The Modern Family star underwent her first kidney transplant in 2012, following years of various health struggles. In a 2015 interview with Seventeen magazine, the actress recalled when doctors once told her mother that she would never have a normal life.
Her mother’s response in that moment has stuck with her ever since: “She said, ‘You’re right, she won’t — but it won’t be because of her health’ … If I can’t have an ordinary life, I might as well have an extraordinary one.”
Three years later, the Lipstick Jungle alum spoke candidly about a devastating moment in her journey. Through tears, Hyland admitted to Self magazine that she had gone through rejection and had quietly underwent a second kidney transplant in September 2017, just days after her first date with her now-fiancé, Wells Adams.
“For someone being so tiny to have a stomach that looks like the New Jersey Turnpike, just shows who I am and what kind of character I have,” Hyland said proudly in the same interview, confirming that she was stable and in a good place after the transplant.
Hyland kept her journey private at first, but has gained the confidence to open up about her health struggles more and more each day. The “Met at a Party” singer admitted to once being “very, very, very close” to taking her own life amid her medical trauma, but has since found the support she needs in loved ones like Adams.
“Imagine having 16 surgeries, going to hundreds of doctors’ visits and taking thousands of pills. Imagine losing crazy weight because of dialysis, medication side effects and stress. Then imagine having to do it all over again,” the Bachelorette alum told Us Weekly in December 2018. “I know Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman on film, but Sarah is the real-life version.”
When the coronavirus pandemic hit in 2020, Hyland got real about being more at risk of catching the illness due to her prior health concerns.
“I am obviously immunocompromised with my transplant history and am on immunosuppressants, so everything in this house is sanitized,” she said on Brad Goreski‘s “Brad Behavior” podcast in March 2020, joking, “I just took a shot of hand sanitizer, so we’re good.”
The actress went into further detail about how certain symptoms stick around longer because of her conditions, adding, “Say someone gets a 24-hour bug, I get it for a week or more. For me, it’s really dangerous. My panic level is pretty high, but I also have a lot of health issues that are very susceptible to stress, so I’m trying to remain calm.”
Scroll to read more of Hyland’s most powerful quotes about her health struggles.