Less than a week before Brooke Shields opened her one-woman show at Carlyle Café in New York City, she suffered a “full-blown grand mal seizure.”
“Nobody knows about it,” Shields told Glamour editor in chief Samantha Barry over lunch following the show’s debut in mid September. “I was preparing for the show, and I was drinking so much water, and I didn’t know I was low in sodium. I was waiting for an Uber. I get down to the bottom of the steps, and I start evidently looking weird, and [the people I was with] were like, ‘Are you okay?’”
After turning down coffee and confirming that she was “great,” the 58-year-old actor says she found herself walking around outside for “no reason at all,” wondering, “Why am I out here?” She continued, “Then I walk into the restaurant L’Artusi, and I go to the sommelier who had just taken an hour to watch my run-through.”
That’s when everything went black. “Then my hands drop to my side and I go headfirst into the wall,” Shields says, adding that she was “frothing at the mouth, totally blue, trying to swallow my tongue.”
When she came to, the story took another turn for the bizarre. “The next thing I remember, I’m being loaded into an ambulance. I have oxygen on,” Shields told Glamour. “And Bradley fucking Cooper is sitting next to me holding my hand.”
It was not a hallucination. Apparently, Cooper was near the restaurant when everything went down. So, when the sommelier at L’Artusi struggled to get in contact with Shields’s husband Chris Henchy, an assistant called an assistant until someone reached the nine-time Oscar-nominated actor and director. Wild.
“I thought to myself, This is what death must be like. You wake up and Bradley Cooper’s going, ‘I’m going to go to the hospital with you, Brooke,’ and he’s holding my hand,” Shields recalls. “And I’m looking at my hand, I’m looking at Bradley Cooper’s hand in my hand, and I’m like, ‘This is odd and surreal.’”
It turned out that she was dangerously low in sodium while preparing for her show by drinking a ton of water. “I flooded my system, and I drowned myself. And if you don’t have enough sodium in your blood or urine or your body, you can have a seizure,” she says. Her doctor’s prescription: “Eat potato chips every day.”