In a recent interview, Kaley Cuoco’s former co-stars on The Big Bang Theory recounted the terrifying story of how the actress almost lost her leg in a horse-riding accident.
The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series, an oral history written by Jessica Radloff, hits stores today, October 11.
The actress was riding a horse in September of 2010 when it frightened her and she was thrown to the ground. Kaley Cuoco is a skilled rider, but the horse missed the leap and landed on her left leg.
Kaley Cuoco Reveals She Nearly Had to Amputate Her Leg
According to People, Chuck Lorre, the program’s creator, remarked that “it was the darkest, most scary period in all twelve years” of the show. “Kaley was close to losing a limb. It was only via a string of miracles that we made it through, and she emerged from it unscathed.”
The first of these miracles was that Lorre happened to meet Dr. Stephen Lombardo, an orthopedic and sports medicine expert who also serves as the team physician for the Los Angeles Lakers (at least, that’s what his LinkedIn profile says). Since Lorre had sought the physician for assistance, Kaley Cuoco had surgery in less than two hours with “the greatest surgeons available to stop an infection since her leg was wide open,” prompting him to describe the encounter as “heaven sent.”
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Kaley Cuoco had to sign a waiver before surgery, stating that he understood the physicians wouldn’t be able to choose the best course of therapy until they saw the extent of the injury and that they had his consent to amputate if necessary. She said, “Obviously that was not the case, but I had to sign something that said, ‘OK, you may.'” “Ultimately, I was up and about a week later, but the doctors behaved as if I would never walk again. Too much has happened since then for me to explain, and it was far worse than it sounded. And so things were going downhill and everyone was freaking out, which is understandable. People were frightened.”
Johnny Galecki, Cuoco’s co-star, recalls how “devastating” it was to learn that the actress could need to have her leg amputated as a result of the tragedy.
Despite the fact that Cuoco’s physicians predicted that she would be bedridden for weeks, she went out of the hospital in only two weeks, wearing a walking boot. Lorre said that if Kaley Cuoco had lost her leg, the program would have ended, but luckily for fans, her character was only absent from two episodes.
It was a miracle, Lorre gushed about meeting Dr. Steve. “When I see him, I always tell him, “Appreciate it!” Thanks to you, Kaley is alive and well. You rescued The Big Bang Theory, kind of.”