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Jimmy Kimmel has a wonderful update on his son Billy, who was born April 21 with a heart defect and underwent open-heart surgery days later: He’s doing great and he’s smiling (and he loves ceiling fans).
The late-night host shared the latest on his youngest child in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
“He’s doing great .... He's juggling. He's translating Flaubert from French into English. He's really an amazing kid,” Kimmel, 49, said. “No — he smiles. That's pretty much it. He is very interested in ceiling fans. He likes those a lot. I could get him to pay the same amount for Netflix just to watch ceiling fans.”
Kimmel noted that Billy will need to undergo two more open-heart surgeries when he's older.
“We would like to get them over with and not have to think about it all the time, but it could definitely be worse,” he said.
The days after Billy was born were obviously challenging for Kimmel and his wife, Molly McNearney. Kimmel recalled that his wife “had just given birth a few hours earlier and was still in the recovery room. I thought I was accompanying my son to a routine check-up (but it) became a very serious situation very quickly. I didn’t have my cellphone to tell my wife what was going on. She started to worry about an hour after I left and the doctor had to go in and tell her what was going on.”
Kimmel said he felt like he was “in an episode of a television show where something terrible was happening. There were a lot of people scrambling around. At that point, I knew there was nothing I could do. They were all very good about keeping me abreast of what was happening, but I wanted them to just focus on him and not worry about me.
“The surgery itself took less time than we were told it would — about two hours. We were surprised when the doctor walked in and told us it went well.”
Kimmel opened up to viewers about Billy’s surgery in a tearful monologue in early May. It was influenced in part by the health-care debate in the country.
“I knew I had to say something, and I knew that I would get emotional. It occurred to me that maybe we could make it into something positive,” he said.
After his monologue, Kimmel told The Hollywood Reporter, former presidents, including President Obama, reached out to him.
“(Obama) sent a very nice letter. He wished us the best and thanked us for speaking,” Kimmel revealed. “President Clinton sent a letter. President (George W.) Bush sent a very nice letter. A number of congresspeople sent notes.
“My goal always is to not make this a red or blue issue, because I don't think it is,” he added.
Since that monologue, which has been viewed more than 11 million times on the “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” YouTube page, Kimmel and McNearney have periodically shared photos of Billy on their social media accounts. Billy has even visited the set of his dad’s show. (The Hollywood Reporter has an adorable photo on its site.)
Keep on smiling, Billy! You have two loving parents — and an entire country — rooting for you.