Olivia Munn Shares How Son Malcolm Helped Lift Her Up During "Rough" Cancer Recovery

Olivia Munn opened up about her breast cancer journey, sharing that her and John Mulaney's son Malcolm, 2, provided a source of comfort and support during a "pretty rough" time.

By Gabrielle Chung Apr 22, 2024 11:52 PMTags
Watch: Olivia Munn Details “Terrifying” Breast Cancer Journey

The littlest member of Olivia Munn's family made the biggest difference in her battle with breast cancer.

The Newsroom alum opened up about how her 2-year-old son Malcolm, who she shares with John Mulaney, played an important role in her health journey. Re-posting a video of herself and the tiny tot playing by a kiddie pool in the backyard, Olivia wrote in an Instagram Story April 22, "This moment was last summer when I had already had three surgeries and recovery—mentally and physically—was pretty rough."

"The smallest, silliest moments like this lifted me up every single time," she continued. "My Malcolm."

In the original caption of the video, which she initially shared in January, Olivia wrote, "If I knew earlier in my life that this magical boy would be in my future, I wouldn't have worried so much about all the little things."

Olivia was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, leading her to undergo numerous surgeries within 30 days, including a lymph node dissection and a double mastectomy. Not only did Olivia experience severe pain in the aftermath of the procedures, but the challenges of not being able to pick up her son made recovery all the more difficult.

Stars React to Olivia Munn's Breast Cancer Diagnosis

"Malcolm runs up and he said, 'Mama, pick [me] up?' And I said, 'Oh I can't pick you up,'" she recalled of her returned home from the hospital in a recent interview with People. "He just sat on my leg and goes, 'But Mama, pick [me] up!'"

The 43-year-old continued, "That was probably one of the hardest things because all you want to do is pick up your baby."


Instagram / Olivia Munn

However, her partner John—who she's been dating since 2021—was there to guide her through the difficult moments of balancing treatment and parenting duties.

"It would've felt like climbing an iceberg without him," Olivia gushed of the comedian. "I don't think he had a moment to himself."

Praising John, 41, for "being an incredibly hands-on father," she added, "And he did it all happily."

Keep reading to see Olivia and John's sweetest moments with Malcolm.

Time to Celebrate

John Mulaney and Olivia Munn celebrated their son Malcolm's second birthday in November 2023.

Way to Go, Idaho

The parents took Malcolm to the Gem State in June 2023.

Little Moments

Olivia shared this photo of her family of three on Father's Day 2023.

Life's a Beach

John and Olivia hit the beach with Malcom in March 2023.

Let Them Eat Cake

The couple rang in theirMalcolm's first birthday in November 2022, with Olivia joking that her mom Kim was getting "impatient" with the cake-cutting.

Making Memories

John celebrated his 40th birthday with Olivia and Malcolm in August 2022.

Doting Dad

Olivia snapped a sweet moment between John and their son on stage at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado in April 2022.

New Parent Pals

The family of three posed alongside fellow parents Dan Levy and Rachel Specter with their daughter Penny.

4 Months

Olivia and John celebrated Malcolm turning 4 months old on March 24, 2022.

Birthday Boy

"Daddy" John cuddled with Malcolm on his 4-month birthdate before heading out to Texas.

Mommy & Me

The actress shared, "It's been 4 months since the happiest, chillest baby came into my world."

Love at First Sight

John peered over at his baby boy in this throwback photo from his birth. The comedian wrote in March 2022, "Four months ago I met a 6 lb boy who changed my life forever." 

Boys Reunited

Olivia captioned this adorable embrace with a teddy bear emoji.

In the Family

Olivia shared a pic of Malcolm with his grandma a.k.a. the "retired tiger mom." 

"Buttered Biscuit"

Olivia gushed over her baby boy.

Baby Playdate

Olivia and John introduced Malcolm to friends Henry Golding and Liv Lo Golding, as well as the couple's daughter Lyla, in January 2022. 

Dads on Duty

John and Henry were seen laughing as they held up their tiny tots.

New Moms

The friends snapped a selfie while introducing their babies.

First Friends

As Olivia wrote, "Malcolm met Lyla today."

Sweater Weather

Olivia and John were pictured arm-in-arm during a sweet moment, seemingly gazing at their little one in January 2022.

A Visit From Uncle Pete

"Uncle" Pete Davidson visited Malcolm in January 2022.

Baby Kisses

John gave his son a kiss on the cheek.


Malcolm fell asleep in dad's carrier during an outing at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, Calif.

New Year Together

The Newsroom actress celebrated New Year's Day 2022 with a new pic of Malcolm.

A Walk With Dad

John shared a selfie with his Malcolm, kept cozy in a blue beanie, while they took a walk.

Mom Life

Olivia shared that this was what it looked like "when your friend shows up and surprises you with a blowout even though you're in your robe and not going anywhere."

She said the new 'do made her "feel a little less post partum."

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