'We didn't want to get too close': Jimmy Kimmel opens up about reaction to newborn's heart condition

Natasha Sporn
Support: Jimmy Kimmel and his wife Molly McNearney: Rich Fury/Getty Images for Jimmy Kimmel

Jimmy Kimmel has opened up about his son William’s heart surgeries, revealing he and his wife “didn’t want to get too close” after he was born.

Kimmel and wife Molly McNearney welcomed a son, affectionately known as Billy, in April 2017. The newborn underwent open heart surgery at just three days old after being born with a congenital heart condition.

Opening up in an interview with Oprah Winfrey for April’s O, The Oprah Magazine edition Kimmel recalled: “There were secrets we kept from each other that we revealed only after the second surgery.

“The biggest one was that, I think subconsciously, we didn’t want to get too close to the baby because we didn’t know what was going to happen.”

Kimmel, 50, continued: “I don’t know if that’s right or wrong or common or uncommon. But when I told her I was feeling that way, she said ‘Oh I’m so happy you said that because I was feeling that way too and I didn’t want to express it’.”

Kimmel - who also has three-year-old Jane with McNearney and two children from a previous relationship – first spoke of Billy’s health during a tearful monologue on his talk show back in May 2017.

The US host appeared choked as he told viewers about his son’s surgery in Los Angeles, with his voice cracking as he carried on speaking.

It was then discovered that the baby had tetralogy of Fallot with pulmonary atresia. Explaining the condition, Kimmel said: “Basically, the pulmonary valve was completely blocked and he has a hole in the wall between the left and right sides of his heart.”

He added that Billy will have a third procedure sometime in his early teens, before sharing snaps of the then-newborn.