Brooke Shields had a seizure from drinking water, her doctor prescribed potato chips

Too much of anything can kill you. I had a science teacher who once noted to us that even imbibing too much water could be fatal. Brooke Shields just shared that she had a tonic-clonic seizure recently, and the cause was determined to be too much water! Formerly called a “grand mal,” a tonic-clonic seizure can be a violent experience involving loss of consciousness, severe muscle contractions, or foaming at the mouth. Brooke recounted the incident to Samantha Barry, Glamour Editor in Chief and her friend of nearly ten years. The two enjoyed a boozy lunch to discuss Brooke being one of the magazine’s Women of the Year, her solo show at Cafe Carlyle in New York that opened in September, and her podcast Now What? With Brooke Shields. Keep reading to learn who makes a very unexpected guest appearance:

Brooke: I drank all this water. I leave my house. And they kept asking me, “Do you want coffee?” And I was like, “No.” “Are you all right?” I go, “Yeah, great.” Then I walked to the corner — no reason at all. I’m like, “Why am I out here?” Then I walk into the restaurant L’Artusi, and I go to the sommelier who had just taken an hour to watch my run-through. I go in, two women come up to me; I don’t know them. Everything starts to go black. Then my hands drop to my side and I go headfirst into the wall.

Samantha: Shut the f— up.

Brooke: I start having a grand mal seizure.

Samantha: What does that mean?

Brooke: It means frothing at the mouth, totally blue, trying to swallow my tongue. The next thing I remember, I’m being loaded into an ambulance. I have oxygen on.

Samantha: Oh my God, Brooke.

Brooke: And Bradley f—ing Cooper is sitting next to me holding my hand.

Samantha: Shut up.

Brooke: I didn’t have a sense of humor. I couldn’t really get any words out. But I thought to myself, This is what death must be like. You wake up and Bradley Cooper’s going, “I’m going to go to the hospital with you, Brooke,” and he’s holding my hand. And I’m looking at my hand, I’m looking at Bradley Cooper’s hand in my hand, and I’m like, “This is odd and surreal.”

Samantha: What happened? Bradley Cooper, riding in the ambulance in the West Village to Mount Sinai?

A you-couldn’t-make-this-up game of phone tag had ensued, as the sommelier at L’Artusi first tried to reach Chris Henchy, Shields’s husband, which ended up with an assistant reaching an assistant, who eventually called Bradley Cooper, who was nearby.

Brooke: His assistant called Bradley and said, “Brooke’s on the ground. Chris isn’t around. Go get her.” And he came, and somebody called the ambulance. And then it was like, I walked in with Jesus.

And then Brooke delivers this fabulously epic monologue:

Brooke: Low sodium. I had had too much water. I flooded my system, and I drowned myself. And if you don’t have enough sodium in your blood or urine or your body, you can have a seizure. And then male doctors kept asking me if I was limiting my salt. And I said, “You know what? I’ve had it with male doctors. I know you’re all smart — smarter than I am in what you do. But let me just tell you something: I look younger when I’m bloated. If I’m bloated, people think I’ve had Botox.” So as a 58-year-old woman, I’m not limiting my salt, okay? Stop trying to make me a crazy actress or a female that doesn’t know what the f— they’re doing. I was drinking too much water because I felt dehydrated because I was singing more than I’ve ever sung in my life and doing a show and a podcast. So they were just like, “Eat potato chips every day.”

[From Glamour]

OK I am still missing some very vital pieces of information here. Brooke’s assistant calls her husband’s assistant, husband isn’t available, guess it’s time to call in Bradley Cooper! Did we even know they were friends? Aha, thank you internet — Bradley and Brooke were both in a 2008 horror film, The Midnight Meat Train. Still, I want to know how high up on the list of contacts Bradley is to call in case of emergencies. Do these assistants have a spreadsheet of which celebrity friend to call based on New York neighborhood? And where on earth was her husband that he couldn’t go to his wife who was frothing at the mouth?!

So basically I adore and worship everything about Brooke’s energy here. A touch crazy? Oh yes. But with dashes of confidence and wit and smarts. I absolutely love the message: “Brooke’s on the ground. Chris isn’t around. Go get her.” It’s like a haiku! (Yes, I know the syllables aren’t right for a true haiku.) And side thought: Bradley Cooper must love this story being out there right now. Not just because he’s the hero, but because it’s free publicity while he’s still not allowed to promote Maestro (as an actor) during the strike. And as of this week it also distracts from his totally scabbing on Halloween. I don’t think that’s why Brooke mentions him, but I can’t help but notice the lift it gives him. Now, where do I find a doctor who will prescribe me to eat potato chips everyday?

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50 Responses to “Brooke Shields had a seizure from drinking water, her doctor prescribed potato chips”

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  1. christina says:

    She had water intoxication, she diluted her electrolytes.

    • Delphine says:

      Hyponatremia, also called water toxicity or water intoxication. In the early 90s I went to a lot of raves and was frequently warned against drinking too much water because people were dying from it.

      • dj says:

        OMG. This just happened to me. I fainted and fractured my skull and had to have cervical surgery about a 6 weeks ago. I am limited to 60 oz water a day. I have low sodium. Gatorade and other drinks as much as I want. I wish I had read this months ago! Seriously, they also took me off 2 meds that I had been on for 10 years and I have not been able to eat for the 5 or 6 weeks. I figured it out and told my regular doc who just put me back on the meds. Super rough time.

    • BeanieBean says:

      Had this situation a year ago, low levels of sodium & chloride in my blood. I’d been living in Hawaii for several years, drinking lots of water & had moved to a place of triple digit weather, so drinking lots of water. And what have we been hearing from everyone for these last several years? ‘Stay hydrated’, ‘drink more water’! (Also some gastro-intestinal issue I won’t get into). So I don’t know, I ended up with hyponatremia when I had my yearly check-up. I didn’t have a seizure, but I had some killer leg cramps one evening where both legs, upper & lower, went into spasms that had me on the floor.
      As I’m a person with high blood pressure, things got pretty confusing for a while! Eat salty foods, don’t eat salty foods! Gah! Everything’s leveled out now; change of state & environment has certainly helped–I’m not guzzling as much water as I used to.

      • Theresa says:

        @BeanieBean…I actually have low blood pressure (90/60) and have actually had fainting spells from this. I was told also to eat something salty when I started to get a certain feeling. Kept it in check like this for quite a while but after passing out at work and taken to hospital I was put on medication that actually regulates my blood pressure…much like people with high blood pressure.

  2. Shawna says:

    Maybe the assistant remembered cooper because they were just frantically trying to recall anyone who lived nearby.

    • Casey says:

      If Heath Ledger’s death taught me anything, it’s that celebrities and their assistants are keenly aware of public perception and they know which fellow celebs will understand and take care of peers. BCoop is a recovered addict and who knows why Brooke had a seizure initially. I totally believe it was due to low salt intake and too much water but the perception could be that it might have been drugs. Who better than a recovered addict to help Brooke had it been?

    • tealily says:

      Oh I read this as Bradley Cooper just happened to be at the restaurant? I don’t know, it’s confusing.

      • Jane says:

        Bradley Cooper lives right next to L’Artusi in the WV and he’s regularly out and about. I would not be shocked if he happened upon the situation!

  3. Olivia says:

    No, she didn’t drown, it was an electrolyte imbalance, which is still VERY serious. It’s why I side-eye Gwyneth and her ridiculous claim that she drinks several buckets of water a day under the guise of ‘health’.

    Essentially, too much fluid disrupts the body’s vital mineral content in your blood and brain, and can additionally cause a pH imbalance.

    An easy fix is to just add salt to your drinking water. Preferably, not the bleached table salt, but any unrefined salt that has minerals in it.

    If you don’t like the taste, add any cordial of your choice. It a cheap and effective alternative to buying electrolyte drinks from the store. Or if you insist on plain water, chase it down with some salt tablets.

    This is useful for anyone who is heavily peeing, bleeding or sweating.

    • BeanieBean says:

      Mmm, well, when I was working in an equatorial environment, I was told to eat salty foods, as salt tablets require a lot of water to dilute & can cause issues. Potato chips really are better!

  4. ML says:

    Years ago after being diagnosed with celiac disease and then allergies, I had to work with a nutritionist to rebuild my digestive system so to speak. I went on a “whole foods, as close to nature grew it” diet, which would have been fine but except I didn’t realize that the government made sure most of the population got their iodine and salt from bread. So, while I didn’t have a seizure, I did wind up too low in sodium. Luckily you don’t need to just eat chips: cheeses, sushi, olives, salted nuts, condiments, fermented veggies, soup bouillon, seaweed flakes, miso, your regular salt shaker, etc,… it’s easy to turn this around quickly.

    • Kebbie says:

      I was also going to say olives and pickles would do the trick too. I’ll never have this problem because pickles are basically a food group for me. I can give up alcohol, dairy, sugar, meat, you name it, but I can’t do low salt. I can’t give up my pickles and olives.

  5. DaveW says:

    I took it as Chris or Brooke’s assistant happened to know Bradley Cooper’s assistant and made the connection. It’s also been a summerlike fall in the northeast (but climate change isn’t real y’all!) and we’ve been sweating since August.

    But hydration can be such a fine balance. When I started triathlon training my first coach suggested a glass of an electrolyte tab with water for every 32 ounces of plain water during regular workout seasons, more during intense training or hot weather.

    • Barrett says:

      Bradley was on a podcast maybe armchair w Dax Shepard. Brook’s husband is very good friends w Cooper. They hang, live close and he goes to Brooks apartment often. Hangs w her.

  6. C says:

    I see this kind of advice on skincare and “wellness” TikToks and reels all the time – more water is better, water water water. That is true, and drinking when thirsty is fine, but a lot of people have started promoting the idea that forcing down *huge* amounts of water daily is imperative for health and clear skin when it’s incredibly risky.

  7. Changing my name because I can says:

    My son’s doctor prescribed potato chips for him at one point too, lol..
    It’s a very real thing.
    For my son, it was because he was a growing teen with extremely low blood pressure, which meant he got to eat ALLLLL the salty things.. I was very jealous, lol

  8. Ameerah M says:

    It sounds more like her husband wasn’t close and Bradley was so he wanted him to take her to the hospital. My brother and I did the same thing when my Mom had a health emergency. I was the closest so I went and then he joined. Bradley Cooper is one of those people who is friends with EVERYBODY. I remember during the Oscars he was the one who went backstage with Will.

    • AlpineWitch says:

      Yep, sooner or later we will have a 6-degree-separation game with Bradley Cooper instead of Kevin Bacon.

  9. Soni says:

    My almost 15 year old daughter has been fainting a lot the last few years. The neuro and cardiologist both think it’s low sodium and that she should make sure she eats something salty every day, especially before sports. Who knew the answer was going to be potato chips??

  10. Skyblue says:

    I read an article once where Cheez-Its were a recommended emergency snack to carry while hiking in the Grand Canyon for electrolyte replenishment. I carry a bottle of Fasting Drops which I add to water or coffee but really prefer Cheez-Its

    • Beenie says:

      Hello, my name is Beenie and I am a Cheez-it addict (hello Beenie). It has been nearly 6 years since I last abused Cheez-itz…..

      …. but if a doctor prescribes them to me, who am I to say No!?!? 🤤 I would relapse HARD and I would love every minute of it.

    • BeanieBean says:

      That’s funny. I heard a law enforcement ranger from the Grand Canyon say they always give people potato chips–people overcome by the heat is one of their usual emergencies.

  11. bisynaptic says:

    Her account is surreal and also hilarious.
    Also: don’t drink plain water, to hydrate; drink gatorade, or equivalent.

  12. Kathgal says:

    I was dehydrated one time on vacation and my doctor told me that at the very least should drink a sprite or something, as it has sodium.
    Also, I know this isn’t the point of the story, but The Midnight Meat Train is hands down the craziest and most perfect movie title I have ever heard, and I have never heard tell of it before! haha!

  13. Libra says:

    There’s a lot missing here. It appears that lab results showed low sodium. Got it. But that’s it? A tonic clonic seizure requires more than lab work. A first seizure at 58 should set off some red flags I would think and prompt exploring. Or perhaps that is the part she opts not to share which is understandable to protect her privacy, such as a neurologist referral for further testing.

    • BeanieBean says:

      I would expect so. My doc had me do further testing to find out why I had low blood sodium, which included having a chest CT–which didn’t bring us any answers about the low blood sodium issue but did reveal an ascending aortic aneurysm. Surprise! It’s one of those things where it just needs to be ‘watched’ (i.e., yearly echocardiograms). Never did get an answer on the low blood sodium, but I’m guessing it’s what I mentioned above–drinking way too much water due to the locations I was living in.

  14. AnneL says:

    “Brooke is on the ground
    Chris is nowhere to be found
    Please go and get her.”

  15. maisie says:

    I’m a doctor (retired now) and I can tell you unequivocally that drinking too much water is not good for you. In fact, really really bad. She’s lucky to have survived it.

    For her to have had a seizure suggests that it was not a one time thing. She probably had low sodium for a long time. And unfortunately it’s very hard to persuade people who consume too much water to cut back. They become utterly convinced that they’re dehydrated even in the face of evidence to the contrary. I’ve seen women who’ve been hospitalized for critically low sodium levels and put on restricted water intake down on their hands and knees drinking out of the toilet bowl.

    Chronically drinking too much water, even if you don’t have a seizure, can also cause brain damage. your kidneys are designed to regulate your system’s balance of water and salts. But if you flood your system with too much water, day after day, that regulatory mechanism can fail.

    If you feel thirsty, drink something. if you exercise and sweat a lot, replace both salt and water. Potato chips are ok. If your urine is darker than lemon yellow, drink a little more. But being wedded to drinking some specific amount of water every day is actually worse for you than occasionally not drinking enough.

    • AnneL says:

      Thank you for the advice. My husband has been advised to get this giant jug of water and drink it throughout the day so he is sure to get a certain amount. I think he is supposed to finish it? I try to drink a lot of water but not to that extent. I wonder if he should be re-thinking that advice. He’s not super active. He does work out with a few mornings a week and he plays golf, but he’s hardly a triathlete.

    • Kat says:

      Thank you for this valuable comment. I wish that it was up at the top.

    • Twin Falls says:

      I’ll take this as confirmation that my aversion to carrying water around with me everywhere I go (since I don’t live in the desert) is actually a life saving instinct.

    • QuiteContrary says:

      How much water is too much?

      • Agreatreckoning says:

        That was my first thought because I drink a lot of water. Since I was a teenager. I’m guessing because I drink juices and eat things with salt, I’m equalizing things?

        This is a great story, Henchy may have been too far away to be a support system/emergency call. Love that Bradley Cooper is on their emergency call list.

        Every Phil quote from The Hangover is running through my mind.

        Phil Wenneck : Are you nuts? I want to find out how I went to the hospital. Is that in there?

        Have appreciated/respected Brooke Shields for a long time. Interesting story.

    • Christine says:

      “I’ve seen women who’ve been hospitalized for critically low sodium levels and put on restricted water intake down on their hands and knees drinking out of the toilet bowl.”

      Wowza! I learn something new on this site every day, thank you!

    • Lau says:

      I used to see an osteopath who was adament that I needed to drink 2 liters of water a day. I never managed to drink that much and I stop consulting that lady.

    • Concern Fae says:

      It is a real sign of how bad white lady diet culture is that fear of dehydration, which is not really an issue in modern life, has led to actual injuries and death in women following “wellness” advice.

      That you need to drink some large amount of water everyday is just some made up BS. Drink when you’re thirsty. Your body knows what it needs. Your body processes the liquids included in all the foods you eat. Including coffee and soda! Caffeine makes you pee a bit more, but the water in coffee and soda absolutely counts.

    • Kreama says:

      Thank you for this! I naturally tend to drink a lot of water – I’m the “thirsty” type, not the type who drinks water bc I think I should. I used to hound my now ex husband to drink more water until I realized his skin was never dry, he never had any other dehydration issues, etc – meanwhile I was the one with dry skin, dry mouth, etc etc.

      I’ve realized I tend to dehydrate easily so I just keep electrolyte tablets on hand. If I know I’ve had night sweats (thank you pms) or been in more heat than usual, have had a fever or have needed decongestants from a cold, or if after breakfast I feel lightheaded and fatigued and just ill in general, I’ll pop one into water and drink. Often I feel improvement in minutes.

      I used to just drink more and more water, but it never worked.

  16. Still In My Robe says:

    Had brain surgery earlier this year, was given a salt IV, and can confirm that the many blood tests in the ICU confirmed I run low in sodium, so my neurosurgeon upon discharge said it was critical that I eat salty snacks every day during recovery to prevent a possible seizure. (Was also on preventative anti-seizure meds, but excess dietary salt still necessary.)

    Moderation, people. If you’re not feeling thirsty, excessive fluid consumption is not necessary.

  17. Lau says:

    I’m so glad this story has a good ending because it’s just too funny. Brooke Shields is a very good storyteller.

  18. RMS says:

    When I was going through chemo, I drank A LOT of extra water to help flush that poison out of my system. After regularly passing out in labs pre-chemo, I got the memo and now ALWAYS have Liquid IV sachets with me. For every x liters of water I drink, I throw one of those in and I really feel better when I do. Since I don’t drink anything other than water all day (and a sole cup of coffee in the morning), I have to track how much I’ve consumed so as not to get myself out of whack again. Don’t recommend out of balance electrolytes to anyone!

  19. Totorochan says:

    I eat a TON of salt as I don’t absorb liquid well (colon out of commission). My blood pressure is still normal to low. And I also have hydralyte and pedialyte on hand. The WHO also have recipes for homemade electrolyte solutions, just salt and sugar in a balanced ratio (important) in a set amount of water (never use too little water), or salt, sugar, potassium and something else that I forget with water. The actual ratios are important for proper hydration so either the commercial kind or following the recipe is key. People are told their urine should be clear but it shouldn’t really. It’s all about balance, always.

  20. @Backstage Bitchy says:

    Apparently she and her husband have been very good friends with Bradley for years, like “come over in your pajamas for breakfast friends”, it was revealed one time on Armchair Expert. So it’s a BIT less random than it seems, but it’s still a hilarious visual and a great story.
    I’m VERY surprised that “Brooke Shields collapses in trendy restaurant” never made it onto Page Six!?

  21. sparrow says:

    Salt and sugar are important for electrolyte balance. If you’re going to flood your system with water post workout, take along something salty and sugary. Drink when you’re thirsty, don’t glug water like it’s some kind of elixir. As an epileptic, I feel for her. Seizures are terrifying.

  22. The Old Chick says:

    Don’t people know about electrolytes?

  23. Ann says:

    This is my first time learning about this. So frightening! I love cheez-its after donating blood. Not the whole grain ones! The originals!! Hear me Red Cross people?!

  24. Anonymous says:

    And this is (part of) why when the craze was to drink a certain (large) amount of water every day, I just said, “Naw, I will drink when I’m thirsty. My body knows better than me what it needs.”

  25. Lulu says:

    Potato chips will help a queasy stomach. Sounds crazy but on a girls weekend I drank more than my usual wine, the next morning at breakfast I felt queasy and someone recommended potato chips. It did the trick.