HOLLYWOOD powerhouse Sharon Stone has told how she nearly didn’t make it as an actress as she came close to death TWICE as a youngster.
The Golden Globe winner has been struck by lightning and suffered a freak accident aged 14 when she was throttled by a washing line.
Incredibly, Sharon, 62 — whose leg-uncrossing scene in 1992 thriller Basic Instinct is one of the most iconic ever — almost died a third time when she suffered a stroke in 2001.
The actress, who grew up on a smallholding in the US state of Pennsylvania, said: “I’ve had a lot of things, it’s crazy.
“I had my neck cut to a sixteenth of an inch from my jugular vein when I was 14 on a clothesline.
“I’ve been hit by lightning and, wow, that was really intense.
“I was at home, we had our own well. I was filling up the iron with water and I had my hand on the tap.
“The well got hit by lightning and it came up through the water.
“I was indoors and I got picked up and thrown across the kitchen and hit the refrigerator.
“Thankfully my mum belted me round the face and brought me to.
“It’s like, ‘How am I going to die next time?’ Probably something super dramatic and nuts.”
Thankfully for big-screen fans, Sharon is still here to tell the tales — and she has branched out into TV with Netflix series Ratched, a prequel to 1962 novel One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, out next month.
Sharon says she is “tremendously lucky” to be alive after suffering a massive stroke and haemorrhage for nine days. She was given a one per cent chance of surviving.
She has said: “I felt like I had been shot in the head. I remember laying there thinking, ‘I’m having a stroke’.”
She was rushed to hospital and spent the next week in and out of a coma as doctors tried to diagnose her.
Sharon was married to her second husband, American journalist Phil Bronstein, at the time and they had an adopted son Roan, now 20.
She had to undergo a seven-hour surgery in which 22 platinum coils were inserted into her brain to stabilise the artery and stop the bleed.
The surgeons saved her life, but she had to have years of gruelling therapy.
She said: “My speech, my hearing, walking . . . everything. My whole life was wiped out.
“I thought I was dying for a long time, even after I came home.”
It took seven years to recover, in which time Sharon’s career was left hanging in the balance and she endured a divorce and child custody battle.
She said: “I had to re-mortgage my house. I lost everything I had. From trying to keep custody of my son to just functioning — to be able to work at all.
“I lost my place in the business. I was forgotten.”
Her extraordinary comeback marks three decades since her breakthrough role as Lori Quaid in 1990 action sci-fi, Total Recall, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
At 31 she was relatively old to be finding fame in Hollywood.
But it led to her most famous film Basic Instinct, playing psychologist Catherine Trammell alongside Michael Douglas as a police detective investigating a rock star’s murder.
Sharon must have left a lasting impression as Michael is an executive producer on Ratched.
Acting wasn’t an obvious choice for the country girl from Meadville, which had a population of less than 14,000.
Sharon was the second eldest of four children. Her mum Dorothy was a secretary and her dad Joseph worked triple shifts in a factory to keep them afloat.
Sharon said: “Coming from my small town, becoming an actress was something akin to, ‘I want to be an astronaut’.”
She enrolled in college but left before graduating so she could “go to New York” to pursue her dreams of becoming a model and actress.
It was a steep learning curve. On her debut movie, Irreconcilable Differences, in 1984, she had her first nude scene and the film set lacked the intimacy coaches we have today.
She said: “I was terrified. They didn’t even clear the set. Like a million people on set.
“I take my top off and this actor screams, ‘Would you get out of the f***ing way? I can’t even see her tits’.”
She says being in her thirties, having a sense of humour and the support of lifelong friends were key to her surviving the intensity of overnight fame.
On the Films To Be Buried With podcast, she added: “I was already 32, thank God, or I probably would be dead.”
Away from the camera, Sharon has worked tirelessly for 22 years as an Aids activist, raising awareness of the disease in the hope of finding a cure.
The Foundation For Aids Research this year honoured her with the Legacy Award.
It is only since the pandemic that Sharon has been able to put work and campaigning on the back-burner.
She has been in lockdown with her sons Roan, Laird, 15, and 14-year-old Quinn, whom she adopted, at the chateau-inspired West Hollywood home she bought 27 years ago, following the success of Basic Instinct.
She has enjoyed spending more time with her boys and cooking their favourite meals.
She said: “I’m a big deal in my kitchen right now. My kids are rating my dinners one through ten.
“The youngest are like twins and they do everything together . . . they sit at the table and do school together and they play computer games all day. So unless I’m putting food in front of them they couldn’t care less if I’m around.”
Sharon has also rediscovered her love of painting portraits and peonies and taken to home workouts.
Despite being one of the sexiest women in the world, Sharon is single.
Though she says she is “still meeting and talking to people” online.
She made headlines last year when she complained to dating app Bumble that she had been blocked because other users thought her account to be fake.
Showing some of that must-have humour, she tweeted: “Hey Bumble, is being me exclusionary? Don’t shut me out of the hive.”
With years of acting experience under her belt, including a Golden Globe award and Oscar nomination for her role as dancer Ginger McKenna in 1996’s mob movie Casino, Sharon admitted she struggled with the erratic way TV series such as Ratched are shot.
In the dark drama she plays heiress Lenore Osgood, the mother of one of Nurse Ratched’s asylum patients.
It stars Sarah Paulson in the title role, Jon Jon Briones as Dr Richard Hanover as well as Sex And The City’s Cynthia Nixon and Hotel Rwanda’s Sophie Okonedo.
Sharon said: “It was really interesting because I wasn’t used to doing television where you go in and you’re doing episode one with one director and episode six, three days later, with a different director and then you’re doing episode three with a different director.
“I just didn’t know how to do all the different directors and all the different things.”
Sharon, a Buddhist, added: “Sarah Paulson looked at me and said, ‘What’s wrong?’ And I said, ‘I’m losing my mind! I don’t know how to do this’.
“She just said, ‘You know, I just stay in the day that I’m in’. And that’s such a Buddhist sensibility that I was like, ‘Oh yeah, right’.”
Hinting at the storyline, she said: “I have a little bit of an upset with Doctor Hanover and I try to work it out with Nurse Ratched in our special, special way that we do things.”
Sharon looked to Hollywood’s Golden Age to inspire her for the TV series, set in the 1940s. She explained: “There were great performances by actresses like Barbara Stanwyck in that period that were interesting to me.”
After all that she has been through, Sharon is still defying the march of time.
Last month she shared a selfie and snaps of herself by the swimming pool on Instagram and you would think she is two decades younger. And she insists it is all mother nature’s work.
Sharon said: “I can’t tell you how many doctors try to sell me a facelift.
“Yes, I have come close but, frankly, I think that in the art of ageing well there’s this sexuality to having those imperfections. It’s sensual.”
And when you have come close to death as many times as Sharon, you would be bonkers to go under the knife for vanity.
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