Ashton Kutcher is opening up in detail about his health scare in late 2019 when he suddenly lost the ability to walk, hear or see.
On the premiere episode of Paramount+‘s new health series, “The Checkup With Dr. David Agus”, Kutcher disclosed his “terrifying, life-threatening” medical challenge — as Dr. Agus, who is also his physician, described it — revealing that he was suffering from vasculitis, a serious and rare autoimmune disease that attacks and inflames the blood vessels.
“I woke up one day and was having vision issues, could hardly see. Knocked out my hearing, which threw off my equilibrium, my balance and I couldn’t walk. I had vasculitis that you’re very well aware of,” Kutcher shared during the conversation.
The condition causes the walls to thicken, which prompts blood flow to be restricted, leading to potential complications such as blood clots and organ damage. If the blood vessels are impacted in the ears, it can lead to hearing loss. Vision loss happens when blood is restricted from reaching the eyes. According to Dr. Agus, vasculitis can happen to any healthy human being with short- or long-term effects.
“There’s a standard you become accustomed to in your life, like being able to see clearly,” Kutcher detailed. “And then suddenly you can’t see, like you have this occlusion and you can’t see. And then, like, ‘Why are you not f**king talking louder because I can’t hear you?’ You want to reclaim the health that you once had.”
Kutcher had briefly discussed his battle with vasculitis in an August episode of “Running Wild With Bear Grylls”, where he told the survivalist he was “lucky to be alive.”
During the sit-down with Dr. Agus, the 44-year-old actor went in-depth on what drove him to begin the long journey back to regain his mobility and reclaim his past abilities, or at least get close to his prior self.
“Part of it is this mental thing I have around achieving a full comeback from waking up at the hospital. I was unable to walk and I was like, wait a second, if I can go from not being able to walk to running a marathon in a three-year span, then I can let that be a part of the past and be like, ‘I’m back. I’m good,’” Kutcher said with a smile, referring to his recent New York City marathon runin November.
The actor, who later continued the interview with his twin brother, Michael, who has cerebral palsy, shared that going through his health challenges “gave [him] an appreciation for life that is, in some ways, an unfair advantage at life, where you go, ‘Oh wow, this is my brother. He’s my twin. We’re ‘the same,’ and you go, ‘You can die when you’re 12, right, 13?’”
“When you have this face to face with death at that age, you instantly lock into, ‘Let me do as much as I can while I can ’cause I don’t know when it’s going to be over. Given the fact that you have this opportunity to be alive today, what are you doing today?” Kutcher noted, adding that it has prompted a change in life priorities. “The values of where I’m spending my time, which tends to be with my kids. Probably the biggest shift that took place.”
According to Kutcher, he’s “close to normal” with his eyesight and hearing years after his vasculitis diagnosis and started the interview saying he felt “amazing,” which Dr. Agus commented was “impressive” and alluded to tremendous strides the actor made in his journey back to health. “I will say your wife was amazing,” Dr. Agus credited. “Just curled up there by your side. It was a beautiful thing to watch.”
Kutcher agreed, praising Mila Kunis for her support, repeatedly saying, “She’s the best.”
ET’s Kevin Frazier sat down with Dr. Agus on Friday, who shared his thoughts on Kutcher’s inspiring recovery.
“It was life-threatening. I mean, literally it was life-threatening,” Dr. Agus told ET, sharing that Kutcher’s condition got so bad that one day Kunis called him saying, “Ashton is just… he’s not saying things that make sense.” “So going from a life-threatening illness with aggressive treatment, he pulled out of and now he’s back to his entirely normal self and it really is amazing to watch. He didn’t want to hide it and he wanted to be an inspiration for others and that’s just who he is.”
The physician acknowledged that Kutcher, and the other celebrity guests featured on The Checkup such as Nick Cannon and Amy Schumer, are taking calculated risks by disclosing serious health battles they endured.
“Every time you reveal something about yourself there’s that potential that people can take advantage of it or that it can limit your job,” Dr. Agus said, sharing that Kutcher is completely cured from vasculitis “at the present time.”
“They’re stepping up realizing that even though they’re going to make their future self somewhat more vulnerable and there’s a risk to it, it’s worth it to educate and get that information out there,” he said. “That being said, all the stories that we talked about we had a conclusion to and I think that’s important is that all of them have been able to manage what is going on into living a normal life. That’s what’s so inspirational and that’s the hope that we can convey to other people.”
The first three episodes of “The Checkup With Dr. David Agus” drop Tuesday, Dec. 6 on Paramount+ with the final three episodes premiering Monday, Dec. 12.
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