Olivia Munn Says ‘Hands-on Father’ John Mulaney Juggled Work and Caring for Her as She Faced Cancer (Exclusive)

The last year 'would've felt like climbing an iceberg' without Mulaney, the actress tells PEOPLE in this week's cover story

When life took an unimaginable turn for Olivia Munn last year, a network of friends and family stepped up to support the new mom.

Chief among that close circle was her partner John Mulaney, 41, who was by Munn's side as she navigated four surgeries, including a double mastectomy, following her bilateral breast cancer diagnosis in April 2023.

“It would've felt like climbing an iceberg without him,” Munn, 43, tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story, opening up about life at home with their son Malcolm, 2.

Munn's cancer was found thanks to a decision by her OB-GYN during a routine Pap smear to calculate her lifetime breast cancer risk score using a free online tool called a Tyrer-Cuzick risk assessment calculator.

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<p>Courtesy Olivia Munn</p> John Mulaney and Olivia Munn in the hospital on May 24, 2023, the day of her double mastectomy.

Courtesy Olivia Munn

John Mulaney and Olivia Munn in the hospital on May 24, 2023, the day of her double mastectomy.

Related: Olivia Munn’s ‘Terrifying’ Breast Cancer Diagnosis After Baby Joy: 4 Surgeries in 10 Months, and Medically Induced Menopause (Exclusive)

Anything above a 20 percent score is considered high-risk, signaling that additional screening beyond a standard mammogram (which Munn had cleared three months prior) is likely necessary. Munn’s score was an alarming 37.3 percent. Her doctor then ordered an MRI, which led to an ultrasound and biopsies that found stage 1 invasive cancer in both breasts.

After meeting with a flurry of doctors, Munn moved forward with a surgical plan that spanned a lymph node dissection, a nipple delay procedure (a surgical procedure which spares the nipples) and a double mastectomy within 30 days. Reconstructive surgery followed early last fall.

As she recovered, Mulaney swung into action caring for their young son.

“I don't think that he had a moment to himself this past year between being an incredibly hands-on father to Malcolm and then going to and from the hospital,” says Munn. “I mean, this is what John's life was like, truly, through four surgeries over 10 months: He was literally taking Malcolm to the park, to music class, coming home, giving him lunch, putting him to nap, driving over to Cedars Sinai, hanging out with me, bringing me food, going back home, playing with Malcolm, putting him to bed, coming back to Cedar Sinai…And then he's got his work.”

Olivia Munn/instagram John Mulaney and Olivia Munn and their son Malcolm
Olivia Munn/instagram John Mulaney and Olivia Munn and their son Malcolm

Related: Olivia Munn Recalls ‘Shock’ of Seeing Her Body After Having a Double Mastectomy: ‘Looking in the Mirror…Having No Emotion’ (Exclusive)

She shakes her head. “I mean, there really wasn't a moment for him to really relax and breathe. And he did it all happily.”

Mulaney, whose upcoming live show Everybody's in L.A. begins streaming on Netflix on May 3, also kept Munn smiling. What has it been like having the Baby J comedian by her side during a cancer battle? “It’s the best except when you’re just out of surgery and it hurts to move or even laugh,” says Munn. “I made him leave the room a few times because he would make me laugh too hard.”

On the day of the PEOPLE cover shoot, Mulaney drops by with Malcolm after the toddler's afternoon nap. Their blue-eyed son, dressed in neutrals and tiny clogs, smiles as he arrives on Mulaney’s hip when he sees his mother, letting out a "Mama!"

Related: What Olivia Munn's Doctor Wants You to Know About Your Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Score (Exclusive)

Mulaney leans in to kiss Munn — “Liv” to him — hello. “You look beautiful,” he says, before taking Malcolm to play in the grassy backyard. The couple is relaxed and casual together, exchanging an “I love you babe” when it is time for father and son to head home.

“When we’re together, even in the midst of something painful and scary, we have so many happy days,” says Munn later. “We’re a really strong little family.”

<p><a href="https://www.instagram.com/ryanwestphoto/?hl=en" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="1">Ryan West</a></p> Olivia Munn and son Malcolm in April 2024

Ryan West

Olivia Munn and son Malcolm in April 2024

In almost three years, the two have navigated a lot of life together: The couple welcomed Malcolm in November 2021, the first child for both. Munn then suffered from an intense year of postpartum anxiety, followed by her breast cancer diagnosis.

“It's really an interesting thing when you see how each other moves in a moment of crisis. And we both get really calm and really focused, and just the best of each other really comes out,” she says.

They continue to show each other grace. In Munn's tougher moments, "he would really leave space for me to have my emotions — to be happy one hour and the next, be devastated. We just really have a very close, very safe relationship."

Now in medically-induced menopause after beginning hormone suppression therapy in November, Munn continues to find joy in watching Malcolm grow.

“When I’m with him, it’s the only time my brain doesn’t think about being sick," she says. "I’m just so happy with him. And it puts a lot of stuff into perspective. Because if my body changes, I’m still his mom. If I have hot flashes, I’m still his mom. If I lose my hair, I’m still his mom. That’s really what matters the most to me. I get to be here for him."

For more of Munn's exclusive interview, pick up this week's issue on PEOPLE on newsstands Friday.

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Read the original article on People.