ALBANY - Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, whose girlfriend, food TV star Sandra Lee, faces breast cancer surgery, said Tuesday that he will take a rare break from running the state to be with her for her surgery.

"A situation like this quickly puts life in the proper perspective and reminds one of what's truly important," Cuomo said in a statement Tuesday. "To that end, I expect to take some personal time because I want to be with Sandy to support her in any way I can as she handles the trauma of her operation and the pain of the recovery."

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Lee made her diagnosis public Tuesday in an interview that aired on "Good Morning America." She said she underwent a lumpectomy and will soon undergo a double mastectomy, and that Cuomo has been "extremely supportive."

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Cuomo, 57, and Lee, 48, have been together for 10 years. They share her Westchester County house where Cuomo's daughters split time with their mother, Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of slain Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

"If she had waited until she was 50, this would be a very difficult situation that we are dealing with," Cuomo said at a press event in Westbury.