Emilia Clarke experienced two frightening health scares when she suffered brain aneurysms in 2011 and again in 2013, but in a recent interview the “Game of Thrones” star reveals why she didn’t go public about them until earlier this year: because she was worried it might cost her job on the HBO hit.
In an interview with “Jessie Ware’s Table Manners” podcast, the 33-year-old actress revealed that she didn’t tell the show’s producers what had happened until she knew she was out of the woods.
“With the first one, I couldn’t let them know what had happened until they knew that I wasn’t going to die,” Clarke explained.
“So it took us three weeks to be like, ‘Sorry for not answering the old emails. I’ve just been a bit, you know… I’m fine! By the way, everything’s great. I’m totally fine. I’m going to be back to work, nothing’s wrong with me. I’m all good.'”
She added: “I just was, and consistently, so scared of being fired for whatever reason,” she added. “So I was just like… that was just me, more than [them]. I had no idea how taken care of I was.”
When she suffered a second aneurysm two years later, however, she admitted that she “wanted to disappear” because of how despondent she felt.
“I do feel like the brain hemorrhages are the literal, physical embodiment of what it is to be attacked on a social media, because I didn’t want to look anyone in the eye, and I didn’t want anyone to recognize me,” she said.
“I wanted to disappear completely, to wipe myself off the face of the earth, because I couldn’t handle the level of interaction. Because I felt totally laid bare, totally vulnerable, totally in pain. [With] the second one, I lost a lot of hope; I lost a lot of optimism. That’s insane bad luck,” Clarke continued.
“But there I was in a f**king American hospital with drains coming out of my head, fully swollen, full of all the drugs they give you, and all I could think was, ‘Please don’t recognize me, please don’t recognize me, please don’t recognize me.'”
Following her ordeal, Clarke launched the Same You foundation, which calls for increased government funding for neurorehabilitation and related support services.
“I know from personal experience how important it is when recovering from brain injury to receive the best rehabilitation care,” wrote Clarke on the foundation’s website. “In many countries support is hard to find and even in the best health care services, immediate rehabilitation is often insufficient. We need to work to change healthcare policies, improve the pathways to recovery and campaign to increase provision.”