Jimmy Kimmel Shares Unexpected Consequence of Sharing His Son's Condition

In an interview with The New York Times on Sunday, Jimmy Kimmel revealed he didn’t realize how often he’d be reminded of his son’s chronic condition after publicly sharing that his son, Billy Kimmel, has a congenital heart condition. Kimmel shared news of his son’s condition in May on his show “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” after taking a leave of absence while his son had and recovered from emergency surgery.

“What I didn’t think through was that, everywhere I went, every day of my life, people would be asking me how my son is doing,” Kimmel told ET. “But thank God I can say he’s doing well. If that wasn’t the case, each day would be very, very painful.”

Kimmel’s comment shows how sometimes well-intentioned questions can be hurtful if a child is sick. A constant reminder of how a child is doing can be hard for parents of a child with a chronic illness, especially, as Kimmel mentioned, if a child isn’t doing well.

Kimmel added that it means a lot when people say they’re praying for his son, and it’s nice to know people wonder about how he’s doing.

“People were so nice and people are still nice,” he said. “They come up to me and ask me how Billy is and, you know, it’s really nice to get that from people. I think it’s the result of just being on television for so many years. You feel like you know somebody and people say they’re praying. It means a lot.”

Kimmel has since used his platform as a TV show host and father of a son with a chronic condition to call attention to health reform.

In his May monologue, Kimmel said, “No parent should have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life.”

Kimmel has been a vocal opponent of efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, including the Graham-Cassidy bill, a now-defeated bill which Kimmel said failed the “Jimmy Kimmel test,” a term coined by Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), the bill’s author. The test was meant to ask if a child with a condition like Kimmel’s son could get everything they need in the first year of life.

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