Sandra Lee

Lee Says She Is ‘Cancer-Free’

sandracuomoFood Network star and partner of Gov. Andrew Cuomo told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday she is “cancer-free” following a a double mastectomy performed earlier in May.

Lee, who was first diagnosed with breast cancer in March, has urged women to be tested for cancer as often as possible.

“Last time I came and I shared with you some very bad news,” Lee said on ABC. “But this time I’m coming to share with you that my doctors have said I’m cancer-free and I’m ready to go.”

Lee was operated on in May, but under went an additional procedure in August following a complication from an infection related to the initial surgery.

In the interview, Lee compared cancer to a “terrorist.”

“It’s like a terrorist that lives inside your body, and we’re going to wait and see what it does? We know what it’s going to do,” she said.

Lee plans to travel to San Francisco to help lead a Susan G. Komen foundation walk.

Here is the full interview.

Cuomo Adds $8M For Colorectal Cancer Screening

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has pledged to double down on the state’s efforts to detect and battle cancer since his girlfriend, Sandra Lee, received a breast cancer diagnosis this past spring, today announced a multimillion dollar investment in screening for colorectal cancer – the second leading cause of cancer death.

Over the next five years, $8 million worth of federal grants will be used to fund new screening initiatives administered by the state Health Department, Cuomo said in a press release, noting that nearly 10,000 New Yorkers develop colorectal cancer annually and more than 3,000 die as a result.

Early detection through additional and regular screening of small growths known as “polyps” that could become cancerous would save lives, the governor said.

“Early detection is the key to successfully fighting this form of cancer and this funding will go a long way toward educating New Yorkers on the benefits of early screening,” Cuomo said. “I thank our federal partners for helping secure this funding and helping make this a stronger, healthier New York.”

The 5-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will support the expansion of screening efforts in traditionally underserved and high need areas in the North Country, Syracuse, Buffalo, Rochester and New York City.

Through the grant, $732,400 a year will be provided to support work with Federally Qualified Health Centers and Medicaid Managed Care Plans for evidence-based interventions that promote regular colorectal cancer screenings. Another $915,500 per year will target eligible uninsured and underinsured residents between the ages of 50 and 64 years in the Bronx – an area identified as having an elevated level of late-stage colorectal cancer cases.

Lee underwent a double mastectomy not long after her diagnosis, and recently had a second surgery to deal with infection that took hold as a result of the first procedure. She is recovering at her home in Westchester County, Lily Pond, which she shares with Cuomo.

The news of this investment in cancer screening will no doubt come as music to the ears of healthcare advocates who have criticized the governor for proposing budget cuts to these services.

Sandra Lee: State of the State, Budget Season Inspired My Novel (Updated)

Food Network star and Semi-First Lady Sandra Lee appeared on Good Day NY this morning to tout her new novel, “The Recipe Box,” and – not unexpectedly, considering who her “sweetheart” (as she would say) is – was forced to dodge a few political questions.

Although her name appears solo on the book’s cover, Lee owned up to having assistance with the writing process from an unnamed (at least during this interview) ghost writer. She also said she was moved to write the book, which is about a single mother who returns to her hometown in Wisconsin after her best friend dies of breast cancer, to fill time around the holiday season when her live-in boyfriend, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and his three girls are otherwise occupied.

“I’ll tell you, two years ago, when we have Christmas, my sweetheart is writing the State of the State and doing budget stuff, so I’ve got about two and a half weeks where I have to sit down and find a project. And the kids are skiing.”

Lee also revealed that she and the governor are about to celebrate their eight-year anniversary next month. She declined to reveal what – if anything – they plan to do to celebrate.

Lee insisted that she didn’t put much of herself into her novel, even though the main character and her love interest have some striking similarities to the cookbook Queen and her gubernatorial consort. UPDATE: Lee appeared on NBC’s Today Show and confirmed that her first fiction book does indeed draw on her “life’s experience,” adding: “I have to say, both Mike Lund – the character, the love interest – and my sweetheart are very attractive men.”

Lee also side-stepped a question about former Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s new campaign for the New York City comptroller’s office, saying she has been out of the country for three weeks (on a very high-profile trip to Europe) and hasn’t been paying attention to local politics.

“I can always, always plan and expect you to be naughty,” Lee chided Good Day host Greg Kelly after he pounced on her mention of Cuomo and used it as an in to ask the Spitzer question. “I have absolutely no comment.”

Lee also demurred when asked about the controversy surrounding her Food Network colleague Paul Deen, whom Lee called a “lovely, lovely human being.”

“So I have no comment because I don’t have the information,” Lee continued. “And I think unless you are in every single person’s house and room and you sit in their shoes every day, you don’t have all the information, you don’t have the knowledge, and it’s nobody’s job – as far as I’m concerned – to judge, other than God. And that’s it. That’s God’s job.”

H/T Daily Politics.

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Sandra Lee Never Said Christie Was Too Fat To Be President And Other Awkward Moments

In a phenomenally awkward interview with The Times Magazine, TV personality and gubernatorial lady friend Sandra Lee is kinda sorta trapped into being asked if she thinks New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is just too darn overweight to lead the nation.

Here’s the exchange:

When you first saw your boyfriend, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, you described him as a “huge, musclebound man.” There’s a chance of a Cuomo versus Chris Christie presidential election in 2016. Do you think physical fitness has any bearing on performance?
I think you have to have an enormous amount of emotional and physical stamina to be in public service. It’s a grueling job.

So are you saying that Chris Christie is too fat to be president?
No, I absolutely never said that. I have no comment.

As Admiral Ackbar might say, “it’s a trap!”

Christie’s weight is a sensitive issue for Cuomo himself. In a GQ interview, Chris Cuomo revealed that his old brother chastised him for the media’s obsession with his New Jersey counterpart’s weight.

There’s more “fun” stuff — though Lee doesn’t seem to be having a blast — in the interview, including whether there’s “a lot of crockery” being thrown around a home and if she and the governor have any plans to marry.

Another gem: “Is this interview about me or about Andrew?”


Xmas At the Lee/Cuomo Home

…will feature seven Christmas trees, a gingerbread village all around the kitchen and an exchange of love letters, according to the governor’s live-in girlfriend, Food Network star Sandra Lee.

“My poor honey (boyfriend Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York) is going to come home and go, ‘Seriously?'” Lee said in a Parade magazine interview this weekend.

Last year, Cuomo surprised Lee with a baby cockatoo for Christmas that was so fragile he needed to sleep next to a heating lamp for warmth. It’s all white with a white crest (white is Lee’s signature color). She named it “Phoenix” after the mythical bird that rose from the ashes.

“I just thought it was appropriate,” explained in a New York magazine interview in March. “Andrew and I were both at the places we were at in our lives,” she says, referring to the summer of 2005, when they met. Cuomo was coming off a bruising divorce from Kerry Kennedy and a political come­uppance in the gubernatorial primary. Lee was going through her divorce from Karatz.”

Apparently, Phoenix is now potty-trained, luckily for the governor and Lee, but spent his first several months wearing bird diapers.

I’m not sure how you top an unusual gift like that. Maybe with a second bird?

On-The-Go Gov Likes Eggs

Hey, look, here’s Sandra Lee offering up a great, semi-homemade solution to peeling hardboil eggs! Which are then eaten by her gubernatorial boyfriend!

Lee, the state’s Semi-First Lady, has been conducting a satellite tour promoting Friendsgiving, in which party guests bring an item to donate to a food pantry. Lee, who has set rules about talking about the governor, did voluntarily spill the beans (or, as it were, egg yolk) in an interview with WGY 810.

“I will give you a little tidbit because I know that you want it and you’re asking for it: Andrew eats hard boiled eggs because he’s always on the go and he needs the protein,” she said.

So there you have it, New York: Andrew Cuomo eats eggs.

H/T Kyle Hughes.

Deviled Eggs And Coffee Martinis

Food Network star and Semi-First Lady Sandra Lee did a round of interviews earlier this week to promote her latest cookbooks and urge participation this holiday season in what she calls “Friendsgivings,” in which you mix philanthropy with partying by having your guests bring something – canned goods, a coat – to donate to a deserving local charity.

Questions about Lee’s live-in steady, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, were strictly off-limits. (I learned this the hard way). But Lee fans will not be disappointed; she basically conducts a mini-show during the interview, making one of her “signature cockatails” – a must for any host or hostess.

In this case, it was a Bailey’s (sponsor of the sat tour) and coffee martini served with deviled eggs. When questioned by Rochester’s 13 Wham anchor about this rather odd pairing, Lee replied: “Either one of these pair with anything you put them with.”

She also said she always prefers to serve food she believes people want to eat over “fancy dancy food that nobody can pronounce and nobody really wants to eat,” because otherwise “you’re not going to have a successful event, and that is just the truth.”

Well worth a watch if you’ve got a moment.

Cuomo And Lee Maintain Privacy

Sandra Lee 2
There’s nothing too salacious or revelatory in the Harpers Bazaar interview with Sandra Lee, save for perhaps the somewhat scintillating photo spread that accompanies the piece.

Lee, the television chef, semi-homemade maven and girlfriend of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, acknowledges they both like to keep their relationship private. Lee has appeared publicly in Albany only a handful of times at high-profile events like Cuomo’s inauguration and his first budget address.

As a couple, Cuomo and Lee have maintained a very low-key profile: “I have a partner,” she says, “who feels the exact same way as I do about protecting our personal relationship. But what if Cuomo were to decide to run for president one day, as some have speculated he is aiming to do? “I haven’t even thought about anything like that,” Lee avers. “More than anything now, I feel really lucky to have a relationship that’s just mine and that I get to go home to, that’s a safe haven, and that I have something that’s not the whole world’s too.”

Lee adds little to speculation that she and Cuomo would tie the knot (imagine covering a gubernatorial wedding? Twitter is going to be unreadable, IMHO), only saying that she can maintain her independent while married. A marriage would be the second walk down the aisle for both Lee and Cuomo.

“I don’t think that marriage means you’re not independent, but right now I’m very  comfortable, and I’m probably the happiest I’ve ever been,” she says. “I feel solid. I feel safe.”

‘Higher Profile’ For Semi-First Lady Lee?

An interesting tidbit in Crain’s list of the 50 most powerful women in NYC, on which Food Network star/first girlfriend Sandra Lee ranks 38th.

“Ms. Lee, 45, leverages her influence to raise money for hunger-related issues. Expect her to assume a higher profile in her role as the state’s first lady. She is said to be clearing her schedule so she can focus on public-service endeavors.”

There was initially a lot of excitement and speculation about the role Lee might play in a Cuomo administration. She helped things along early on by going on the Wendy Williams show back in 2009 and saying she planned to bring “great garnishes” to the executive mansion in Albany.

But then Lee opted to keep a low profile during the 2010 campaign (but for Lasagnagate, of course, which actually was sparked by comments made by the former first lady, Matilda Cuomo).

Lee accompanied Cuomo to his inauguration weekend events, and then embarked on a statewide tour of food banks and pantries to highlight her efforts to combat hunger – a longstanding personal crusade.

She quickly learned news reporters are more interested asking about her relationship with the newly-minted governor than things like the world’s largest bake sale, and so she has generally eschewed all but feature writers.

Lee hasn’t been spotted in Albany since Cuomo’s inauguration. She has sat for a number of interviews, including a glamorous Vogue photo spread, and also reportedly played a role in urging Cuomo on as he pushed for gay marriage to be legalized in New York.

Lee, who has a gay younger brother and hasn’t been shy about expressing her love of the LGBT community, marched with Cuomo in the Gay Pride Parade in which he was hailed as a conquering hero after the same-sex marriage bill passed the Senate.

Chris Cuomo told New York magazine back in April that Lee, who is a major star in her own right, chose to take a back seat to her live-in love during the campaign because she didn’t want to steal his thunder. “I don’t think she sees herself in the First Lady capacity at all,” Chris Cuomo said at the time.

Perhaps that has changed?

Cuomo Doesn’t ‘Characterize’ Stories About Sandra Lee

Some brave soul asked Gov. Andrew Cuomo today about his reaction to a consumer advocacy group’s call that his live-in girlfriend, Food Network star Sandra Lee, disclose her ties to the petroleum industry.

“Yeah. I don’t know anything about their campaign,” Cuomo replied. “But DEC has done. I think it’s a balanced report. It’s out for public comment, and we’ll see where it goes.”

Asked if he thought it was a “low blow” for a special interest to target his companion, the governor said:

“I don’t characterize. In my business I don’t characterize other people’s actions.”

Cuomo’s comments came following a ceremonial signing of his texting-while-driving ban bill in Watertown. That was one of three such events Cuomo had today.

The D.C.-based Food and Water Watch, which is seeking a full-out ban on hydrofracking in New York, made the call after a WSJ story reported Lee was paid to deliver a speech to a conference of petroleum executives in Florida. Reps to the governor and Lee have refused to identify the group.

F&WW speculated the group was the National Fuel Gas Company, which has significant interests in the expansion of hydrofracking in the Marcellus Shale. But a company spokesman told CapCon Lee did not attend the event “to the best of our knowledge.”

The governor was slightly more illuminating on the subject of how his administration came to select the seven prisons it has tapped for closure. Oneida County corrections officers and elected officials protested the shut down of their local facility earlier this week and called for Cuomo to explain why he had singled it out.

“We had to close prisons,” Cuomo explained. “Most of the prisons are located in upstate New York. We’ve closed prisons in downstate New York also. But just on the numbers, the overwhelming majority are in upstate New York.”

“And then the decisions of which prisons were basically made from a prison management point of view. Where they didn’t need the beds are the beds that they closed.”