m happy to see that.”

Instagram (@tanitaa.st)

Tanita graduated from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in 2014 and, according to her Instagram, is living and working as an illustrator in Los Angeles.

“What an incredible woman she’s become,” mom Wanda wrote of her daughter on Instagram in 2018. “It’s been an absolute privilege to walk the path to adulthood and beyond with her. Creative, determined, and most of all kind.”

On Michael Jr.’s birthday that same year, Wanda wrote, “His sarcastic humor, intelligence, discipline, and kindness inspire me.”

James Devaney/WireImage for Esquire Magazine

Ex-Wife Jean Muggli

Michael met second wife Jean at a New York spa, where she was working at the time.

They married in 1999 and—as the New York Times reported in 2006 when they were in the middle of an acrimonious divorce—signed a prenuptial agreement that set aside 20 percent of Michael’s earnings per year to go to Jean should they break up.

The defensive end signed a seven-year, $46 million contract with the Giants in 2002.

“Personally, getting divorced is probably one of the toughest things I’ve ever gone through,” Michael recalled to People in 2016, “but it was also a learning experience and I learned a lot about myself and I learned a lot about a lot of the people who were around at that time and some aren’t around anymore.”

Jimi Celeste/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Twins Isabella Strahan and Sophia Strahan with Ex-Wife Jean Mugglie

On a sunnier note, Michael and Jean welcomed twin daughters Isabella and Sophia on Oct. 28, 2004.

Isabella, who’s slightly older, is “more playful, very chill, never gets very upset or fired up,” Michael told New York Family. “She’s very, ‘It is what it is.'” 

And Sophia as “always asking questions, very curious. They’re both very smart; they love to read all these things I never thought of reading when I was 7 or 8 years old. And they do it because they’re generally interested in it, which is amazing to me.”

Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

“My kids have a different upbringing than I had, but the love is the same,” Michael told People in 2016, explaining how he and Jean had been co-parenting in the 10 years since finalizing their divorce. “The belief in them is the same.”

It turned out that Isabella and Sophia, who lived part time with their mom in North Dakota and North Carolina, had inherited the good-on-camera gene from their father.

“The twins live a crazy life,” Michael told People in 2016. “One time they flew out to D.C. and interviewed the first lady for GMA. Then the next day their mom was sending me a video of them riding horses and splashing around in a muddy corn field.”

During the school year, “I get on a plane, and I fly to see my kids,” he continued. “And whenever they get a break, they come to New York. The hardest part is when they leave—the energy in the house is not the same…They’re not the first kids and I’m not the first adult to deal with it, but we’ve all handled it as well as we can.”

Instagram (@michaelstrahan)

“You worry how the kids will mix and blend,” Michael told People, “but brothers and sisters are brothers and sisters regardless of different mothers.”

Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty Images

“My kids give me strength,” Michael said. “I love being with the kids. To me it’s all about family, now more than anything.”

Instagram (@michaelstrahan)

Sophia finished up at NYC’s Trinity School in May 2023 and then it was on to Duke University in Durham, N.C.

“You are intelligent, beautiful, and I can’t wait to see all of the amazing things you are going to accomplish at Duke,” the Blue Devil’s dad wrote on Instagram.

Instagram (@michaelstrahan)

The fam celebrated Isabella’s graduation from Convent of the Sacred Heart in June 2023 and Michael cheered the future Trojan on her acceptance to University of Southern California.

“Intelligent, beautiful, and hard-working!!” he posted on Instagram. “I can’t wait to continue to watch you shine!! Love you!”

Instagram / Sophia Strahan

In January 2024, Isabella shared—her dad by her side—that she was undergoing treatment for brain cancer, having been diagnosed with a tumor known as a medulloblastoma the previous October.

Having had surgery and radiation, she still had chemotherapy ahead of her. But, Isabella said in a sit-down with Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts, “I’m looking forward to getting back to college and moving back to California and just starting my school experience over. Not over, but just restarting, being back into a routine and something that’s enjoyable.”

Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Gin

Ex-Fiancée Nicole Murphy

After getting together in 2007, Michael spent five years engaged to Nicole—who shares five kids with ex-husband Eddie Murphy—before they went their separate ways in 2014.

Michael’s rep said at the time, “They love each other very much, but with the distance and work schedule it has been hard to maintain the relationship.” 

Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty Images

Girlfriend Kayla Quick

Michael has been in a relationship with Kayla, a University of Tampa alum and co-founder of wellness supplement brand FIZZNESS, since 2015.

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