Sharon Stone suffered brain bleed for 9 days before best friend ‘convinced’ doctors to intervene

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In 2001, Sharon Stone‘s entire life changed in an instant. 

During an appearance on U.K.’s “Good Morning Britain,” the iconic actress, who rose to fame in the 1990s with breakthrough roles in “Basic Instinct” and “Casino,” spoke about how her career significantly pivoted from acting to activism after suffering a “near-death experience.”

“I went to the first hospital and had an MRI and had this near-death experience and then was transferred to a specialized hospital. I continued to bleed into my brain for nine days before my best friend convinced [the doctors] to look again,” she said. “Thank God they did, because they realized what was going on and how it had happened and were able to repair it at the last moment.”

“It was really one of those beautiful miracles,” she added. “Of course I’m a different person. I have an invisible disability. People can help you when they see you are walking with crutches, but when you are having a bit of a problem with brain function, people don’t know that you need help with that.”


Sharon Stone in a yellow long sleeve dress soft smiles on the Vanity Fair carpet

Sharon Stone suffered a stroke in 2001. (Cindy Ord/VF23/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

The actress, who has now spent over 20 years as an activist for the World Health Organization, said her first step of recovery lasted about “seven years.”

“That’s a long time to lose your momentum,” she said. 

“In seven years, you’re no longer the flavor of the time, you no longer have box office heat, the same people you were working with are no longer in power anymore.” she added. “Everything changes and people don’t really care about that person anymore. It’s like going back to your old job seven years later … you don’t just walk back into your job and think nothing’s changed.”


“I was sort of hurt that the world moved on without me,” she admitted. “But I’ve kind of gotten over it now.”

Sharon Stone in a black dress with unzippered shoulders on the carpet

Sharon Stone said her best friend advocated for her during her stroke. (Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images for The Elles Collective)

Last year, Stone spoke further about how her medical scare significantly impacted her career. 

“I had a 1% chance of survival. I had a nine-day brain bleed. I recovered for seven years and I haven’t had jobs since,” she said during the “Raising Our Voices” luncheon in June 2023. “My contract changed. I have a maximum of a 14-hour day. When it first happened, I didn’t want to tell anybody because, you know, if something goes wrong with you, you’re out. Something went wrong with me: I’ve been out for 20 years,” she declared.


I haven’t had jobs. I was a very big movie star at one point in my life. I broke a lot of glass ceilings with the top of my head,” she admitted.

“I would have loved to be heard, but since I wasn’t, I decided to work so that you could be heard,” she continued. “I have spent the last 20 years plus working for the World Health Organization, working for the United Nations, working for governments all over the world. So that you can be heard. It is important to me that your diversity does not get wiped out by this anti-woke bulls— idea in our country.”

Sharon Stone holds the glass podium as she speaks to the "Raising Our Voices" luncheon crowd wearing a red suit with a flower

Sharon Stone spoke of how her stroke in 2001 had hindered her acting career. (Michael Kovac/The Hollywood Reporter)

Speaking to Willie Geist on “Sunday TODAY with Willie Geist” in 2021, Stone, who is now a dedicated artist and painter, said she has found peace with her life now. 

“I’m in a really grateful place,” she said. “When I was a kid, I always wanted to have a house full of kids running and screaming and dogs, and I got it. And I feel very blessed and happy about the life I got. We’re happy together, and what’s better than that?”

“There’s nothing more free than standing centered in yourself,” Stone added. “I tell my friends that my new mantra is, ‘It’s never too late to become yourself.’”


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