This year, Jimmy Kimmel emerged as a surprisingly passionate voice in the fight to save the Affordable Care Act — an issue that's deeply personal to the latenight host, as the father of a son born with a congenital heart defect. But now, Kimmel's wife and head writer Molly McNearney has weighed in, too, with her own perspective on the difficult choice to make their son's medical struggles public.
In a moving essay for The Hollywood Reporter, McNearney revealed that she was as surprised as anyone by Kimmel's emotional speech on May 2, in which he fought back tears while telling the story of his son's birth and defending the necessity of universal healthcare.
"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," McNearney writes. "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."
In addition to sharing the ups and downs of having her family's private life on display, McNearney revealed that Kimmel wrote both monologues on this subject without anyone else's input:
"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."