Emilia Clarke Was Scared She'd Be "Fired" From 'Game of Thrones' Over Brain Injuries


Emilia Clarke
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Emilia Clarke has been open about her brain injuries and subsequent surgeries over the years, and in a new interview, she opened up about the very real fears these episodes of her life awoke in her.

"When you have a brain injury, because it alters your sense of self on such a dramatic level, all of the insecurities you have going into the workplace quadruple overnight," Clarke told U.K. social enterprise magazine the Big Issue.

"The first fear we all had was: 'Oh my God, am I going to get fired [from Game of Thrones, on which she played Daenerys Targaryen between 2011 and 2019]? Am I going to get fired because they think I’m not capable of completing the job?'"

Clarke was back at works within weeks of her first brain injury, and was terrified that the pressure of it all would cause a second one. "Well, if I’m going to die, I better die on live TV," she thought at the time.

In 2019, the Me Before You actress wrote a deeply personal essay in the New Yorker about her health problems. She revealed that she's suffered one aneurysm in 2011, when she was 24, and underwent brain surgery at the time.

In that essay, she wrote, "Season 2 would be my worst. I didn’t know what Daenerys was doing. If I am truly being honest, every minute of every day I thought I was going to die."

In 2013, Clarke had to have a second brain surgery, this time a more invasive one, for which the recovery was even more painful than the first time around.

But while the actress admitted that there were times she felt herself lose all hope while all of this was happening, she founded the charity SameYou in 2019 to give hope to others who are recovering from brain injuries.

Earlier this year, Clarke and her mom were invited to Windsor Castle, where Prince William awarded them with MBEs for their work with SameYou.

Another royal link? The Big Issue, which supports people in the U.K. impacted by poverty, also happens to be the magazine Prince William has taken to the streets in the past to sell to passersby—as part of his commitment to helping those affected by homelessness.

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.