Stephanie March is getting candid about an extremely difficult time in her life.
The 41-year-old actress opens up about the serious health problems she faced when she got breast implants in 2014 in a new essay for Refinery 29, as well as how her personal life was spiraling out of control at the same time.
March admits that in hindsight, getting plastic surgery was the wrong decision for her from the very start. March says her life was "disintegrating" at the time, so she decided to change her body, because she couldn’t change her life. Although the former Law & Order: SVU cast member doesn't mention her ex-husband -- celeb chef Bobby Flay -- by name, she does give some insight into their difficult 2015 split.
"Couldn't get a job I wanted on camera, couldn't get attention for my production projects, couldn't travel the world far enough or fast enough or immerse myself in philanthropy enough to make it all go away," she shares. " ... See, the other thing that was happening was that my marriage of nearly 10 years (and 14 together) was falling apart. And nothing, nothing was helping me cope. Not therapy, not patience, not wine-soaked dinners with friends where I 'got it all out.'"
"I could not fix it -- any of it. My job. My relationship. My life. Not a damn thing," she admits. "But not being one to sit on a problem, I decided to try one last thing. And what I did next was exactly what you are not supposed to do when it comes to plastic surgery."
March says she was initially happy with the results after she went under the knife in August 2014, but says both Flay and her close friends were bewildered by her decision.
"In five weeks I looked darn good," she recalls. "Skinny from my misery. Nice breasts from my wallet. My life may have been falling apart, but this? This was pretty good."
Although, that all changed in early October, when her right implant became infected and the seams of the scar on her right breast burst. Her doctor immediately removed the implant, but March wanted it put back in.
"One morning in early October I sat up in bed and felt a sickening wet mucus sliding down my chest," March recalls. "It was everywhere, soaking my shirt and the sheets. I raced to my surgeon’s office. He shot me full of anesthesia, deftly removed the entire implant, cleaned and packed the wound, and immediately sent me to an infectious disease doctor."
"I had a hole in my breast for six weeks while I blasted my body with antibiotics," she continues. "I had the implant put back in. I had another infection and rupture on Christmas Eve. I had it taken out again. I had more cultures and tests and conversations with doctors than I care to recall."
March now says she is simply allergic to implants, and stresses that she does not blame her surgeon. In April 2015, she finally came to the decision to take her implants out for good.
"By this point, my marriage had completely tanked, it was all over the tabloids, and my mother had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and moved in with me for her treatment," she says. "It was time to move on and deal with my life. I said, 'Enough of this. I have other things to worry about. Take them out. I’m done with this project.'"
March later gets candid about being self-conscious about "new people" seeing her breasts given that she was going to date again after her divorce -- but it turns out she had nothing to worry about when it came to her new partner. March is reportedly dating hedge fund manager and technology investor Dan Benton.
"And yes, a new person has seen my breasts," March writes. "It felt awkward at first: Those scars announce news about my medical history a little earlier than I might have wanted to share it. ... He seems not to mind. In fact, he has been quite tender about it."
Despite her harrowing experience, March doesn't rule out plastic surgery in the future.
"I want to say clearly and truly that I have no problem with plastic surgery. None whatsoever," she stresses. "It’s a private matter. It’s nobody’s business. It often turns out just fine. And I fully anticipate my revisiting it in the years to come, if I’m being honest."
But for now, she is healthy and happy just as she is.
"I have accepted this episode as a part of my larger story. And I refuse to be ashamed of it," she says. "I am taking back my body, my story, and myself in a bathing suit."
"And now, I anticipate summer of 2016 with great joy," she adds. "I will be poolside, beachside, and swimming -- and perhaps, in a more daring moment (with a margarita nearby), I will be topless. I have nothing to hide."
Meanwhile, Flay, 51, has moved on as well after the two reached an amicable divorce settlement last July. This past March, Flay looked happy and cozy with 31-year-old Masters of Sex actress Helene Yorke after he attended her Broadway musical, American Psycho, at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre in New York City.
The couple hasn't been shy about their relationship on social media.