Following the birth of their son, Jimmy Kimmel and his wife, Molly McNearney, decided they "didn't want to get too close" to him after he was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition.
During the firs two months of his life, the couple's second child, Billy, underwent emergency open-heart surgery when he was only three days old, which was followed by a second operation last December.
During the opening monologue of his talk show, he tearfully said that his son's “pulmonary valve was completely blocked and he has a hole in the wall between the left and right sides of his heart” when he was born.
Last month, Kimmel, 50, made an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres show, where he discussed the complications of caring for a sick child. It was there Ellen DeGeneres surprised her friend by getting a hospital room - where Billy was cared for - named after him.
“You’re such a great guy, and that was so emotional to see you go through that,” DeGeneres said. “We called our friends at Children’s Hospital LA, including Billy’s surgeon. We have named one of the rooms of the Heart Institute floor in honor of Billy.”
In an interview for O Magazine, the father-of-four candidly spoke about his 11-month-old son's illness and the brief detachment he and his wife experienced with Billy. Unbeknownst to the couple, they had both been feeling the same heart-wrenching emotions.
“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 told Oprah Winfrey.
“I don’t know if that’s right or wrong or common or uncommon. 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,’” he added.
Following the success for Billy's two heart surgeries, Kimmel said his son is "doing great" and on the road to recovery.
“He’s great,” Kimmel said of his son. “He’ll have another surgery when he’s around 6 or 7 years old, but in the meantime, he’s doing great.”
Do you think it's understandable that Kimmel and his wife felt a need to detach themselves from their son?