Jimmy Kimmel's son Billy was just three days old when he underwent open heart surgery after being diagnosed with a rare heart condition. "It was the longest three hours of my life," the Late night host and comedian said of the procedure, in a tearful monologue on his show Jimmy Kimmel Live! in May last year.
Now, 11 months and two surgeries later, Kimmel has opened up about just how harrowing the early days of Billy's life were for himself and his wife, Molly McNearney.
"There were secrets we kept from each other that we revealed only after the second surgery," Kimmel said in an interview with O,The Oprah Magazine. "The biggest one was that, I think subconsciously, we didn't want to get too close to the baby because we didn't know what was going to happen."
The 50-year-old also shared that he was relieved when his wife admitted to experiencing the same feelings.
"I don't know if that's right or wrong or common or uncommon," Kimmel said. "But when I told her I was feeling that way, she said, 'Oh, I'm so happy you said that because I was feeling that way too, and I didn't want to express it.'"
Kimmel told Winfrey that his son is now "doing great" and will have another surgery when he is around six or seven years old.
Billy made his television debut in December last year, appearing on set with his teary dad, who updated his viewers about his little one's health. "He has one more surgery," Kimmel said. "And this is amazing: He had an operation a week ago. They say he's probably on track to win at least a bronze medal in the Olympics in 2036.
"Daddy cries on TV, but Billy doesn't," Kimmel quipped of his special guest. "It's unbelievable."
It's been an emotional few weeks for the comedian who hosted the Academy Awards on 4 March. Ellen DeGeneres surprised Kimmel by unveiling a room at the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, where Billy underwent surgery, named in the little one's honour.
Kimmel also copped a gentle - but very public - ribbing from his wife, who shared that the elaborate pancakes he makes for their daughter, three-year-old Jane, are making her feel inadequate.
"... his artistic ability has become my burden," McNearney who is co-head writer of Jimmy Kimmel Live wrote. "Being a mother is hard enough. Pancake artist is NOT in the job description. I attempted a smiley face once. I don't want to talk about it."