Brooke Shields is revealing for the first time that she suffered a “full blown grand mal seizure” just days before making her one-woman show debut, and when they unsuccessfully tried to reach her husband over the phone, it was Bradley Cooper who ended up in the back of an ambulance with her and holding her hand as it raced to a hospital.
In that candid conversation, Shields says she was preparing for her one-woman show, Previously Owned, set to debut Sept. 12 at the famed Café Carlyle. And in the midst of that preparation, Shields says she was drinking so much water and hadn’t realized she was low in sodium. She was waiting for an Uber when, all of a sudden, “I start looking weird, and [the people I was with] were like, ‘Are you okay?'”
Shields says the people she was with kept asking her if she needed anything, like coffee, which she agreed to take.
“Then I walked to the corner — no reason at all. I’m like, ‘Why am I out here?'” she recalls. “Then I walk into the restaurant L’Artusi, and I go to the sommelier who had just taken an hour to watch my run-through. I go in, two women come up to me; I don’t know them. Everything starts to go black. Then my hands drop to my side and I go headfirst into the wall. I start having a grand mal seizure.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, a grand mal seizure (now known as tonic-clonic seizure) causes a loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions. During a tonic-clonic seizure, the muscles become stiff, which causes a person to fall. Then the muscles alternately flex and relax.
Shields says she started frothing at the mouth, turned “totally blue” and she was “trying to swallow my tongue.”
“The next thing I remember, I’m being loaded into an ambulance. I have oxygen on,” she says. “And Bradley f**king Cooper is sitting next to me holding my hand.”
Cooper’s cameo in Shields’ health emergency episode is the result of what the magazine describes as a “you-couldn’t-make-this-up game of phone tag” that had ensued. Glamour reports that the sommelier at L’Artusi first tried to reach Shields’ husband, Chris Henchy, “which ended up with an assistant reaching an assistant, who eventually called Bradley Cooper who was nearby.”
As Shields tells it, the assistant called Cooper and said, “Brooke’s on the ground. Chris isn’t around. Go get her.”
“I didn’t have a sense of humor. I couldn’t really get any words out,” Shields recalls. “But I thought to myself, ‘This is what death must be like. You wake up and Bradley Cooper’s going, ‘I’m going to go to the hospital with you, Brooke,’ and he’s holding my hand. And I’m looking at my hand, I’m looking at Bradley Cooper’s hand in my hand, and I’m like, ‘This is odd and surreal.'”
“And he came, and somebody called the ambulance,” she continues, “and then it was like, I walked in with Jesus.”
Once in the hospital, Shields says she was ultimately taken into ICU, where she got bronchitis. In the end, low sodium — coupled with drinking too much water, which flooded her system — is what triggered the seizure, she says. But then she grew downright annoyed.
“And then the male doctors kept asking me if I was limiting my salt. And I said, ‘You know what? I’ve had it with male doctors. I know you’re all smart — smarter than I am in what you do. But let me just tell you something: I look younger when I’m bloated,” she says. “If I’m bloated, people think I’ve had botox’ So as a 58-year-old woman, I’m not limiting my salt, okay? Stop trying to make me a crazy actress or a female that doesn’t know what the f**k they’re doing. I was drinking too much water because I felt dehydrated because I was singing more than I’ve ever sung in my life and doing a show and a podcast.”
Their advice, Shields added, “Eat potato chips every day.”