Sharon Stone still has vivid memories of the life-threatening stroke she suffered nearly two decades ago.
The 63-year-old actor looked back on the moment she called her mother from the hospital in September 2001 — when she was also experiencing a cerebral hemorrhage that lasted nine days — in a recent conversation with Willie Geist on Sunday TODAY.
"You (told your mom), 'You better get here quickly,'" Willie remarked to Stone. "Did you feel in that moment, Sharon, like you might die?"
“The room was so silent," she recalled. "When the room is so silent and no one's running around trying to fix you, that's when you realize how near death is and how serious everything is."
"You write about the light, the feeling of falling, seeing people who had passed," Willie responded, referencing Stone's new memoir, "The Beauty of Living Twice."
“I found out that I wasn't the only one who'd had this kind of experience,” she replied to Willie. "It's so profound. And I know that scientists feel that it's a scientific thing that happens. And spiritualists believe that it's a spiritual thing. Personally, I'm with (Albert) Einstein, who believed that it's both.”
Before her stroke, Stone was one of the most in-demand stars in Hollywood, thanks to her roles in 1992’s “Basic Instinct” and 1995’s “Casino.” After the stroke, however, Stone’s career took about seven years to recover, she told Variety in 2019.
"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 told the outlet. “It was like Miss Princess Diana and I were so famous, and she died and I had a stroke. And we were forgotten."
She also revealed to Variety that many people were “brutally unkind” during her recovery.
“From other women in my own business to the female judge who handled my custody case (over my son), I don’t think anyone grasps how dangerous a stroke is for women and what it takes to recover,” she said.
Looking back on this difficult time, Stone told Willie that she now sees the "silver lining" in what she went through.
"We're here to learn our lessons," she explained. "I hope that I was humble and available to my lesson because I don't wanna do it again. And do I think that I got it right in the smacker, maybe because I didn't pay attention to some smaller lessons prior."
Today, Stone is content to lead her “second life” and is staying busy with acting, modeling, painting and spending quality time with her sons, Roan, Laird and Quinn.
“I'm in a really grateful place,” she said on Sunday TODAY. “When I was a kid, I always wanted to have a house full of kids running and screaming and dogs, and I got it. And I feel very blessed and happy about the life I got. We're happy together, and what's better than that?”
“There's nothing more free than standing centered in yourself,” she added. “I tell my friends that my new mantra is, ‘It's never too late to become yourself.’”