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Jimmy Kimmel’s Son Billy, 7, Undergoes Third Open-Heart Surgery: He’s ‘the Toughest’ Kid ‘We Know’

Jimmy Kimmel and Wife Molly McNearny s Relationship Timeline
Jimmy Kimmel and Molly McNearney, 2023. Andrew J Cunningham/Getty Images

Jimmy Kimmel is sharing some good news: His 7-year-old son, Billy, underwent his third open-heart surgery over Memorial Day Weekend — and it was a success.

“We went into this experience with a lot of optimism and nearly as much fear and came out with a new valve inside a happy, healthy kid,” Kimmel, 56, revealed via Instagram on Monday, May 27.

The late-night host posted a photo of Billy smiling in his hospital bed and thanked his son’s surgeon, Vaughn Starnes, cardiologist Tim Casarez, nurses and other staff at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles for their “immeasurable kindness and expertise.”

“Walking around this hospital, meeting parents at their most vulnerable, children in pain and the miracle workers who do everything in their considerable power to save them is a humbling experience,” Kimmel continued in his caption, writing, “Thanks to those loving strangers who took time to pray for and send positive energy to our baby, thanks to our family and friends for rallying around us to an almost-ridiculous extent, thank you to my wife [Molly McNearney] for being stronger than is reasonable for any Mom to be and Billy, you are the toughest (and funniest) 7 year-old we know.”

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Kimmel added, “There are so many parents and children who aren’t fortunate enough to go home after five days. Please share your love, hearts and prayers with them and if it moves you, support @ChildrensLA  … or a great children’s hospital near you (@CMNHospitals). Nothing matters more than taking care of each other.”

The 2024 Oscar host has detailed his son’s health struggles since McNearney, 46, gave birth to Billy in April 2017. Kimmel returned to Jimmy Kimmel Live! the following month with an emotional monologue revealing that Billy had been born with a rare congenital heart defect.

Billy’s official diagnosis was “tetralogy of fallot with pulmonary atresia,” meaning that his pulmonary valve was blocked and there was a hole in his heart. Three hours after Billy was born, he started to turn purple and doctors noticed he had a heart murmur.

“Dr. Vaughn Starnes opened his chest and fixed one of the two defects in his heart. He went in there with a scalpel and did some kind of magic that I couldn’t even begin to explain,” Kimmel said at the time. “He opened the valve, and the operation was a success. It was the longest three hours of my life.”

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Kimmel and McNearney also share daughter, Jane, 9. Additionally, he shares daughter Katie, 32, and son Kevin, 30, with ex-wife Gina Kimmel.

Two years after Billy’s first surgery, Kimmel told Us Weekly that he was “doing great” and, well, acting like a normal kid. 

“He thinks he’s Spider-Man now, so we’re safe from crime,” Kimmel joked in 2019. “He wears the costume all the time. He’s shooting webs all over the house.”

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