Emilia Clarke

Emilia Clarke surprised she can speak after past aneurysms, says part of her brain is ‘missing’

Written By: Naledi Ushe USA Today

Game of Thrones” actress Emilia Clarke is amazed by her recovery journey since suffering two life-threatening brain aneurysms during her time on the HBO drama.

Clarke opened up more about the health ordeal in an interview with BBC’s “Sunday Morning” on July 17. “The amount of my brain that is no longer usable — it’s remarkable that I am able to speak, sometimes articulately, and live my life completely normally with absolutely no repercussions,” she said.

“I am in the really, really, really small minority of people that can survive that,” the “Me Before You” star added.

‘I’m quite a resilient human being’:Emilia Clarke now calls the two brain hemorrhages she suffered ‘a good thing’

The actress also humorously shared that she’s seen a scan of her brain following the aneurysms. “There’s quite a bit missing, which always makes me laugh,” she said. “Because strokes, basically, as soon as any part of your brain doesn’t get blood for a second, it’s gone. And so the blood finds a different route to get around, but then whatever bit it’s missing is therefore gone. 

Clarke first opened up about her health in a New Yorker op-ed published in March 2019.

The “Game of Thrones” actress revealed she suffered her first brain aneurysm in 2011 at 24 years old. While at the gym, she had to pause her workout due to unbearable pain and made her way to the bathroom where she became sick.

“The pain — shooting, stabbing, constricting pain — was getting worse. At some level, I knew what was happening: my brain was damaged,” she wrote, adding that she started to recall “Game of Thrones” lines to keep her brain sharp.

A fellow gymgoer noticed Clarke in the bathroom and called an ambulance for the actress.

After an MRI of her brain, she was diagnosed with a “subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), a life-threatening type of stroke, caused by bleeding into the space surrounding the brain. I’d had an aneurysm, an arterial rupture.”

“As I later learned, about a third of SAH patients die immediately or soon thereafter. For the patients who do survive, urgent treatment is required to seal off the aneurysm,” Clarke said.

Emilia Clarke opened up about surviving two brain aneurysms while filming "Game of Thrones."


At the hospital, she underwent “minimally invasive” brain surgery. “This would not be my last surgery, and it would not be the worst,” the actress said.

In 2013, Clarke once again had surgery after “growth on the other side of my brain had doubled in size.”

Contributing: Edward Segarra