Inside Emilia Clarke’s health battles as Game of Thrones actress is made MBE after founding a brain injury recovery charity after suffering two aneurysms

Game Of Thrones star Emilia Clarke shocked fans when she revealed how she thought she was going to die after suffering a bleed on the brain.

The actress, 37, suffered two brain aneurysms following her debut on the HBO drama in 2011.

Since then, Emilia has founded the charity SameYou, in order to help those recovering from brain injuries and strokes.

She has also been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her brain injury charity work.

Here’s everything else to know about Emilia’s health battle and how she’s doing today.

Game Of Thrones star Emilia Clarke shocked fans when she revealed how she thought she was going to die after suffering a bleed on the brain

Her second bleed in 2013 needed surgery after scans showed it had doubled in size, and Emilia has told how she was in the 'minority' who have survived and been left with 'no repercussions'

Her second bleed in 2013 needed surgery after scans showed it had doubled in size, and Emilia has told how she was in the ‘minority’ who have survived and been left with ‘no repercussions’

Emilia diagnosed with a brain aneurysm

Emilia first had a bleed on her brain in 2011, just after the first series of Game Of Thrones had finished filming, and she lost her ability to speak as she almost slipped into a coma.

Her second bleed in 2013 needed surgery after scans showed it had doubled in size, and Emilia has previously told how she was in the ‘really small minority’ of people who have survived and been left with ‘no repercussions’.

WHAT IS A BRAIN ANEURYSM?

A brain aneurysm is a bulge or ballooning blood vessel. 

This can leak, causing bleeding in the brain, which can be life threatening.

Symptoms of a ruptured aneurysm include:

  • Sudden, severe headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stiff neck
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Seizure
  • Drooping eyelid
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness

An unruptured aneurysm may not have any symptoms and could not require treatment.

The causes of brain aneurysms are often unclear.

Risk factors include high blood pressure, smoking, heavy drinking and old age.

Treatment may include surgery or medication to restore blood flow and relieve pain.

Source: Mayo Clinic 

She suffered the subarachnoid haemorrhage after an aneurysm – a weak area in a blood vessel – on the surface of her brain burst.

They are most common in people aged between 45 and 70 and can leave patients with extreme tiredness, problems sleeping, headaches, vision disturbances and loss of movement, but Emilia previously said she has been left unaffected,

The experience prompted Emilia and her mother Jennifer to set up charity SameYou to raise funds and help increase neuro-rehabilitation access after brain injury and stroke.

Treatment

Emilia has discussed having surgery to restore blood flow, as well as medication to relieve the pain. 

Her life-saving treatment has left her with titanium in place of sections of her skull and scarring.

How is Emilia doing now?  

Emilia has spoken openly about surviving two brain aneurysms and previously admitted that she was ‘more afraid of being fired than dying’.

Last month, she told Harper’s Bazaar : ‘I wasn’t afraid of dying. I was afraid of being fired! I decided: ”This is not something that’s going to define me”. I never gave into any feeling of ‘Why me? This sucks’. I was just like – gotta get back on it.

‘If I’m being brutally honest, the whole thing made me feel very ashamed. Like I was broken. As though the producers must think I’m an unreliable person that they’ve hired.

‘If I hadn’t had a brain haemorrhage, I might have turned into a right old d**khead, thinking I was the bee’s knees, living in Hollywood. I’m so much more aware of what’s happening, in the moment that it’s happening.

‘I don’t worry about failure – I thrive on failure! If something goes wrong, I always think you can fix it. It hurts, it’s scary, but then you can do anything.’

In July 2022, Emilia explained how she should not be able to speak after two aneurysms left sections of her brain ‘no longer usable’.

She told Sophie Raworth on BBC1’s Sunday Morning: ‘You gain a lot of perspective. The amount of my brain that is no longer usable… There’s quite a bit missing which always makes me laugh.’

Emilia has spoken openly about surviving two brain aneurysms and previously admitted that she was 'more afraid of being fired than dying' (pictured in Game Of Thrones in 2011)

Emilia has spoken openly about surviving two brain aneurysms and previously admitted that she was ‘more afraid of being fired than dying’ (pictured in Game Of Thrones in 2011)

Emilia has founded the charity SameYou, in order to help those recovering from brain injuries and strokes

Emilia has founded the charity SameYou, in order to help those recovering from brain injuries and strokes

Emilia has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) alongside her mother Jenny for their brain injury charity work

Emilia has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) alongside her mother Jenny for their brain injury charity work

MBE and charity work

Emilia has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) alongside her mother Jenny for their brain injury charity work.

The actress and her mother Jenny decided to set up brain injury recovery charity SameYou after Emilia survived two brain haemorrhages.

Emilia and her mother Jenny have now been recognised for their charity work as they were made MBEs as part of the New Years Honours .

Emilia said it was ‘life-enhancing and magical’ to see her mother, who has also had surgery to remove a brain aneurysm, recognised for her charity work alongside her.

She said: ‘It’s such an incredible honour, such an incredible privilege, and the most important thing for us is that it’s for everybody with brain injury.

‘To have this near-death experience and to have gone through the sort of the darkness of it all, and then come out of it, we’re so lucky.’ 

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