Last year, Val Kilmer denied that he was battling cancer after his former co-star, Michael Douglas, himself a survivor, outed him. Today, the actor not only is admitting he was diagnosed with cancer but he’s opening up about how it has changed his life.
During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Kilmer was surrounded by his children, Mercedes, 26, and Jack, 22, as he revealed that a two-year fight with throat cancer has “taken its toll” on him. He struggles with feeling out of breath and his voice is raspy.
On top of that, while he was reeling from his diagnosis, his daughter was in a serious car accident, leaving her with a large scar down her leg. “We were in the same hospital at the same time,” she said while her brother added, “I was just, you know, miserable, distraught, sitting next to these two.” Feeling overwhelmed, Kilmer said he turned to his Christian Scientist faith to get him through the tough times.
Addressing his decision to deny Michael Douglas’ claims, the actor said, “(Douglas) was probably trying to help me ’cause press probably asked where I was these days and I did have a healing of cancer, but my tongue is still swollen altho (sic) healing all the time. Because I don’t sound my normal self yet people think I may still be under the weather.”
Still, the experience left him with more than an altered voice. The Top Gun star said that he’s learning to put less pressure on himself after being “too serious” about his career in his younger years.
“I’d get upset when things like Oscars and recognition failed to come my way,” he explained. “I would like to have more Oscars than anybody,” he added. “Meryl Streep must feel pretty good, you know? It must feel nice to know that everyone loves her. It’s about being loved.”
It sounds like Kilmer’s two children love and support him which, to some, is way more important than any award he could win.