Rosie O'Donnell: I Almost Died After My Heart Attack

The talk-show host describes how she felt after her dramatic health scare

Rosie O'Donnell has a new lease on life -- thanks to her heart attack scare. The newlywed television personality, 50, says surviving her heart attack has motivated her to kick-start her health regimen.

For the first time since it happened, O'Donnell tells People exactly what she felt like on the afternoon of Aug. 14 -- when she unknowingly experienced a heart attack. "My arms starting aching and my chest hurt. My son, Blake, said, 'Mommy you look very white.' I told him, 'I don't feel so good, honey.'"

The comedian and talk-show host didn't know what had happened to her until the following day when she visited her physician, who ordered a stent right away to restore her blood flow. 

"I started crying," O'Donnell reveals in the candid interview. "I almost died -- and that's not an over-exaggeration. That's a fact."

O'Donnell, who secretly married Michelle Rounds on June 9, reveals that since her heart attack, she has thrown out all of her junk food and lost more than 12 pounds.

"For the first time, it wasn't hard for me," she says. "It took a heart attack for me to learn to take care of myself."

The Broadway-loving celebrity, who is looking forward to her upcoming annual Rosie's Theater Kids Gala in New York City on Oct. 15, says she's not going to squander her "second chance" at life.

"I've been given a second chance," O'Donnell says. "I'm getting an extra lap now. Make it worth something, kid."

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