After Jimmy Kimmel revealed he & his wife, Molly’s, newborn son Billy had a heart condition, the couple were surprised to get ‘attacked.’ Read Molly’s emotional words.
Jimmy Kimmel, 50, and his wife Molly McNearney, 39, welcomed their second child, son William “Billy” Kimmel, on April 21 of this year. They soon learned though that little Billy was born with a congenital heart defect, and it completely flipped their world upside-down. The late-night host decided to open up about his son’s health trauma upon returning to his show days later. In a super emotional monologue, which can be viewed below, Jimmy not only told the scary story of his son’s early struggles, but also took the opportunity to support the Affordable Care Act, which was on the verge of congressional repeal. Finally speaking out herself about the whole ordeal, Molly wrote a piece for The Hollywood Reporter about why they decided to make Billy’s health issues public, and how the public’s reaction surprised them — in the best AND worst ways.
“At that point I thought what Jimmy had done was incredible, but I didn’t think it would make much of a difference. Of course, I couldn’t have been more wrong,” Molly wrote. “The positive response was and still is overwhelming. Jimmy and I can’t go anywhere without someone coming up and thanking him for that monologue. Now, people interrupting our dinner isn’t annoying to me anymore because I’m so thankful that they show their gratitude toward him and what he did.” However, not all of the responses have been kind. In fact, some have been downright cruel — even accusing the Kimmels of exploiting their child’s condition for political purposes.
“Then came the criticism. People attacking us for politicizing what happened to our baby, which to me is truly crazy,” Molly explained. “People were sending letters to our home, attacking both of us on Twitter, saying things like we deserve this and we’re terrible people. That’s been the ugliest part of all of this, and it’s been harder for me to deal with than the weekly cardiologist appointments and making sure my baby is breathing properly.” Click here to see adorable pics of celeb dads with their kids.
The hate actually caused Molly, who’s one of Jimmy Kimmel Live‘s head writers, to step away from Twitter for a while. She’s since returned. “Now that I’m back I just refuse to look at my replies, which makes me sad because a lot of it is mothers who have children with similar defects who are grateful for what we’re doing,” Molly said. “Nine out of 10 are positive, but that one nasty one will shake me.” For Molly and Jimmy, the attacks they received were unprecedented.
“We took a personal experience and we shared it with the world, and then it just so happened that this was going on while people were trying to take health care away from children like ours,” the mom-of-two said. “I just don’t understand. To me, children having access to health care, no matter what their parents’ income, should not be a divisive issue, but that’s where we are as a country right now.”
But although there have been scary moments and dark times, Molly doesn’t regret sharing their baby boy’s journey with the world. “I don’t necessarily like that everyone knows what’s going on with the health of my child,” she said. “And it’s scary to make yourself vulnerable the way we have, but the encouragement that we’re helping other people far outweighs my fears about our lack of privacy.”
And as for that beautiful monologue Jimmy gave the day he returned to work? Molly couldn’t be prouder of him for it! “I sobbed through the entire thing. I couldn’t believe the strength that it took to tell that story a week after it happened. He didn’t have to do that,” Molly said. “Our family has excellent health care; he had nothing to gain from that. He did it for the other people whom we met in that hospital. He came home that night, and I just hugged him and I wouldn’t let go.” Earlier this week, Billy underwent a scheduled second heart surgery, and he is doing very well!
Tell us, HollywoodLifers — are you surprised Molly and Jimmy received hate mail for opening up about their son? What did YOU think of Jimmy’s now-famous monologue?