During an interview for Glamour's Women of the Year 2023 issue, where Shields served as one of the magazine's cover stars, the model-actress revealed she suffered a grand mal seizure that resulted in her being rushed to the hospital via ambulance.
Shields had been preparing for her one-woman show, Previously Owned by Brooke Shields, at The Carlyle in New York City when she collapsed and started "frothing at the mouth."
"I was drinking so much water, and I didn't know I was low in sodium. I was waiting for an Uber," the Pretty Baby star recalled.
She continued, "I get down to the bottom of the steps, and I start evidently looking weird, and [the people I was with] were like, 'Are you OK?'"
Shields managed to make her way to nearby Italian restaurant, L'Artusi, before her surroundings suddenly went dark.
"I go in, two women come up to me; I don't know them. Everything starts to go black. Then my hands drop to my side and I go headfirst into the wall," Shields, 58, recalled.
"I start having a grand mal seizure. It means frothing at the mouth, totally blue, trying to swallow my tongue," she continued. "The next thing I remember, I'm being loaded into an ambulance. I have oxygen on."
While the incident caught the attention of the many passersby in the area, it was fellow actor Bradley Cooper who came to Shields' side during the seizure.
According to Shields, the sommelier at L'Artusi had attempted to call her husband, Chris Henchy, but reached an assistant who got another assistant to contact Cooper because he was nearby.
The Maestro actor not only stepped in to help Shields, he was there holding her hand during the ride to the hospital. While Cooper coming to Shield's aide seems random, it wasn't totally. The pair actually both appeared in the 2008 horror film The Midnight Meat Train, and have been photographed spending time together in the years since.
"I didn't have a sense of humor. I couldn't really get any words out. But I thought to myself, This is what death must be like. You wake up and Bradley Cooper's going, 'I'm going to go to the hospital with you, Brooke,' and he's holding my hand," Shields quipped. "And I'm looking at my hand, I'm looking at Bradley Cooper's hand in my hand, and I'm like, 'This is odd and surreal.'"
She continued, "And then it was like, I walked in with Jesus," adding that physicians first thought her "brain was seizing."
Shields, who ended up in the intensive care unit, said a doctor told her that her seizure was due to low sodium after drinking too much water for an extended period of time.
"I flooded my system, and I drowned myself," she explained, "and if you don't have enough sodium in your blood or urine or your body, you can have a seizure."
Doctors initially thought Shields was cutting back on sodium for superficial reasons, an accusation the former model vehemently fought back on.
"I said, 'You know what? I've had it with male doctors. I know you're all smart -- smarter than I am in what you do. But let me just tell you something: I look younger when I'm bloated. If I'm bloated, people think I've had Botox,' so as a 58-year-old woman, I'm not limiting my salt, okay? Stop trying to make me a crazy actress or a female that doesn't know what the f--k they're doing," Shields said, before sharing that she loaded up on water after feeling dehydrated in rehearsals for her show.
"I was drinking too much water because I felt dehydrated because I was singing more than I've ever sung in my life and doing a show and a podcast," she added.
The doctor's recommendation? "Eat potato chips every day."
Shields went on to make a full recovery despite suffering the terrifying seizures, and continued with her series of shows at the NYC hotel.
Shields also told Glamour the she has a new outlook on her body after years of of "not feeling skinny enough."
"I love food and I love alcohol and I love life and I want to be healthy for my heart," she said simply. "I don't like going to the gym. I like Pilates. That's where I am. And I am tired of not feeling skinny enough. It’s boring and it's a waste of my time.