Emilia Clarke reveals she almost died after the first season of Game of Thrones
In a letter published in the New Yorker, Emilia Clarke has spoken for the first time about her near death experiences
Emilia Clarke has grown to become one of the world's most beloved actors for her role as Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones. But things could have been very different. For the first time, Clarke has revealed publicly that she survived a potentially fatal stroke.
In a letter published in the New Yorker, the Game of Thrones star recalled getting a headache before collapsing in the toilets while at the gym.
"I reached the toilet, sank to my knees and proceeded to be violently, voluminously ill," Clarke explained.
"Meanwhile, the pain - shooting, stabbing, constricting pain - was getting worse.
"At some level, I knew what was happening - my brain was damaged."
She had suffered from a subarachnoid haemorrhage, a type of stroke caused by bleeding in the brain which could quite easily have ended her life.
Surgeons were able to operate on her without having to open her skull, but she revealed in the letter that she could not remember her name after waking up from the operation.
"My full name is Emilia Isobel Euphemia Rose Clarke. But now I couldn’t remember it.
"Instead, nonsense words tumbled out of my mouth and I went into a blind panic. I’d never experienced fear like that - a sense of doom closing in."
This continued for a week. At times, Clarke revealed, she wanted the doctors to 'pull the plug'.
"In my worst moments, I wanted to pull the plug," she wrote.
"I asked the medical staff to let me die. My job—my entire dream of what my life would be—centred on language, on communication. Without that, I was lost."
She recovered and was allowed to leave the hospital, but there was more bad news to come. Doctors informed her that a second aneurysm on the other side of her brain would have to be monitored.
Two years later, they discovered that it had doubled in size and attempted to operate on her once again, but ended up having to rush her into emergency surgery and cut open her skull. It left her with a scar "that curves from my scalp to my ear".
Clarke's decision to break her silence over her health scares comes as she launches her own charity, SameYou. Its aim is to support young people with brain injuries and help them get access to resources.
"I know from personal experience how important it is when recovering from brain injury to receive the best rehabilitation care," she said on SameYou's Instagram.