As for revealing his son's health scare on the air, Kimmel isn't so sure he would do that again. "What I didn’t think through was that, everywhere I went, every day of my life, people would be asking me how my son is doing," he confides. "But thank God I can say he’s doing well. If that wasn’t the case, each day would be very, very painful."
While he may have handled things differently, Kimmel notes that he did feel like he owed his audience an explanation for his absence. "I also felt like I had to say something, because I’d been talking about the fact that my wife [Molly McNearney, the co-head writer of Jimmy Kimmel Live!] was pregnant for six months," he says. "I left for paternity leave and then I didn’t come back. That was something I had to address."
In an exclusive interview with ET's Kevin Frazier ahead of hosting JKL in Brooklyn, New York, this week, Kimmel spoke further about the response he received from his fans after talking publicly about his son's health issues.
"People were so nice and people are still nice," he said. "They come up to me and ask me how Billy is and, you know, it's really nice to get that from people. I think it's the result of just being on television for so many years. You feel like you know somebody and people say they're praying. It means a lot."
As for how Billy is doing, Kimmel added, "He's a fat little baby and he's getting big."
ET also caught up with Kimmel and McNearney at the 2017 Emmy Awards last month, and the TV host again gushed over Billy. "He's doing great," he said. "He's smiling. He's doing all the things that babies do, most of them disgusting."