Maria Menounos is all about her loved ones, both human and furry. The SiriusXM host opened up to Wonderwall.com about life as a newlywed and why her pet dogs are so important to her during a chat about Purina's "Every Dog a Star" program and the second annual Beverly Hills Dog Show presented by Purina. Maria appears at the dog competition — which airs on April 1, 2018, on USA Network at 6 p.m. ET — and Purina is donating $5 (up to $25,000) to Mutt-i-grees for every social media post that uses the hashtag #BHDogShow. Keep reading to see what Maria had to say about being newly married, her beloved pets and how her life has changed since battling a brain tumor.
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Maria Menounos on life after battling her brain tumor:
"Overall, it just changed my perspective on life. I actually have really pulled back on how much I'm doing, on what I'm doing and being very selective. I just want to be happy, I want to be more purposeful, more fun and I want to do it with great people and great partners. That's just how I'm approaching life now."
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Maria Menounos on self-care and putting your health first:
"My biggest kind of takeaway was — talking to women all over the country about it — was to really put yourself first and put your health first. On a plane, you put your own oxygen mask on first and it's the same thing with your health. I feel like we've gotten to a place where we are working ourselves to death and we are giving so much of ourselves to everybody else and not replenishing ourselves, and it's getting us sick. When our cars make noises, we take it to the mechanic. When our bodies make noises, we're like, 'Shush, I'm busy! I can't, I don't have time.' Your annual physical is so important. I did some videos with my partner about that because I think it's so important for people to realize that [in] your annual physical, you might see something early on that can be reversed or prevented. I keep a journal and in that journal anything that's happening, I mark it down and I keep notes and the dates. When I go see my physician for my annual physical, which I did recently, we can go over the different things that are going on and address them. A lot of times we're so busy we forget what's going on, even if its a chronic issue."
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Maria Menounos on husband Keven Undergaro's support:
"It's been amazing. He has been — it's so hard to put into words — he was everything in this process for me. I couldn't have done it without him. He's just been by my side the entire way. I think it was even more special on our wedding night to know that we even went through that. We've been together 20 years and we've gone through everything you can think of, but to go through that as well, to have him by my side… It's funny when I first met him, I remember on the third day we've been together, I was taking him to the airport and he was leaving Boston to go back to Los Angeles for a movie he was making. He was telling me about how he [had been] taking massage therapy classes — his dad had cancer — so he could heal his dad of pain. He had just lost his dad like the year before or something and I was like, 'Oh my God, he's a caretaker, done!' I'm like 'You don't know this but this chubby 19 year old is going to make you fall in love with her. It's over, buddy.' I laugh because I look back and I'm like, at 19, why was I so concerned with finding a caretaker? Someone who was that, as well as handsome and all of the other things you look for in a guy. I look to now and I'm like, either somehow I knew I was going to need that, or I just got lucky, but I am so blessed because most people wouldn't do what he did for me. And he would go even further so I love him and I'm so thankful and it made our wedding night even more sweet."
Maria Menounos on married life:
"I think it's mostly the same. I think that we did get hit by a love bomb that was really just beautiful after and so I think it's just, like, heightened us even more and made us a little mushier. So that's nice."
Maria Menounos on her love for her dogs:
"I feel like I like gave birth to [my dogs], that's how close they are and how much I love them, so they are half of my heart. There's no way to express the love, the oozing love, I have for my babies and for all babies, for all animals. I have Whinnie — she's my miniature poodle. I have Benjamin — he's my Bichon Frise. And then I have Maximus — he's my German shepherd — and they're the loves of my life, I joke, aside from Keven. They're my everything."
Maria Menounos on being the ultimate dog mom:
"You guys have no idea the amount of care and love and money that goes into that. People always say that if they could come back, they would come back as someone, but I really would come back as one of my dogs because they're given so much love. Our world revolves around them. Like right now, for example, Benjamin is almost 18 and he's blind and deaf. We can't travel together, Keven and I, because one of [Benjamin's] parents has to be home with him. So we couldn't even go on a honeymoon because we can't leave him behind. They have to be with us and it's just constant, constant care."
Maria Menounos on the Beverly Hills Dog Show:
"I love it! Last year it was the most fun thing ever and then this year was just even better because I knew what I was getting into, so the second I got there, I was like, 'Bring me to the dogs!' Instead of standing on the red carpet, I was sitting on the red carpet with Great Danes and poodles and so many more types of dogs and it was just the greatest day ever. I had a blast and I really wish I could do it every day of my life. I think what you can expect is a really fun, family dog show. It's airing Easter Sunday on USA, it's 200 breeds and over 15,000 dogs competing. It's just a fun show that really blends holiday stars and the stars of the dog world."
Maria Menounos on if her dogs could compete in the Beverly Hills Dog Show:
"I definitely could see that, and I think that Benjamin could too, but he'd just have to do the standing portion, no running. He could do like, that senior citizen competition. Maybe he'll do the senior citizen competition next year, I don't know. Maximus is just, I don't know if I've ever seen a German shepherd, a multi-colored German Shepherd, more handsome than him. He's got yellow-green eyes that are just piercing and a smile that's to die for. Whinnie is just a beautiful, perfect poodle, so I think all three of them would just really crush it."