Sharon Stone gets candid about life after her stroke: ‘People treated me in a way that was brutally unkind’

Sharon Stone is back. And after famously serving as amfAR’s Global Campaign Chair for 15 years, she’s taken on a new role as advocate for brain-aging diseases that disproportionally affect women. Only one third of Alzheimers patients are men, for instance. And don’t even get Stone started on strokes. “This is why I do it: My mother had a stroke. My grandmother had a stroke. I had a massive stroke — and a nine-day brain bleed.” she told Variety at an event she hosted to raise awareness for the Women’s Brain Health Initiative in West Hollywood on Wednesday night.

They say that Hollywood loves a comeback but unfortunately, that has not been Stone’s experience. “People treated me in a way that was brutally unkind,” she said. And she wasn’t referring to men (other than perhaps her ex-husband Phil Bronstein). “From other women in my own business to the female judge who handled my custody case, I don’t think anyone grasps how dangerous a stroke is for women and what it takes to recover — it took me about seven years.”

16 PHOTOS
Sharon Stone early career years
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Sharon Stone early career years
T.J. HOOKER - "Hollywood Starr" - Airdate: February 23, 1985. (Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images) SHARON STONE
T.J. HOOKER - "Hollywood Starr" - Airdate: February 23, 1985. (Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images) SHARON STONE;WILLIAM SHATNER
WAR AND REMEMBRANCE - TV Miniseries - Airdate: November 13, 15 through 17, 20 and 23, 1988 / May 7 through 10 and 14, 1989. (Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images) SHARON STONE;BARRY BOSTWICK
WAR AND REMEMBRANCE - TV Miniseries - Airdate: November 13, 15 through 17, 20 and 23, 1988 / May 7 through 10 and 14, 1989. (Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images) CLOCKWISE (FROM TOP L): MICHAEL WOODS;HART BOCHNER;VICTORIA TENNANT;SHARON STONE
Sharon Stone (Photo by © Aaron Rapoport/CORBIS OUTLINE/Corbis via Getty Images)
285948 08: Actress Sharon Stone stands beside Chairman of the Board of the American Foundation for AIDS Research Dr. Mathilde Krim at the eighth annual Gala Dinner Dance held by Concerned Parents for AIDS Research November 15, 1996 in New York City. CPFA was established in 1989 by a group of parents who, after seeing a friend's daughter diagnosed with AIDS, realized that their children needed to be better informed about the disease. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Liaison)
Actress Sharon Stone attends the 'Wild at Heart' Universal City Premiere on August 13, 1990 at Cineplex Odeon Universal City Cinemas in Universal City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Actress Sharon Stone attends the 'Postcards From the Edge' Century City Premiere on September 10, 1990 at Cineplex Odeon Century Plaza Cinemas in Century City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
ROME, ITALY - MARCH 17: Actress Sharon Stone poses at the Italian photocall for 'Basic Instinct 2' at the St. Regis Grand Hotel on March 17, 2006 in Rome, Italy. The film is the sequel to the classic 1990's thriller 'Basic Instinct'. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Actress Sharon Stone attends HBO's 'Comic Relief V' to Benefit America's Homeless on May 16, 1992 at Universal Amphitheatre in Universal City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Actress Sharon Stone attends the 'Forrest Gump' Hollywood Premiere on June 23, 1994 at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Actress Sharon Stone attends the 'Strictly Western Two Steppin' for the Cure III' Third Annual Country Western Dinner/Dance to Benefit amfAR on May 17, 1996 at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Actress Sharon Stone attends the 25th Annual American Film Institute (AFI) Lifetime Achievement Award Salute to Martin Scorsese on February 20, 1997 at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Actress Sharon Stone attends the 'Antz' Westwood Premiere on September 24, 1998 at Mann National Theatre in Westwood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Actress Sharon Stone attends the 'Simpatico' New York City Premiere on December 6, 1999 at Sony Theatres Lincoln Square in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Actress Sharon Stone attends the 11th Annual Glamour Women of the Year Awards on October 23, 2000 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
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During that time, Stone suffered insurmountable losses, both professional and personal: “[From] trying to keep custody of my son to just functioning — to be able to work at all,” Stone added. “I was so grateful to [LVMH head and now the second-richest person in the world] Bernard Arnault, who rescued me by giving me a Dior contract. But I had to remortgage my house. I lost everything I had. I lost my place in the business. I was like the hottest movie star, you know?” she said, her voice trailing off. “It was like Miss Princess Diana and I were so famous — and she died and I had a stroke. And we were forgotten.”

But what Stone wants people to remember is her potentially life-saving advice: “if you have a really bad headache, you need to go to the hospital,” she said. “I didn’t get to the hospital until day three or four of my stroke. Most people die. I had a 1% chance of living by the time I got surgery — and they wouldn’t know for a month if I would live.” At the time, Stone wasn’t even aware of how dire her chances for survival were. “No one told me — I read it in a magazine,” she added.

The sister of “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” was another one of the lucky survivors of a brain aneurysm. “She had a massive headache and collapsed,” Jane Seymour told Variety. “She was not expected to live, and they had to close down [the set of] ‘Dr. Quinn.’ I was by her bedside the whole time. But she managed to relearn how to walk, talk and she’s good now. We call her the miracle.”

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Sharon Stone out and about
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Sharon Stone out and about
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Actress Sharon Stone attends the 25th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation's Oscar Viewing Party at The City of West Hollywood Park on February 26, 2017 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Sharon Stone is seen on February 24, 2017 in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Hollywood To You/Star Max/GC Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 06: Sharon Stone attends the 16th Annual AARP The Magazine's Movies For Grownups Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 6, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images for AARP)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 06: Actors Sharon Stone (L) and Jeff Bridges attend Jeff Bridges hand and footprint ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX on January 6, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - NOVEMBER 10: Chuck Binder and Sharon Stone attend the The TMA 2016 Heller Awards on November 10, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Talent Managers Association )
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - NOVEMBER 09: Actress Sharon Stone speaks on stage as she accepts the 2016 Israel Film Festival Career Achievement Award at the Israel Film Festival 30th Anniversary Gala Awards Dinner at Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on November 9, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Israel Film Festival)
NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 02: Actress Sharon Stone attends the 50th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on November 2, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 26: Actress Sharon Stone is seen on October 26, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by SMXRF/Star Max/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 24: Actresses (L) Amber Valletta and Sharon Stone attend the 23rd Annual ELLE Women In Hollywood Awards at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on October 24, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for ELLE)
Sharon Stone attends The Carousel of Hope Ball, in Beverly Hills, California, on October 8, 2016. / AFP / TOMMASO BODDI (Photo credit should read TOMMASO BODDI/AFP/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 08: Comedian Jay Leno (L) and actress Sharon Stone speak onstage during the 2016 Carousel of Hope Ball at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 8, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 11: Actress Sharon Stone is seen on September 11, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by SMXRF/Star Max/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 10: Actress Sharon Stone attends a special event for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on August 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 10: Host Brett Ratner (L) and actress Sharon Stone attend the special event for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hosted by Brett Ratner and David Raymond at Hilhaven Lodge on August 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Lester Cohen/Getty Imagesfor RatPac Entertainment's 'In Harm's Way' Event)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 13: Sharon Stone attends the presentation of 'Eat That Question: Frank Zappa In His Own Words' at Linwood Dunn Theater on June 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)
TIBURON, CA - JUNE 04: Actress Sharon Stone and Andrea Bocelli arrive to the 5th Annual Hotbed Gala Presented By The Drever Family Foundation at the Drever Family Estate on June 4, 2016 in Tiburon, California. (Photo by C Flanigan/Getty Images)
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Even though Stone didn’t initially feel any love from the sisterhood, she was certainly surrounded by admirers on this night. Andie MacDowell, Kelly Lynch, Garcelle Beauvais and Rumer Willis were among the actresses who turned out to show their support at celebrity florist Eric Buterbaugh’s galley. And as far as they’re concerned, Stone is still a hot movie star. “I’ve known Sharon a long time and she is truly powerful woman,” Tom Cruise’s producing partner, Paula Wagner, told Variety. “Whatever she undertakes, she does it with great strength and intelligence and brings awareness to it. So it’s wonderful that she is bringing this story openly and honestly. She inspires me.”

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