Rebel Wilson says 2017 head injury changed outlook on life: 'I've learned to value my own health'

Actress Rebel Wilson opens up about scary concussion, motherhood and her fertility journey in a new interview
Actress Rebel Wilson opens up about scary concussion, motherhood and her fertility journey in a new interview. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)

Rebel Wilson says suffering a concussion five years ago made her prioritize her health.

"I didn't realize how prevalent it is, I was lucky," Wilson recalls to Yahoo Entertainment. "It happened when I was on a movie set and I went to the hospital and got treated properly... half of the people who think that they might have a concussion actually don't get any kind of medical assistance."

While filming Isn't It Romantic in 2017, the 42-year-old actress slipped and fell on a grass hill and lost consciousness.

"Your brain is so important and if you sprained your ankle, you're probably going rest it or seek some medical help, so why wouldn't you when you've had an injury to your brain?" she shares, adding: "The biggest regret I have is that I was kind of pressured to go back to work after I had a concussion."

Wilson says she returned to set to work "a full 16 hour day" despite having a terrible headache which lasted days.

"Knowing what I know now is I would've rested. That would've been the more appropriate thing. But at the time, I felt pressure... you can't see a broken brain. And with my concussion, they couldn't see it. I looked normal, I looked like myself. So they're like pressuring me to go back to work," Wilson continues.

Now, Wilson is partnering with Concussion Awareness Now, a program from Abbott and the Brain Injury Association of America, for a new PSA encouraging people to "seek medical treatment" if they hit their head and "to not feel embarrassed or silly."

Of experiencing a head injury, Wilson says "it was not fun, all you want to do is lie down in a dark place."

"I love my job and didn't wanna let anybody down, but from what I know is that I would've valued my own health more and rested," she declares.

Wilson's concussion played a part in launching her "year of health" in 2020.

"I'd never really thought about my own personal health. I don't know, when you are younger and you're just like carrying on and I was having a fun life and going around the world and eating whatever I wanted before then," she explains. "Turning 40, it was like, 'OK, now's the time to be a healthier version of myself.'"

Wilson concentrated on both "physical and mental health."

"Your brain is a big part of that. And I've just learned to value my own health more from going through that process," she adds.

Wilson says her priorities have "100 percent" shifted again as she recently welcomed daughter Royce Lillian. The actress and her partner, Ramona Agruma, announced the birth of a baby girl in November via surrogate.

"I'm realizing I can only like do jobs now if I really, really want to do them. I love what I do, but my daughter is now first priority and so I wanna just spend as much time with her as I can," the Pitch Perfect star says. "It's gonna be an interesting balance, but I'm learning just how hard it is, how awesome and rewarding obviously."

Wilson notes she's "lucky" as she has help around her: "I'm in a privileged situation."

"My baby just turned one month, it's all so new to me and I'm just amazed and overjoyed and I think she's a little miracle," Wilson adds.

The actress was privately dealing with an "emotional" fertility journey while filming her new movie The Almond and the Seahorse. In the film, Wilson's husband suffers a traumatic brain injury and their love is trapped in the past.

"My character Sarah in the movie really wants to have a child, and that really echoed with me, because at the time, I was going through [egg retrieval] and then at the end of shooting... I found out that it wasn't successful in turning in any of those eggs into embryos," Wilson recalls, calling the news "a real gut punch."

"The prep and the shots and everything... it really messes with your hormones," she says of the IVF process. "I would get a bit depressed afterwards because of all the hormones leaving your body that you've been pumped up on."

Wilson adds, "You get so excited that maybe the cells are growing, and then they're not and it's just really crushing. My story ended up happily and I have an amazing healthy daughter now, but I know that doesn't happen for everybody and the struggles of it. I had to do five egg [retrieval] procedures to get my daughter," Wilson adds.

The actress channeled her emotions into the dramatic role, which is one fans aren't used to seeing her play.

"I started my career as a dramatic actress and I know people know me internationally as a comedic actress," she says. "Now that in my 40s I'm kind of showing more versatility and can show people these other sides of me. The Almond and the Seahorse is really raw, emotional, gutsy acting and it was really great to try to flex that muscle. It was a bit rusty, that acting muscle, but I was really glad I got to start flexing it again."

The Almond and the Seahorse hits theaters on Friday, Dec. 16.

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