Jimmy Kimmel Shares Update on 3-Month-Old Son Billy, Reveals Which Former Presidents Reached Out About His Tea
By Antoinette Bueno
Jimmy Kimmel is speaking out again about his son Billy, and how the 3-month-old's health scare inspired him to be vocal about his support for the Affordable Care Act.
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Kimmel says Billy is "doing great" and is a typical baby, interested in ceiling fans and giving smiles. He also shares that Billy -- who was born with a heart defect and had to undergo open heart surgery at just three days old -- has two more open heart surgeries ahead of him.
"We would like to get them over with and not have to think about it all the time, but it could definitely be worse," Kimmel says.
He also opens up about the terrifying moments when he knew Billy had a serious health condition. His wife, Molly McNearney, wasn't with him at the time, since she had just given birth a few hours earlier and was still in the recovery room.
"I thought I was accompanying my son to a routine check-up [but it] became a very serious situation very quickly," he recalls. "I felt like I was in an episode of a television show where something terrible was happening. There were a lot of people scrambling around. At that point, I knew there was nothing I could do. They were all very good about keeping me abreast of what was happening, but I wanted them to just focus on him and not worry about me."
"My whole family came to the hospital," he says of how he was able to cope. "We were worried getting through that time but my cousins Sal, Ivy and Mickey showed up and started making fun of everyone else in the family. Somehow, we managed to laugh through the whole day.
The 49-year-old late night host says he never thought twice about sharing his story with millions of viewers.
"I knew I had to say something, and I knew that I would get emotional," he says. "It occurred to me that maybe we could make it into something positive. I had a lot of time to think at the hospital, and it just so happened that our government was deciding whether or not millions of people should have health care at that time. I think it made a big impact on American citizens. I'm not sure, based on how our so-called leaders voted, whether it made a big impact on the Senate or House."
Though Kimmel's tearful message did affect a number of former presidents -- he reveals that Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush all sent him letters.
"My goal always is to not make this a red or blue issue, because I don't think it is," he notes. "If the opinion polls are to be believed, more than 80 percent of Americans support some kind of health insurance plan that works. It's clear that these politicians aren't listening to the people. That's why it's very important when you're making your donations to remember places like Children's Hospital Los Angeles and hospitals like it across the country."
Kimmel says he "absolutely would" have President Donald Trump on his show to confront him about health care.
"I would like to see, as a father and a person who prides himself on speaking the truth, what he thinks," he explains. "If I were his next-door neighbor and I didn't have health insurance for my child, I find it hard to believe he would ignore that."
ET spoke with Kimmel last month -- when he served as the master of ceremonies at Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw's Fifth Annual Ping Pong 4 Purpose Celebrity Tournament -- where he also talked to us about Billy and his adorable 3-year-old daughter, Jane.