By Megan McCluskey
December 6, 2017

After Jimmy Kimmel’s newborn son, William “Billy” Kimmel, underwent open heart surgery in April, the late night host delivered a powerful opening monologue on Live! calling for universal health care. Since then, Kimmel has remained an active participant in the national health care debate and spoken out on other issues, including gun control.

Now, Kimmel’s wife, Live! producer and co-head writer Molly McNearney, has shared her perspective on the events that both led to and followed her husband’s watershed moment. In a column for The Hollywood Reporter that was published on Wednesday, McNearney explained that, due to her maternity leave, she saw the health care episode for the first time as it aired.

Billy was finally home, and Jimmy was back at work. Even though I was on maternity leave, I was still getting all of my work emails, and I didn’t get one with the monologue for that night. I emailed Jimmy, and he said, ‘I just want you to watch.’ So, there I am, in my living room breastfeeding Billy with my mom beside me, and we’re watching. I sobbed through the entire thing. I couldn’t believe the strength that it took to tell that story a week after it happened. He didn’t have to do that. Our family has excellent health care; he had nothing to gain from that. He did it for the other people whom we met in that hospital. He came home that night, and I just hugged him and I wouldn’t let go.

McNearney went on to reveal that both the health care opener and Kimmel’s message on the Las Vegas shooting were written exclusively by him. “The monologues he delivered on both of those nights were so personal to him,” she said. “He had 14 writers sitting in a room ready to write, and he said, ‘I got this,’ and went into his own office and closed the door. That was all him, all his heart.”

Read McNearney’s full piece on hollywoodreporter.com.

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