12 Incredible Stories Of Celebs And Their Near-Death Experiences

What would the world be like without some of our favorite celebrities? We almost knew as 12 big stars were very nearly taken from us. These guys all had a near-death experience to varying levels but thankfully they all emerged from it in one piece. The biggest relief? Star Wars was very close to never being made at all…


1. Johnny Depp

Depp almost died in 2011 with his Rum Diaries Director Bruce Robinson in a small plane when the engines cut out. The engines responded thankfully to an emergency restart and everyone emerged unscathed. Here’s what Johnny said about the incident: “The sound of the engines stopped. There was silence. Bruce and I were looking at each other and I think I said, ‘Is this it?’ It was like this weird extended moment when you’re just floating for a second, and you could feel this unpleasant descent.”


2. Ryan Reynolds

The man who is set to bring Deadpool to the big screen had a terrifying incident when skydiving aged 17. The chute failed to open, leaving Reynolds plummeting to the surface before he was able to release the reserve and land safely. This is what Reynolds said: “When I was 17-years-old, I took a skydiving course, and it was just awful. Every second of it was just truly horrendous. On my 13th jump, I jumped out of the plane, and my chute failed. It came out the wrong way, I had to pull the reserve. I got down on the ground, removed my urine-spackled jumpsuit, threw it at the guy, and got in my car and drove extremely slowly home. It was the worst. Now I get on planes, and I can’t do it anymore.”


3. Charlize Theron

While filming the underwhelming (to say the least) Æon Flux, the Oscar winner landed awkwardly on her neck while performing a back flip during the filming. “I did a back handspring, gymnastics back handspring, and I had done 18 of them back to back and I just slipped and landed on my neck with my body straight out so with all my weight onto my neck I herniated the disk between my third and fourth vertebrae. And it had slipped and was really loose and was close to my spinal cord and I was hospitalized for five days in Berlin and then came back here and saw some doctors. I had some nerve damage, it was numb and on the right side of my body. I think that we all realized that it was a pretty serious injury, especially when I came back here and did some tests and saw some doctors. I don’t really like the drama of it, but I realize I was pretty lucky.”

4. Joaquin Phoenix

In 2006 Joaquin Phoenix had a close call when his car flipped on a winding Los Angeles side road after the breaks failed. Luckily, the director Werner Herzog was nearby to rush to the star’s aid. “I remember this knocking on the passenger window. There was this German voice saying, ‘Just relax.’ There’s the airbag, I can’t see, and I’m saying, ‘I’m fine.’ I am relaxed. Finally, I roll down the window, and this head pops inside. And he said, ‘No, you’re not.’ And suddenly I said to myself, ‘That’s Werner Herzog.'”


5. George Clooney

George Clooney sustained a serious head and spinal injury in 2005 while filming Syriana. He was hit over the head with a chair in a violent torture scene. Clooney sustained a torn dura mater, meaning the membrane that covers the spinal cord was ruptured and his brain was not properly supported by the fluid. This was so dangerous, in fact, that it left the actor contemplating suicide for a time. “I was at a point where I thought, ‘I can’t exist like this. I can’t actually live. I was lying in a hospital bed with an IV in my arm, unable to move, having these headaches where it feels like you’re having a stroke, and for a short three-week period, I started to think, ‘I may have to do something drastic about this. You start to think in terms of, you don’t want to leave a mess, so go in the garage, go in the car, start the engine. It seems like the nicest way to do it, but I never thought I’d get there. See, I was in a place where I was trying to figure out how to survive.”


6. Sharon Stone

Sharon Stone was almost killed by a serious brain aneurysm in 2001. The pain from the sudden attack was so severe that she felt like she had been shot in the head and it took the iconic actress two years to learn to read, talk without a stutter, and walk again. “I called my mom and I said, ‘Mom, I’m calling you from the emergency room…I’m having a brain hemorrhage…I had to learn to walk, hear, write, talk, remember and everything all over again. I thought that I was dying for a long time, even after I came home.”

7. Michael J. Fox

Michael J. Fox was almost accidentally hung in a stunt that went wrong in Back to the Future Part III. The actor misplaced his hands during a hanging scene, and he ended up really hanging by a noose. He passed out before director Bob Zemeckis noticed that he wasn’t acting. The ever unassertive Fox said: “I swung, unconscious, at the end of the rope for several seconds before Bob Zemeckis, fan of mine though he was, realized even I wasn’t that good an actor.”


8. Orlando Bloom

In 1998, the then 21 year-old Orlando Bloom fell off a three-story roof and broke his back. He was told he would never walk again as a result. To this day he has a large scar where screws and plates were installed to support his spine. He spoke of the incident and the resulting scars with Men’s Health magazine: “It hasn’t prevented me from doing anything. But it’s a constant reminder.”


9. Drew Barrymore

In 2001, Drew Barrymore came close to perishing in a house fire with her then husband Tom Green, but luckily their pet dog, Flossie, woke the couple and allowed them to flee with their lives.

10. Jason Statham

Jason Statham almost died during the filming of Expendables 3 when the brakes of a truck he was driving broke and it was catapulted into the ocean. Somehow, Statham managed to free himself from the vehicle and swim to safety. Jason Staham’s castmate, Sylvester Stallone, explained: “He faced death. He was test-driving a three-ton truck and the brakes ran out. It went down 60ft into the Black Sea and became impaled…If anyone else had been in that truck we would have been dead because we were all wearing heavy boots and gun belts. We would have drowned. But because Jason is an Olympic-quality diver he got out of it.”


11. Rachel Bilson

When she was 14 The O.C. star was so severely hurt in a car crash that she was pronounced dead at the scene before showing signs of life. “I basically died and then came back. The window went into my head”, said Bilson about the accident.


12. George Lucas

When he was in high school, long before Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Arc, George Lucas was involved in a near fatal car crash. He was driving home from school when a car slammed into the side of his vehicle causing it to flip several times, leaving him with several broken ribs and two collapsed lungs. “I was hit, broadsided, by a car that was going about 90 miles per hour. I should be dead… It did give me this perspective on life that said, you know, basically, I’m operating on extra credit… Let’s just go for it. I’m never afraid of dying. I feel like what I’m getting is bonus material.”