But as Inside Edition's Stephen Fabian was interviewing her distraught partner, they were interrupted by a call, supposedly from Cedars-Sinai, with the jaw-dropping news.
"Now you're telling me that she's alive?" he exclaims on film. "Oh thank the Lord, thank God!"
"The hospital's telling me she's alive... they're calling me from the ICU," he said, breaking down into tears. "I'm sorry..."
As reported by TMZ, Roberts' publicist Mike Pingel claimed on Sunday the "That 70s Show" actress died after collapsing while walking her dog near her home on Christmas Eve; he said her partner was the one who confirmed the news to him.
She had been rushed to the hospital and placed on a ventilator; she did not have Covid, O'Brien said, but was having difficulty breathing.
In his statement, O'Brien said that because of Covid-19 restrictions, he had been unable to see his wife for nine days in hospital.
"They would not let me visit her, but made a special exemption for me to say my last goodbye," he said. "As I held her in her last moments, she opened her eyes. I was able to see her beautiful eyes one last time."
TooFab has reached out to Cedars-Sinai for comment.