Kathy Griffin revealed that she is battling stage one lung cancer yesterday (August 2) on Twitter, even though she says she has never smoked.
“I’ve got to tell you guys something. I have cancer. I’m about to go into surgery to have half of my left lung removed,” the 60-year-old wrote. “Yes, I have lung cancer even though I’ve never smoked! The doctors are very optimistic as it is stage one and contained to my left lung.”
The comedian told ABC News that she struggled with pain killers Oxycontin and Vicodin following backlash for her controversial photo shoot back in 2017 where she was holding a bloodied decapitated head of former president Donald Trump.
Griffin followed that off with her “Laugh Your Head Off” tour that same year, noting that was when she was introduced to pills, which ultimately lead her to a suicide attempt.
“I thought, ‘Well, I don’t even drink… Big deal, I take a couple pills now and again, who doesn’t?’” she told ABC News. “Also, my age was a big part of it. I mean, who bottoms out and tries to take their life at 59? It’s almost a joke, right, and by the way, someday, this will all be comedy. Trust me… I was laughing to stay alive. And what I found is I felt like if I can’t make others laugh, then there’s no purpose for me to live. There’s no reason for me to live.”
The star said that her dependence on pills “got out of control very rapidly,” leading her to thoughts of suicide due to the immense backlash from the Trump photo. She began to feel that her critics were right and there was no next chapter in her career or life.
“I just felt there was impending doom,” she said. “I was already starting to think … it was time for me to go. And I was certainly being told by an awful lot of people it’s time for me to go.”
Griffin said that not only did she receive death threats, but that her loved ones were targeted at their homes as well. “I mean, folks showed up to my husband’s parents’ house,” she told the outlet. “They tracked my sister down when she was dying of cancer in the hospital and called her … I picked up the call and heard it myself because I happened to be visiting her.”
Suicidal thoughts became an obsession as the former Fashion Police star’s addiction grew. She went as far as getting a living revocable trust in order and wrote a full suicide note. After an attempt to take her own life, Griffin got serious about recovery by checking into a hospital on a psychiatric hold and was released soon after to work with two clinicians who helped get her clean.
“Here’s the silver lining,” she said of her newfound sobriety. “I am so thrilled and grateful. I feel like, at 60, I’m gonna get a next chapter. That’s the thing everyone said wasn’t gonna happen. I believed [it] wasn’t gonna happen.”
Griffin has not yet updated her fans about how her lung surgery went.