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NCIS’ Pauley Perrette Gets Candid About The ‘Massive Stroke’ She Suffered A Year Ago After Revealing The Health Scare To Fans

Pauley Perrette as Abby Sciuto in NCIS
(Image credit: CBS)

For 15 seasons, Pauley Perrette starred in NCIS as Abby Sciuto, the upbeat Goth who helped Leroy Jehtro Gibbs and his team solve crimes as a forensic scientist at Washington’s Navy Yard. While Perrette exited the popular CBS show back in 2018, she’s continued to share details to her fans about what’s going on in her personal life. This includes Perrette having recently commemorated the one-year anniversary of suffering a “massive stroke,” and now the actress has gotten candid about what it was like going through this health scare. 

Pauley Perrette has been through a lot over the last several years, including losing her father to COVID, so to pile a stroke on top of these personal tragedies is unfortunate. In a chat with ET, the NCIS actress recalled just what she experienced on that fateful day in September 2021, saying:

I woke up and had no feeling on the entire right side of my body. At first I thought I had just slept funny. When I kept realizing the extent of the numbness; couldn’t feel my finger touching my face, couldn’t feel my face being touched by my finger, couldn’t feel my laptop sitting on my lap, no feeling at all on the right hand side -- I could have burned myself or cut my finger off and wouldn’t have known -- I called my doctor and he said, 'GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM IMMEDIATELY.'

Pauley Perrette admitted that she was hesitant to follow this advice at first, and told this doctor that she planned to get a second opinion from her therapist, who’s also a neurologist, during an appointment later that same day. The doctor informed Perrette that if she managed to live until 5 p.m., which he was doubtful would happen, he believed her therapist would also recommend she go to the emergency room. So that’s just where she went, and Perrette continued the story thusly:

Walked into the ER and said, 'Hey, I can’t feel the right hand side of my body and…' BAM! OMG! I was on a gurney with a million things stuck in my arms and a bunch of medical people rushing me somewhere. They know how serious a stroke is and how immediate care is imperative.

From there, Pauley Perrette was admitted to the hospital’s stroke ward and had her speech and mobility checked, among other things. The actress acknowledged that she dealt with some “lingering effects” from the stroke for a few months, she ultimately “fared quite well” because she decided to go to the hospital as soon as possible. Perrette then added:

I am totally OK now, and really want people to get educated about all signs of a stroke, especially that you can have one at any age! By knowing signs of a stroke, we can save ourselves and others.

Hopefully Pauley Perrette going over her experience dealing with a stroke will lead to others following in her footsteps by seeking immediate care if they suffer such physical symptoms rather than waiting to see what else happens. As far as Perrette’s professional life goes, she was last seen leading the short-lived CBS comedy Broke, which aired from April to June of 2020. Since then, it seems as as though Perrette has retired from acting, and while it doesn’t look like there are any plans to bring Abby Sciuto back to NCIS, showrunner Steven D. Binder has said that he’d like to start referencing the character more. In February 2022, Perrette teamed with fellow NCIS actors Michael Weatherly, Diona Reasonover, Rocky Carroll, and Meredith Eaton, along with other notable TV stars, to help raise money for the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Needless to say we’ll let you know if it’s announced that Pauley Perrette will reprise Abby Sciuto on NCIS, but for now, the show’s 20th season premiere is carved out on the 2022 TV schedule for September 19.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.