Emilia Clarke has revealed she had to undergo brain surgery between two seasons of “The Game of Thrones.”
Writing in The New Yorker, the actress who plays Daenerys Targaryen said she suffered two “life-threatening” aneurysms and so underwent surgery twice, leading to “terrible anxiety” and panic attacks.
Clarke added that experienced her first aneurysm in 2011, that she had been working out before collapsing in a toilet with “shooting, stabbing, constricting pain.” Doctors diagnosed her with having a subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH), from which a third of sufferers die immediately or soon after.
And after the surgery, a condition called aphasia set in, meaning she could not communicate and feared her acting career was over.
“In my worst moments, I wanted to pull the plug,” she said. “I asked the medical staff to let me die.”
She recovered enough to return to filming Season 2 of Game of Thrones but said: “I was often so woozy, so weak, that I thought I was going to die.”
And then again, in 2013, while performing for a play in New York, she received brain surgery for a second aneurysm on the other side of her brain. This surgery was far more intrusive, meaning her skull had to be opened up.
“I looked as though I had been through a war more gruesome than any Daenerys experienced,” said Clarke.
Her piece in The New Yorker is the first time she has spoken about her experience.
She says she is now “at a hundred per cent” and has helped develop a charity that supports people recovering from brain injuries and strokes.