Hands holding breast cancer ribbon, vector illustration.Even the strongest relationships can suffer from a serious medical diagnosis. Good Morning America host, Amy Robach, and her husband, actor Andrew Shue, learned this the hard way.  After just three years of marriage, the couple were blindsided to learn that Robach had developed breast cancer.

On-Air Discovery

In 2013, Amy Robach took part in Good Morning America’s “October Pink Initiative” by choosing to have a mammogram on the air. The 42-year-old was trying to convince readers to undergo regular screenings when she was blindsided by her own diagnosis.

Children Involved

Soon after the sobering news, Robach told PEOPLE: “Telling my children was the toughest part but that’s when you get strong, because you have to be strong for other people.” Between the two of them, they have five children from previous relationships – Shue’s sons Nate, 19, Aiden, 17, and Wyatt, 12, and Robach’s daughters Annalise, 9, and Ava, 12. Undoubtedly, this added to the stress of the situation.

Marital Strain, Positive Outlook

Having been married just a few years. Robach and Shue had not faced many serious obstacles together. As Robach endured eight grueling rounds of chemotherapy and a bilateral mastectomy. It was a real challenge to their relationship.

She explained: “This was not something I would wish on anyone’s marriage, but I think it was especially hard on a newer marriage. All of a sudden I felt like I needed him in a very needy way, and that’s not my personality. When I had my crisis I completely crumbled. It threw everything up in the air. It was rough for several months.”

Fortunately, they found a way to heal their bond and improve the way they communicate. Shue, 48, added: “We knew what we had when we found each other, and we knew that if we could just get back to what our connection was about and just be honest about the fears, then we could get through it.”

While it must have been incredibly difficult, Robach says that things with Shue are the “best they have ever been” and part of that is due to the fact that she is grateful for her life. She said: “That is the gift of facing death, that you say to yourself all I need is what I have right now.”

For a more in-depth account of her story, pick up a copy of Robach’s book, Better, which was released earlier this week.