DWTS’s Victoria Arlen Thought She Wouldn’t Make It to Her 16th Birthday After She Was Paralyzed By a Rare Condition

 

Victoria Arlen didn’t think she’d live to see age 16.

As she lay paralyzed in a hospital bed due to the effects of a rare autoimmune disease that left her bedridden for four years, the teen mentally prepared to die.

“You know when you’re fading away, and I just knew,” the ESPN host and Dancing with the Stars contestant says in the current issue of PEOPLE. “I couldn’t communicate, but in my own way I had to say goodbye to my family.”

But just three months after turning 15, Arlen woke up to find she’d regained control of her eyes.

“From there it was miracle after miracle,” she says of regaining feeling in the upper half of her body.

(Dr. Michael Levy, a professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins who has treated Arlen, says only a third of patients recover from transverse myelitis like Alren has. Dr. Levy says Arlen’s age and overall good health prior to her transverse myelitis episode was a major factor in her ability to recover.)

For more from Alren — including how she survived two years conscious but unable to move — pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

Ready to make up for lost time, Arlen set lofty goals for herself: first winning gold as a swimmer at the 2012 Paralympic games in London and then defying her doctors’ expectations by learning to walk again.

The latter goal wouldn’t be achieved until November 2015 after months of intense physical therapy, but that triumph allowed Arlen to set her sights on fulfilling her childhood dream of competing on Dancing with the Stars.

“This is the first year that I’m not fighting to get back what was taken away from me,” says Arlen, who spent her 23rd birthday dancing a rumba with Valentin Chmerkovskiy on the Sept. 26 episode of the ABC reality dance competition. “This is the first year that I can finally just live — and I’m going to make it a full life.”


PEOPLE.com

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Oprah Winfrey Says ‘I Wouldn’t Have Been A Good Mom For Babies’

Oprah Winfrey has been a mother of sorts to millions of TV viewers ― but the magnate and activist said having children of her own wouldn’t have been a good idea.

I wouldn’t have been a good mom for babies,” the 63-year-old former talk show host said in an April issue preview of Good Housekeeping U.K., posted Friday. “I don’t have the patience. I have the patience for puppies, but that’s a quick stage!”

Winfrey now uses motherly instincts to direct her Leadership Academy boarding school in Johannesburg, South Africa. She has 172 girls enrolled ― 20 of whom attend college in the United States and use her residence as a home away from home.

“When people were pressuring me to get married and have children, I knew I was not going to be a person that ever regretted not having them, because I feel like I am a mother to the world’s children,” she told the magazine. “Love knows no boundaries. It doesn’t matter if a child came from your womb or if you found that person at age 2, 10 or 20. If the love is real, the caring is pure and it comes from a good space, it works.”

Winfrey, who lost a child just weeks after birth when she was 14, has opened up previously about forgoing parenthood. “If I had kids, my kids would hate me,” she said in a 2013 interview. “They would have ended up on the equivalent of the Oprah show talking about me; because something [in my life] would have had to suffer and it would’ve probably been them.”

H/T People

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Joely Fisher: I Knew Debbie Reynolds Wouldn’t Survive If Carrie Didn’t

Joely Fisher opened up about the heartbreaking last moments at her famous half-sister Carrie Fisher’s hospital bedside, revealing a hunch she had about the late actress’ mother, Debbie Reynolds.

“I knew that if Carrie wasn’t going to survive this that Debbie would not,” she said in an interview with ABC News this week. “She would not last without her on the planet. She wouldn’t, and she didn’t.”

The “Star Wars” heroine died on Dec. 27, 2016, days after suffering a heart attack onboard a flight bound for Los Angeles. Reynolds, a Hollywood icon, died just one day later following a stroke.

“I’ve been having an out-of-body experience,” Joely said about the tragic loss. “The world lost Carrie and Debbie … and we lost our hero.”

Joely and her younger sister, Tricia, share a father, Eddie, with their well-known older half-sister. The two women told ABC’s Chris Connelly that Carrie was extremely generous and sensitive.

“She was the coolest big sister in the world,” Tricia, 48, said. “She was a badass body gun-toting princess. Who has that?” 

Joely says she shared a final conversation with her late half-sister via text message the night before Carrie boarded the flight where she would suffer a fateful heart attack.

“We talked about age because she was floored that she just turned 60. We talked about children. We talked about our frail mothers,” Joely, 49, said. “And I promised to see her for Christmas.”

Joely kept her promise, though under tragic circumstances. She visited the beloved actress and mental health advocate in the hospital over the holiday.

“I remember just holding [Carrie’s] hand and telling her that we were there,” Joely said. “That we would make sure that her daughter was whole, which she will be.”

 Joely described Carrie’s 24-year-old daughter Billie Lourd as “soulful” and “smart.” 

“She was obviously rattled to the core,” Tricia said of Lourd. “But she’s handling it.”

 

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Eddie Murphy Explains Why He Wouldn’t Portray Bill Cosby On ‘SNL’ Special

Eddie Murphy says he chose not to reprise his famous impression of Bill Cosby on the “Saturday Night Live” 40th anniversary special because he didn’t want to joke about the embattled comedian’s sexual assault scandal.

“It’s horrible,” Murphy told The Washington Post in a lengthy interview published Tuesday. “There’s nothing funny about it. If you get up there and you crack jokes about him, you’re just hurting people. You’re hurting him. You’re hurting his accusers. I was like, ‘Hey, I’m coming back to SNL for the anniversary, I’m not turning my moment on the show into this other thing.'”

Cosby has been accused of sexually assaulting more than 50 women.

Murphy, a former “SNL” cast member, almost appeared in the sketch before changing his mind and deciding to simply give a brief speech instead. He told The Post he “totally understood” why “SNL” wanted to do the bit, which ended up starring current cast member Kenan Thompson as Cosby. 

“It was the biggest thing in the news at the time,” Murphy said. “I can see why they thought it would be funny, and the sketch that Norm [Macdonald] wrote was hysterical.”

After the airing of the February special, Macdonald explained in a series of tweets that Murphy declined to play Cosby because “he will not kick a man when he is down.” In response, Cosby released a statement thanking Murphy for his decision. 

“I am very appreciative of Eddie and I applaud his actions,” a Cosby spokesperson said.

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