Sharon Stone has news about her 2001 stroke: Hollywood was "brutally unkind" as she tried to recover, the Guardian reports. Appearing at a Women's Brain Health Initiative in Los Angeles, she tells Variety that everyone from "women in my own business to the female judge who handled my custody case" (while divorcing ex-husband Phil Bronstein) appeared insensitive to the challenge of stroke recovery—which took "about seven years." The actor says she had to remortgage her house and lost her place "in the business. I was like the hottest movie star, you know?" Having served as the global campaign chair for The Foundation for AIDS Research for 15 years, Stone is now advocating for brain diseases that affect women more than men, like Alzheimer's.
"This is why I do it: My mother had a stroke," she says. "My grandmother had a stroke. I had a massive stroke—and a nine-day brain bleed." Stone rose to international stardom by playing a femme fatale in Basic Instinct (1992) and was praised for her turn in Martin Scorsese's Casino (1995), but received a Golden Rasberry nomination for Gloria (1999) and had her stroke two years later. In 2005, she was "rescued" when Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton head Bernard Arnault gave her a Dior contract. Her advice to others: "If you have a really bad headache, you need to go to the hospital." She was hospitalized on day three or four of her stroke and "had a 1% chance of living by the time I got surgery," but didn't even know she was at such risk. "No one told me—I read it in a magazine." (Read more stroke risk stories.)