Up until 2001, American movie icon, Sharon Stone, enjoyed a successful acting career spanning decades. That year however the Basic Instinct star’s health took a devastating turn leaving her career and life in tatters.
In 2001 Stone experienced a subarachnoid hemorrhage, or stroke, which significantly altered her life. She was given a 1 per cent chance of living after a ruptured vertebral artery bled into her brain for nine days. However, with courage and conviction, she recovered and returned to her acting career but soon found her life had changed profoundly.
Now 22 years later, the 65-year old who looks the picture of health, has revealed the key to ensuring she remains seizure-free.
In a recent interview with People magazine, Stone opened up about the impact of her stroke, revealing that “for a long time I wanted to pretend that I was just fine”.
She admits that she went through a dark period where she divorced her husband, news editor Phil Bronstein, and “Hollywood stopped calling”.
About her initial recovery progress, Stone said she stuttered in the early stages and could not see correctly. She also suffered from memory loss for a long period.
“I lost everything,” she said.
“I lost all my money. I lost custody of my child. I lost my career. I lost all those things that you feel are your real identity and your life.”
Stone says these days she needs eight hours of sleep a night to ensure her brain medication works and prevents any future seizures. Because of this, she says she is a “disability hire” and does not get offered many roles these days.
Fortunately for her though she has made peace with her new life and is now comfortable sharing her experiences.
“I come from a very broken family. I grew up believing that taking care of everybody else was what I was supposed to do,” she said.
“It took me a long time to understand that I had a life of my own and that I didn’t have to fix it for everybody else, and that it was okay for me to receive care, for me to be enough as a disabled person. I feel proud of myself and proud of my accomplishments — from surviving to helping others survive.”
Currently Stone sits on the board of the Barrow Neurological Foundation which supports the Arizona-based medical institute led by her brain surgeon (and the man she credits for saving her life), Dr. Michael Lawton. Their mission is to save lives through innovative treatment, groundbreaking, curative research, and educating the next generation of the world’s leading clinicians.
About Stone’s involvement, Lawton says, “She’s an inspiration to those who suffer from anything neurological.”
And while she is inspiring people with her stories in the medical arena, Stone has wasted no time getting out and about. Earlier this year she appeared on Saturday Night Live, making an unannounced appearance alongside singer Sam Smith for the debut performance of his new song, Gloria.
She also got tongues wagging when she posted a summer-ready selfie of herself in a barely-there leopard print bikini.