Melanie Griffith reveals epilepsy diagnosis, stress of Antonio Banderas marriage

"My brain is so f-cked up." 

So said Melanie Griffith on a Women's Brain Health Initiative panel Wednesday night in Gagosian Gallery while seated in front of a giant piece from the current exhibit "Adriana Varejão: Interiors" that featured a room filled with cubes and tiles in varying shades of yellow. 

If someone is going to deliver such a statement, this would be the event to do so, complete with a dramatic backdrop and a thought-provoking conversation alongside a noted brain researcher and industry allies like longtime friend Sharon Stone. The panel was designed to focus on the organization's mission of combating women's brain health disorders complemented by personal anecdotes and experiences from panelists including Griffith, producer Paula Wagner, Crystal Lourd, and brain health expert Dr. Pauline Maki from the University of Illinois at Chicago. WBHI president and founder Lynn Posluns kicked off the panel with opening remarks following a rooftop-set cocktail party. 

Griffith's description of her brain was not meant to be a joke and came as part of a revelation that she has been diagnosed with epilepsy, a condition she currently has under control despite the years it took her to get stable. 

See photos of Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas together:

24 PHOTOS
Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas together
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Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas together
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 18: Actors Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas attend the 'Black Nativity' premiere at The Apollo Theater on November 18, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 18: (L-R) Actor Antonio Banderas and actress Melanie Griffith attend the after party for the 'Black Nativity' premiere at The Red Rooster on November 18, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 17: Actors Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith are seen on the grid before the United States Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas on November 17, 2013 in Austin, United States. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
MARBELLA, SPAIN - AUGUST 10: Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith attend the 4rd annual Starlite Charity Gala on August 10, 2013 in Marbella, Spain. (Photo by Europa Press/Europa Press via Getty Images)
MALAGA, SPAIN - MARCH 26: Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith attend procession during the Holy Week on March 26, 2013 in Malaga, Spain. (Photo by Europa Press/Europa Press via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 20: Actors Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith attend Children's Hospital Los Angeles' Gala Noche de Ninos honoring The Walt Disney Company, Heidi Klum and Pau Gasol at L.A. Live Event Deck on October 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mark Sullivan/WireImage)
MARBELLA, SPAIN - AUGUST 04: Actors Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas attend the 3rd annual Starlite Charity Gala on August 4, 2012 in Marbella, Spain. (Photo by Daniel Perez Garcia-Santos/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas arrives at the 84th Annual Academy Awards at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on February 26, 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 19: Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas arrives to Goya Cinema Awards 2012 ceremony, at the Palacio Municipal de Congresos on February 19, 2012 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 05: Actor Antonio Banderas and actress Melanie Griffith arrive at the Los Angeles Premiere 'Haywire' at Directors Guild Of America on January 5, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 15: Actors Antonio Banderas adn Melanie Griffith arrive at the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 15, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
ASPEN, CO - DECEMBER 30: Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas attend the Ajax Cup co-sponsored by Aspen Peak magazine at Silver Circle Ice Rink on December 30, 2011 in Aspen, Colorado. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/WireImage)
SANTA MONICA, CA - SEPTEMBER 10: Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas attend the 2011 NCR ALMA Awards at Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on September 10, 2011 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 11: Actor Antonio Banderas and actress Melanie Griffith arrive at 'The Skin I Live In' Premiere at the Princess of Wales Theatre on September 11, 2011 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Clinton Gilders/FilmMagic)
MIAMI, FL - JULY 21: (EXCLUSIVE and Premium Rates Apply) (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas backstage at Univisions 8th Annual Premios Juventud Awards at Bank United Center on July 21, 2011 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by John Parra/WireImage)
CANNES-May 11: Actress Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas attend the 'Midnight In Paris' Premiere at the Palais des Festivals during the 64th Cannes Film Festival May 11, 2011 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 11: Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas attend the Opening Ceremony and 'Midnight In Paris' Premiere at the Palais des Festivals during the 64th Cannes Film Festival on May 11, 2011 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Venturelli/WireImage)
MALAGA, SPAIN - APRIL 26: (SPAIN, FRANCE, GERMANY AND ENGLAND OUT) Actors Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith pose for photos at Hotel Larios on Aprilç 26, 2011 in Malaga, Spain. (Photo by Contacto/LatinContent/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Melanie Griffith (L) and Antonio Banderas arrive at the Primary Wave Music Pre Grammy Party at SLS Hotel on February 12, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jonathan Leibson/WireImage)
Photo © 2010 Astufoto/The Grosby Group NO EUROPE / *USA ONLY* Marbella, Aug 10 2010 ANTONIO BANDERAS and MELANIE GRIFFITH celebrating Antonio's 50th birthday with daughter Stella del Carmen, mother Ana Banderas and his brother Javier at a local restaurant in Marbella, Spain. PGta68 (Photo by Philip Ramey/Corbis via Getty Images)
MARBELLA, SPAIN - AUGUST 07: Spanish actor Antonio Banderas and American actress melanie Griffith attends Starlite gala at Padierna Hotel on August 7, 2010 in Marbella, Spain. (Photo by Handout/Starlite Gala Organizers)
NEW YORK - JUNE 13: Actors Melanie Griffith (L) and husband Antonio Banderas attend the 64th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 13, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/FilmMagic)
Actors Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas arrive at the premiere of 'Shrek Forever After' held at Gibson Amphitheatre, Universal City. (Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)
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She detailed her personal journey by telling the crowd — among them Jennifer Tilly, Rufus Wainwright, Rachel Roy, Monique Lhuillier, Jamie Tisch, Eric Buterbaugh, Elizabeth Wiatt, Laurie Feltheimer, Daniela Villegas, Cheryl Tiegs, Garcelle Beauvais, Catherine O’Hara, Tara Subkoff, Lady Victoria Hervey and Christos Garkinos — that she had experienced a string of grand mal seizures. 

"They said it was an anomaly — they didn't know what it was," she said, referring to her doctors. "The last two that I had I was on a boat outside of Cannes — on a big yacht — and I was extremely stressed out. Every seizure that I had was at a point when I was extremely stressed."

Courtesy of John Salangsang/BFA.com

Griffith did not reveal any specifics about the dates of the seizures, but it is known that she was in Cannes several times over the past decade, most recently at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2011 with then-husband Antonio Banderas. She and Banderas announced a split in June 2014 after 18 years of marriage, and while Griffith never mentioned him by name, she did mention the marriage.  

Back to Cannes: "I had two seizures, one they took me off the boat. I had this major grand mal seizure, and they took me to the hospital in Cannes and then brought me back to the boat. And then I had another seizure and I went back. They did the EEG and started to look at it seriously. When I came back [to the United States], I was diagnosed with epilepsy and nobody had said to me over a period of 20 years, no one paid enough attention to even diagnose me."

She clarified the latter statement by saying that one would presume she could have an easier path to get a diagnosis due to access to a higher level of care. Still, she has found stability thanks to a drug called Lamictal and has not had a seizure in four years. It's no coincidence that she's been divorced during three of those years, she said.

"I got divorced which is the real healer for me," she said as the audience erupted in laughter. 

"It can be," quipped Stone, who kicked off the night's discussion with a revelation of her own. She detailed the journey she's been on since having a stroke in 2001. 

See photos of Melanie Griffith last week:

12 PHOTOS
Melanie Griffith, Carmen Electra & Tara Reid at CineFashion
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Melanie Griffith, Carmen Electra & Tara Reid at CineFashion
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 08: Actress Melanie Griffith attends the 4th Annual CineFashion Film Awards at El Capitan Theatre on October 8, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 08: Actress Melanie Griffith attends the 4th Annual CineFashion Film Awards at The El Capitan Theatre on October 8, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 08: Actress Melanie Griffith attends the 4th Annual CineFashion Film Awards at The El Capitan Theatre on October 8, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 08: Melanie Griffith attends the 4th Annual CineFashion Film Awards on October 08, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/ WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 08: Carmen Electra attends the 4th Annual CineFashion Film Awards on October 08, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/ WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 08: Carmen Electra attends the 4th Annual CineFashion Film Awards on October 08, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/ WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 08: Carmen Electra attends the 4th Annual CineFashion Film Awards on October 08, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/ WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 08: Tara Reid attends the 4th Annual CineFashion Film Awards on October 08, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/ WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 08: Tara Reid attends the 4th Annual CineFashion Film Awards on October 08, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/ WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 08: Tara Reid attends the 4th Annual CineFashion Film Awards on October 08, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/ WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 08: Actress Melanie Griffith attends the 4th Annual CineFashion Film Awards at The El Capitan Theatre on October 8, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)
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"I'm not stressed anymore. It's been three years," Griffith continued. "As women, we take on family, we get the husband, we have the life, we have the children, we take care of the house, we also go to work, we can't sleep at night because we are up with the kids. I don't think I've slept for 35 years. I still don't sleep; it's totally fucked up my sleep cycle."

Stone added that as women, "We have to do everything. We make sure the house is running — even if there is staff in your house, you are the one making sure that all the stuff is running."

Griffith then ended her personal tale by saying that she recently got the all clear from Health Nucleus in San Diego, a facility known for genomic testing.  "They did all the tests on my brain. They couldn't find the epilepsy; they couldn't find anything wrong," she said. "It's pretty much that It was stress. My brain is fucked up. Really — you know? I thank God that I'm in a position where I was able to, like, find out where I could go to that's the newest high tech place to find out the most information that I possibly can. If I was living in poverty with four kids and I couldn't make ends meet and I had a fucking seizure. What do you do? How does the average person, man or woman, get the help?"

Stone answered that question: "That is why it is so devastatingly important that we really think about health care and think about what matters." 

And that includes women's brains.

Courtesy of John Salangsang/BFA.com

 

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