The Greatest Showman’s Keala Settle learnt to walk and talk again after suffering stroke

Keala Settle had to learn to walk, talk and sing again after suffering a mini stroke just days before she performed at the Oscars.

The Greatest Showman star appeared on Loose Women on Wednesday 19 January to talk about joining the West End cast of And Juliet and took the time to talk about her past health struggles.

The 46 year old revealed to the panellists that in 2018 she had a mini stroke just eight days before the Oscars, but “hadn’t really talked about it” at the time.

“It’s been a bit since then,” Keala said, “but when it happened I had probably about two to four months that I had to regain all of my talking, reading and writing and I think the last bit of that was singing. I didn’t know if I’d be able to sing again.”

Panellist, Jane Moore asked: “But you had this episode about eight days before you went on, how on earth did you manage to sing at the Oscars?”

The actress candidly admitted “I don’t know” as she reflected on having her gown fitted on the stroke ward just days before the awards ceremony.

“I was rushed to the first ER doctor and they said we thought you had this disease but you don’t,” she explained, “so well done you! Then they sort of released me out of the stroke ward, which was actually where I was fitted for my gown by the lovely designer Christian Siriano.

“They had to take off the monitors on my chest and everything and sort of fit me into these lovely gowns.”

Keala sought a second opinion and admitted that this neurologist “saved my life” as he diagnosed her with a cerebrovascular disorder.

“I had to go and get a second opinion just to double check,” she said, “and that doctor saved my life and said ‘yes you have a cerebrovascular disorder and I’m really excited to tell you we can actually manage it and we’d love to bring you in for surgery’.”

The star admitted she had to squeeze her surgery in between her Oscars performance and the press tour for The Greatest Showman.

Judi Love commended Keala on her “determination to perform” despite her health struggles at the Oscars and sing ‘This is Me’ from the award-winning film.

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