Kathy Bates Secretly Battled Ovarian Cancer

Celebrity News Mar. 20, 2012 AT 5:15PM
Kathy Bates Secretly Battled Ovarian Cancer Credit: JOJO WHILDEN

Kathy Bates was in a fight for her life over eight years ago -- but no one knew.

On Tuesday, the Oscar-winning actress, now 63, opened up to Anderson Cooper on his show, Anderson, about a private battle with ovarian cancer, one she took pains not to share with the public.

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"I was advised to," the Harry's Law star explains. "I was contracted to go into a movie at that time, Little Black Book, with Brittany Murphy, who I miss very much," she says of the 2004 romantic comedy starring the late Murphy, who died in December 2009 at age 32.

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"But my doctors at the time, they had to get insurance approval and all of that, so I was very quiet about it. I had to go back to work right away," Bates adds, explaining that she underwent chemotherapy treatments "by myself . . . I guess it's something I felt I had to face on my own."

Continues the Misery actress: "Nobody else really knows what you're going through except another cancer patient. Even though your family is supportive and surrounds you."

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Although Bates doesn't regret the decision to stay private, she admits, "If I go through it again, I think I would be a lot more open about it." And she applauds Hollywood stars who've shared their cancer battles with the world: "I admire people who have been open like Melissa Ethridge and women I see walking around facing it with out wigs and all of that stuff. I think I would be more courageous next time."

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