Ryan Seacrest Finally Opens Up About Viral Health Scare That Happened Live On The Air

Ryan Seacrest is a man with his hands in a lot of different pots, but these days he’s trying to slow down at least a little. A year and a half ago, he was hosting an episode of American Idol when he had a health scare on live television. Fans expressed concern he might be having a stroke, and now the host of both daytime and nighttime TV, not to mention radio programming, is speaking out about what happened and the changes he's made since. 

The incident in question occurred in May of 2020 and happened while Ryan Seacrest was hosting one of American Idol’s infamous live episodes. During the moment, his face drooped and his speech slurred a bit. People were very concerned, but at the time Seacrest only said “exhaustion” and too much work were to blame. Now, however, he’s spoken out more candidly about how the incident changed his approach to life and his career. 

In a Wall Street Journal profile, Ryan Seacrest said that he is uncomfortable talking about what health issue happened exactly leading to the Idol moment and him missing from Live! the following day, but it did mean major changes for the host himself. He said: 

It’s personal, but I definitely knew that I needed to slow down. ... I just had burnt myself out. I was absolutely beat and fatigued and just wasn’t letting myself accept that. Now I do.

I don’t think there’s any question among the fans about how much Ryan Seacrest is honestly involved in. He hosts American Idol. For years, he did all of E’s Red Carpet events. He is the second chair on Live with Kelly and Ryan and has appeared in more than a thousand episodes in that role. He has his own radio programming block that gets syndicated in many places. He produces plenty of projects, including TV shows. He even hosts Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve

While a lot of this stuff is still on his plate, Ryan Seacrest did say he is trying to cut back these days. Keeping up with the Kardashians ended. He took a break from Live! with Kelly and Ryan shortly after the incident. He made other life changes, as well, including ending his years-long relationship with Shayna Taylor. He noted in the interview that he “is sure” the breakup was his “fault.” (For her part, she’s made cagey comments about “commitment.”)   He also wrapped his tenure on the red carpet circuit at E!

I doesn’t seem as if it was easy for the longtime TV and radio personality. He related in the interview that he has had trouble with the word "no" many times over the course of his career. 

To say no to things is difficult. You want to say 'yes.' When I say 'no' to something, I feel guilt in terms of an obligation.

In a particularly interesting observation, Ryan Seacrest said he spent his thirties not saying no and missing major moments. We're talking things like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Family events, friends events, chances to make connections outside of work. All those things were often missed, and Seacrest is very open about it. He noted these days he "look[s] at my scheduling for major marquee moments." He makes the time. 

While I wouldn't wish a health incident on live TV on anyone, in some ways, it looks as if that moment may have spurred the Live host to find a better balance. Now 46, he said he's looking toward a future that may even be able to involve a family and more personal space. We'll be sure to keep you updated as the host moves forward. 

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.