Sharon Stone opens up in a lengthy interview with People magazine, discussing her “disability” more than 20 years after the aneurysm that struck her in 2001 and nearly took her life. She says, “I need eight hours of uninterrupted sleep for my brain medications to work and prevent epileptic seizures. So, I am disabled, and that’s why I don’t get hired very often,” explains the 65-year-old star of “Basic Instinct,” who accuses Hollywood of forgetting her. “These are the things I’ve been dealing with for 22 years. For a long time, I wanted to pretend I was okay, but now I finally talk about it openly.”
On September 29, 2001, the actress suffered a near-fatal brain hemorrhage, with just a 1% chance of survival. This led to an extended hospital stay, lasting three years, during which she couldn’t even write.
Following a delicate surgical procedure to repair a ruptured vertebral artery that had been bleeding for days, Sharon woke up in the hospital without any recollection of the event. She had to relearn basic functions like walking, listening, writing, speaking, and remembering from scratch.
For context, at that time, Stone was enjoying immense success both in her career and personal life. She had earned her first Oscar nomination for “Casino” five years earlier and had adopted her son Roan, who is now 23, with her then-husband, newspaper editor Phil Bronstein. (Since then, she has adopted two more children: Laird, 18, and Quinn, 17.)
Sharon Stone: the consequences of the aneurysm
Following the incident, Stone endured a difficult period, not just physically. Her marriage to Bronstein ended in divorce in 2004, and Hollywood ceased to offer her roles. “I lost everything,” she laments. “My money, custody of my son, my career – all the things you believe define your identity and life.” She adds, “While I haven’t fully reclaimed most of them, I’ve reached a point where I’m content, recognizing that I have enough.”
When asked how she mustered the courage to share her story, Stone reveals, “I come from a troubled family where caregiving was ingrained in me. It took me a while to realize I had my own life and didn’t have to shoulder everyone else’s burdens. It was okay for me to seek help and accept my status as a disabled person. I take pride in my journey and accomplishments, from surviving to assisting others in surviving.”
Today, the actress is a part of the board of directors of the Barrow Neurological Foundation, which supports the neurosurgery department of Dr. Michael Lawton, her surgeon, in Arizona. The foundation’s mission, as stated on its website, is to “save human lives through innovative treatments, groundbreaking research, and healing education while nurturing the next generation of world-leading neuro clinicians.” “She is an inspiration to those suffering from neurological disorders,” says Lawton, to whom Stone attributes the credit for saving her life.