Emilia Clarke has revealed to her fans a secret ordeal she suffered in 2011 whilst starting her career on the set of Game of Thrones.
The rising actress suffered a nearly fatal brain haemorrhage whilst exercising for her role as Daenerys Targaryen when she fell ill, requiring brain surgery that caused temporary amnesia.
Ms. Clarke was unaware she was living with a hidden aneurysm in her brain for three years before it ruptured, and the "invisible illness" prompted the HBO star to break the silence over the incident.
"I know from personal experience that the impact of brain injury is shattering," Clarke wrote in the New Yorker. "Recovery is long-term and rehabilitation can be difficult to access."
"We must help young adults take control of their recovery and allow them to open up without fear of stigma or shame."
During her workout, she began to feel a terrible band headache around her skull, prompting her to run to the toilet. "I reached the toilet, sank to my knees and proceeded to be violently, voluminously ill," she wrote.
"Meanwhile, the pain — shooting, stabbing, constricting pain — was getting worse," she said. "At some level, I knew what was happening — my brain was damaged."
— G. is on tour (@GWillowWilson) March 22, 2019
— Todd B (@John_Beckham14) March 22, 2019
Most victims of subarachnoid haemorrhage do not survive, but quick actions and surgery helped the Game of Thrones actress to pull through. But when she awoke from surgery, she could not recall her name and underwent a long process of rehabilitation.
According to her doctors, the actress still had an aneurysm in her brain, but she refused treatment.
"Let's face it, I'm an actor. Vanity comes with the job. I spent way too much time thinking about how I looked," Ms. Clarke wrote.
But she underwent emergency surgery in 2013 after a second aneurysm ruptured and has made a full recovery. The terrifying reoccurrence led to her efforts to support others faced with similar illnesses.
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) March 21, 2019
She said: "The degree to which people can adapt and face the future after neurological trauma is dependent on the quality and provision of rehabilitation care.
"While I was recovering, I saw that access to integrated mental and physical health recovery programs are limited and not affordable for all," she added. "I am determined to help."
Ms. Clarke’s powerful story comes as fans pay tribute to famed actor Luke Perry, who died following a massive stroke aged 52. The Beverly Hills 90210 icon was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank, California, TMZ reported in early March, but died shortly after. Legendary actress Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia, died of a heart attack in late December 2016.
Ms. Clarke would later join the Star Wars franchise as Qi'ra in the movie "Solo: A Star Wars Story".