On Jimmy Kimmel Live last May, the late-night host revealed that his son, Billy, who was less than a month old at the time, had to undergo open-heart surgery. While tearfully talking about what his family was facing, Kimmel became very vocal about what he thought of America's current healthcare system.
In the April issue of O magazine, which is currently on newsstands, Oprah Winfrey asks Kimmel if it was "scary" to share so much of his personal life and points of view with his viewers.
"I don’t know if it was scary, but it was uncomfortable, and it’s not something I looked forward to," he admits. "I definitely felt a sense of relief when it was over."
Kimmel notes that his candidness did have a downfall. "According to polls I’ve seen, it has cost me commercially. That’s not ideal, but I wouldn’t change anything I said."
During several of his monologues thereafter, the 50-year-old TV personality has urged JKL viewers to contact their congressional representatives about renewing CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Plan, which provides healthcare coverage to children whose families don't qualify for Medicaid and don't receive other benefits.
"I know my job is, for the most part, to entertain people and make them laugh. That said, if I can be selfish every once in a while and talk about something serious that’s important to me, then I do want to take that opportunity," Kimmel tells Winfrey. "But I don’t want to abuse my position. I pick my battles. Ninety percent of the time, I’ll joke around, but some of the jokes, I hope, make people think."
Oscars Host Jimmy Kimmel Explains How Son Billy's Health Struggles Shifted His Perspective (Exclusive)
In an exclusive interview with ET's Kevin Frazier ahead of hosting the Oscars earlier this month, Kimmel spoke further about how his son's heart condition has shifted his perspective on life.
"It makes me more thankful in general for sure," he said. "To be honest, it minimizes the importance of something like [the Oscars], which last year to me seemed to be the more important thing in the world. And then you just get the reminder that this isn't even close to the most important thing in the world, and you're reminded of that every day when you go home, so in a way, yes, it's definitely made me appreciate my life, but it also puts things in perspective."