Jimmy Kimmel says he and his wife 'didn't want to get too close' to son at first

The late-night talk show host says the couple detached themselves in fear of the baby's heart surgery.
by Eun Kyung Kim / / Source: TODAY

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Jimmy Kimmel tearfully revealed details about his newborn son’s heart defect in a memorable monologue on his show last year.

Now, with two surgeries under his son's belt, the late-night talk show host is revealing how he and his wife went about protecting their own hearts during that tentative time.

“There were secrets we kept from each other that we revealed only after the second surgery. The biggest one was that, I think subconsciously, we didn’t want to get too close to the baby because we didn’t know what was going to happen,” Kimmel said in an interview for the April issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.

Kimmel’s son, Billy, now 11 months old, was born with a congenital heart defect that required him to undergo open heart surgery at just 3 days old.

“I don't know if that's right or wrong or common or uncommon,” he continued. “But when I told her I was feeling that way, she said, 'Oh, I'm so happy you said that because I was feeling that way too, and I didn't want to express it.'"

Kimmel opened up about his son’s heart condition last May in a tearful monologue in which he explained that Billy had "a hole in the wall of the left and right side of his heart." The condition prevented him from getting enough oxygen to his blood and would require multiple surgeries to fix.

Billy had a second surgery in December and a few weeks later, his father returned from a brief hiatus by emerging on stage with his son.

Kimmel and his wife, Molly McNearney, the co-head writer for “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” also have a 3-year-old daughter. In addition, Kimmel has two older children from a previous relationship.

Kimmel said while he cried openly on national television, he shed few tears at the hospital.

"There wasn't a lot of crying, partly because I felt like it would upset other members of my family if I got upset,” he said.

Of course, Kimmel got emotional again last month when he appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and its host surprised him with a gift that paid tribute to Billy.

DeGeneres, a close friend of Kimmel, had one of the rooms at the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, where Billy underwent his surgeries, named after the child.

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