Kristin Chenoweth is using her own near fatal experience to try and help others.
Chenoweth was struck by lighting equipment on the set of the CBS drama “The Good Wife” in 2012, resulting in severe injuries including a cracked rib, a skull fracture, a broken nose and teeth, and nerve, tissue and muscle damage. She left her recurring role on the show after the accident.
While Chenoweth had shared some hospital updates at the time of the accident, she discusses her road to recovery in more detail in her new book, “I’m No Philosopher, But I Got Thoughts.” Speaking to Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb Jan. 17 on TODAY, Chenoweth said the experience of writing about the accident was liberating.
“It was scary at first, and also very freeing because I haven’t really written it down. When you write something, it makes it so. It really does solidify it,” she said.
In her book, the Tony and Emmy Award-winning actor, 54, writes about about waking up in the hospital, explaining that her hair extensions had helped save her life.
“(The lighting equipment) hit me full frontal and slammed me to the pavement,” she writes. “My head cracked against the curb, leaving a seven-inch gash that would have been worse, the doctor told me, if not for the tightly woven hair extensions that held my scalp together. That’s right. I owed what was left of my concussed brain to a well-placed line of hair extensions. Never — never — underestimate the power of a good weave.”
Causing more than physical injuries, Chenoweth said the accident led her down a road of self doubt and anxiety. In the book, she shared a “dark moment” from her diary, written after the injury.
“‘I hate everyone. Mostly me. I am my only friend. Everyone is paid or scattered. This business is killing me, yet I’ve given up everything for it. I don’t even know how to do anything else. If I could, and be happy, I would. God, hear me. Please. I might be done. Where. Do. I. Go,'” Chenoweth wrote in the diary excerpt, included in her memoir.
Chenoweth said the mental health issues continued.
“That moment changed everything. It changed me. I struggled through a long, dark valley of depression, but in the months and years that followed, something in my addled brain began to stir,” she writes.
Breaking her silence about the accident has helped Chenoweth. Now, Chenoweth hopes her experience inspires others who feel it’s not in their best interest to speak out.
“It was suggested to me that I should never take action because I might not work again in the business,” she told TODAY. “And out of fear, out of fear and anxiety, I didn’t. And I just want to say to anyone out there who ever struggles with anything like this, don’t let fear rule your life. And by me sharing that story, I hope that encourages others to not do that.”