Brooke Shields revealed that she had a grand mal seizure in September, just days before the debut of her cabaret show in New York City.
The 58-year-old actor said the incident happened on Sept. 7 as she was waiting to be seated at a New York City restaurant.
“I go [into the restaurant], two women come up to me; I don’t know them. Everything starts to go black,” Shields told Glamour. “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, these types of seizure — also known as tonic-clonic seizures — cause a loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions. They usually are due to epilepsy but also can be caused by head trauma, brain tumor, drug and alcohol abuse or very low blood levels of glucose, sodium, calcium or magnesium.
It’s all a bit of blur, Shields said, but she recalled the initial moments of the situation and the person who was at her side as it all went down: Bradley f— Cooper.
“[That type of seizure] means frothing at the mouth, totally blue, trying to swallow my tongue. The next thing I remember, I’m being loaded into an ambulance,” she said. “I have oxygen on. And Bradley f— Cooper is sitting next to me holding my hand.”
The stranger-than-fiction moment caught the former supermodel off-guard, even as she was in the midst of her own medical chaos.
“I couldn’t really get any words out. But I thought to myself, ‘This is what death must be like,’” Shields said. “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.’”
But why was Cooper there? Turns out the restaurant at first tried to get in contact with Shields’ husband, Chris Henchy, but he wasn’t responding. A long game of phone tag ensued with assistant reaching out to assistant ad infinitum until eventually Cooper was contacted and he happened to be nearby.
“His assistant called Bradley and said, ‘Brooke’s on the ground. Chris isn’t around. Go get her,’” said Shields. “And he came, and somebody called the ambulance. And then it was like, I walked in with Jesus.”
Shields then explained that her seizure was triggered by low sodium.
“I had had too much water. I flooded my system, and I drowned myself. And if you don’t have enough sodium in your blood or urine or your body, you can have a seizure,” she said. “So as a 58-year-old woman, I’m not limiting my salt, OK? Stop trying to make me a crazy actress or a female that doesn’t know what the f— 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. So [the doctors] were just like, ‘Eat potato chips every day.’”
The “Pretty Baby” actor would go on to recover in time to star in her cabaret show, “Previously Owned by Brooke Shields,” from Sept. 12-23 at New York’s Café Carlyle.