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Emilia Clarke Opens Up About Feeling “Profoundly Alone” Following Her Two Brain Injuries
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Emilia Clarke Opens Up About Feeling “Profoundly Alone” Following Her Two Brain Injuries

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Emilia Clarke revealed she thought she would be fired from Game Of Thrones after she suffered a brain injury.

The 37-year-old actress, who famously played Daenerys Targaryen on the hit HBO show, shared that after her first injury—which occurred in 2011 in between filming the first and second season and required surgery—she feared that she would be dropped from the series.

Highlights
  • Emilia Clarke feared she would be fired from Game of Thrones after suffering a brain injury in 2011.
  • She underwent surgery for a subarachnoid hemorrhage, a type of stroke, in 2011, and another brain aneurysm in 2013.
  • The actress felt profoundly lonely and feared that she might never act again due to her condition.

“When you have a brain injury, because it alters your sense of self on such a dramatic level, all of the insecurities you have going into the workplace quadruple overnight,” Emilia said during an interview with the Big Issue published on Monday (June 10).

Image credits: emilia_clarke

“The first fear we all had was: ‘Oh my God, am I going to get fired? Am I going to get fired because they think I’m not capable of completing the job?’”

The hemorrhage reportedly took place while she was working out in a gym in north London.

The Me Before You star explained that she was back at work within weeks of her first brain bleed and feared that she was going to die of another hemorrhage on set.

“Well, if I’m going to die, I better die on live TV,” she recalled thinking.

In 2011, the actress was rushed to the hospital for urgent surgery for a subarachnoid hemorrhage, a type of stroke that one-third of patients can die from

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Image credits: HBO

Image credits: CBS This Morning

In 2013, Emilia suffered another brain aneurysm and underwent surgery again, which resulted in her losing “quite a bit” of her brain in the procedure.

“The amount of my brain that is no longer usable — it’s remarkable that I am able to speak, sometimes articulately, and live my life completely normally with absolutely no repercussions,” she explained.

“I am in the really, really, really small minority of people that can survive that.”

“The first fear we all had was: ‘Oh my God, am I going to get fired? Am I going to get fired because they think I’m not capable of completing the job?'” said the 37-year-old

Image credits: HBO

In the Big Issue interview, the London-born actress and model opened up about feeling lonely as a result of her condition.

“Having a chronic condition that diminishes your confidence in this one thing you feel is your reason to live is so debilitating and so lonely.

“One of the biggest things I felt with a brain injury was profoundly alone. That is what we’re trying to overcome.”

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In 2013, Emilia suffered a second brain aneurysm and underwent surgery once more, which resulted in her losing “quite a bit” of her brain

Image credits: emilia_clarke

The London-born star founded the charity SameYou to develop better mental health recovery treatment for survivors of brain injuries, raise awareness, and advocate for change

Image credits: CBS This Morning

At one particularly dark point in her life, Emilia felt she “couldn’t carry on” and asked medical staff to let her die because she thought she would never act again.

Overcoming this difficult time has given her a “superpower,” she says.

She and her mother founded their charity, SameYou, in 2019 to develop better mental health recovery treatment for survivors of brain injuries, raise awareness, and advocate for change.

People lamented Emilia’s health issues and wished her “the best of health going forward”

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Marina Urman

Marina Urman

Writer, BoredPanda staff

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Marina is a journalist at Bored Panda. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she holds a Bachelor of Social Science. In her spare time, you can find her baking sweet treats, reading, or binge-watching a docuseries on Netflix. Her main areas of interest are pop culture, literature, and education.

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Marina Urman

Marina Urman

Writer, BoredPanda staff

Marina is a journalist at Bored Panda. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she holds a Bachelor of Social Science. In her spare time, you can find her baking sweet treats, reading, or binge-watching a docuseries on Netflix. Her main areas of interest are pop culture, literature, and education.

Karina Babenok

Karina Babenok

Author, BoredPanda staff

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As a visual editor in the News team, I look for the most interesting pictures and comments to make each post interesting and informative through images, so that you aren't reading only blocks of text. I joined Bored Panda not that long ago, but in this short amount of time I have covered a wide range of topics: from true crime to Taylor Swift memes (my search history is very questionable because of that). In my freetime, I enjoy spending time at the gym, gaming, binging Great British Bake Off and adding yet another tattoo artist that I would love to get a tattoo from to my pinterest board.

Read less »

Karina Babenok

Karina Babenok

Author, BoredPanda staff

As a visual editor in the News team, I look for the most interesting pictures and comments to make each post interesting and informative through images, so that you aren't reading only blocks of text. I joined Bored Panda not that long ago, but in this short amount of time I have covered a wide range of topics: from true crime to Taylor Swift memes (my search history is very questionable because of that). In my freetime, I enjoy spending time at the gym, gaming, binging Great British Bake Off and adding yet another tattoo artist that I would love to get a tattoo from to my pinterest board.

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vernon_bear avatar
Gavin Johnson
Community Member
2 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Anyone who thinks an actress or indeed actor is ‘too big’ to be dropped or that they can’t be replaced is deluded. Big production companies will drop you in heartbeat if they think you can’t match the filming schedule or the pressure of long days in inhospitable environments. She knows the business very well and her fears were justified, glad she weathered those storms and came through, I bet it was a tough time.

the_true_opifex avatar
Beak Hookage
Community Member
2 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

You're entirely correct. Ed Norton got dropped as the Hulk (despite being a great actor) because he was deemed too difficult to work with. Katie Holmes was dropped from the Nolan Batman movies because she got pregnant and they apparently couldn't shoot around it. If you inconvenience the higher ups enough, for whatever reason, you're expendable.

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vernon_bear avatar
Gavin Johnson
Community Member
2 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Anyone who thinks an actress or indeed actor is ‘too big’ to be dropped or that they can’t be replaced is deluded. Big production companies will drop you in heartbeat if they think you can’t match the filming schedule or the pressure of long days in inhospitable environments. She knows the business very well and her fears were justified, glad she weathered those storms and came through, I bet it was a tough time.

the_true_opifex avatar
Beak Hookage
Community Member
2 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

You're entirely correct. Ed Norton got dropped as the Hulk (despite being a great actor) because he was deemed too difficult to work with. Katie Holmes was dropped from the Nolan Batman movies because she got pregnant and they apparently couldn't shoot around it. If you inconvenience the higher ups enough, for whatever reason, you're expendable.

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