The 54-year-old singer and actor joined the legal drama in 2012 as a recurring character, journalist Peggy Byrne. During filming, she was involved in an accident that “practically killed her”, she says. Shortly after, she announced her departure from the series due to her injuries.
Appearing on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, on Monday (16 January), Chenoweth was asked about the incident, which is detailed in her new book I’m No Philosopher, But I Got Thoughts, released today (17 January).
“Did you hear from anyone at CBS since sharing this in the book?” Cohen asked, to which Chenoweth shook her head in response.
“I was kind of amazed that you didn’t try to get some cash from them,” the host added.
“I didn’t do it out of fear and anxiety,” the Broadway star explained. “So, don’t ever let fear rule your life.”
Cohen responded in amazement, saying: “Wow... and you regret it?”
Chenoweth silently nodded her head, before sharing that she has “longstanding injuries from that”.
“I wished I had listened to my dad, who said, ‘You’re gonna wanna do this.’ And we’re not the suing family, but when you’re practically killed...,’” she said, trailing off.
Chenoweth then recounted the lighting equipment accident in greater detail.
“We were outside, on the corner, by the water [at] a 7-Eleven, because I was going to get a slurpy that day – it was free slurpy day – and I heard, like, a flagpole sound. I literally heard, ‘We’re losing the light.’ I heard, ‘Action.’ And I woke up at Bellevue [Hospital],” she said.
“[The lighting equipment] hit me in the face and it threw me into a curb. Seven-inch skull fracture, hairline [fracture], and teeth and ribs.”
She then recalled her doctor suggesting that her hair extensions may have “saved her life” by making “the hairline fracture go together”.
“So, anyone who wants to get hair extensions should, for your health,” Chenoweth quipped.
The Wicked star previously discussed the incident in a 2022 collection of essays, My Moment: 106 Women on Fighting for Themselves, writing that she didn’t pursue legal action for fear of it negatively affecting her career.
“I was advised by a couple of folks on my team and outside of my team too that it would be unwise to attempt to hold CBS accountable for what was clearly their responsibility,” Chenoweth wrote (via Marie Claire). “I was told that I’d never work again if I sued a major network. And that scared me.”
A statement from CBS at the time confirmed that “a gust of wind blew a lighting silk out of place” and that Chenoweth had received medical care.
“All of us at the studio and the show are thinking about Kristin and wishing her a quick recovery,” the studio said.
The Independent has contacted CBS for comment.
I’m No Philosopher, But I Got Thoughts is out now.