Former ‘NCIS’ star Pauley Perrette shares emotional message after suffering a “massive” stroke

Pauley Perrette left the world of crime solving on ‘NCIS’ following several distasteful incidents. Instead, she now focuses her time on comedy and helping both people and animals in need. 

Suffice to say, the 52-year-old has had a long and successful career. However, everything could’ve ended a year ago when – as Perrette described it herself – she “cheated death.” Through social media, the actress revealed that she suffered a “massive” stroke, and gave her fans a new health update.

Pauley Perrettte starred as Abby Sciuto on NCIS for 15 seasons. Sadly, her ending on the show was quite acrimonious.

Pauley Perrette as Abby Sciuto on ‘NCIS’

In 2017, she announced she was leaving NCIS. Then, just days later, she took to Twitter, where she implied she’d left the show due to “multiple physical” offenses. According to several news outlets, Perrette and Harmon’s relationship had turned rather icy due to a dog bite on set. 

Via Twitter, she shared an emotional farewell:

“I hope everyone will love and enjoy EVERYTHING ABBY not only for the rest of this season but for everything she has given all of us for 16 years,” Perrette wrote. “All the love, all the laughter, all the inspiration…I love her as much as you do.” 

Saying goodbye to a character she had played for over a decade wasn’t easy for Perrette. Speaking with CBS Sunday Morning, the actress said she felt down about her departure from the popular show.

“It makes me sad to imagine a world without Abby in it. It really makes me sad,” Perrette said. 

“I’m still grieving. It feels differently every day, and it’s sad. I usually cry in my car every day when I drive to work. And then I usually cry on my way home at some point. And then I take a deep breath and I go, ‘Alright’.”

In 2019, she wrote on Twitter that she was “never going back to NCIS“, adding that she was “terrified” of lead actor Mark Harmon.

Is Pauley Perrette returning to ‘NCIS’?

Yet though Pauley made it clear that she never wants to return to NCIS, series boss Steven D Binder suggested that there might be a way to bring back the fan favorite in the future.

Binder said fans would start seeing her presence more in the coming seasons. Moreover, the showrunner added that they want to acknowledge her legacy on the show.

“I’d like to start feeling her [presence] a little more. I thought we were a little remiss in not [doing that sooner], but there are so many moving parts,” Binder said.

“But she is still out there fighting the good fight and watching us, and she is a part of us and we’re a part of her.”

Now, Pauley’s been through a lot during the last decade, and though she’s not defined by it, NCIS definitely played a big part in shaping her.

“This show restored my faith in people, in this industry. SO GRATEFUL I worked with this cast & crew,” she wrote on Twitter“Best people I’ve EVER worked with. Healed me. Changed me. Made me whole. So Blessed.”

Speaking with USA Today, she declined to discuss her tweets further.

“That is a part of my past now, and it’s nothing that I have any need to talk about again, other than one thing: I’m certainly grateful for having the opportunity to play that character and I always will be,” she said.

“It makes me sad to imagine a world without Abby”

While Perrette felt like saying goodbye to NCIS was the right thing to do, leaving a workplace where she’d spent 15 years of her life wasn’t easy.

In fact, as she told CBS, Pauley was very emotional as the end of her time on the successful television show approached.

“I, like, usually cry in my car every single day when I drive to work,” she told CBS. “And I usually cry on my way home at some point. And then I take a deep breath, and I go, ‘All right,’ you know?”

“It makes me sad to imagine a world without Abby in it,” Pauley continued. “It really makes me sad. … Abby made science cool and attainable for young women. And this television character did more than encourage it. It made it cool, it made it exciting, it made it fun.”

At the same time, her period on the show left her with several great friends. Since last year, she’s back with the CBS Network, starring in the comedy show Broke.

“Michael Weatherly [starring as Anthony DiNozzo on NCIS] is like my brother,” Perrette said.

“I love him more than anything on the planet Earth. He’s awesome. And CBS is home to me. The network and the studio has always been really, really good to me.”

Pauley has proven herself to be a person who cares about others and who certainly wants to give back to the people that helped her earlier in her career.

Philanthropic work

The celebrated forensic scientist studied at both Valdosta State University and John Jay College. In 2018, she shared that she’d created two scholarships to benefit female students majoring in criminal justice. She wants women to follow in Abby’s footsteps and pursue a career in science and math.

“Abby is not just a TV character for people,” Perrette told People. “These young girls have modeled their entire lives off of her. It’s like Abby has raised a couple of generations of young girls and has inspired this international phenomenon of young women going into math and science and STEM programs because she made it accessible, cool, attainable and fun.”

As it turns out, not only does Paulet do plenty to help humans, but also animals.

In 2013, she received the Tom Mankiewicz Leadership Award from tthe LA Zoo. Perrette supports several animal causes, and all three of her dogs are rescues.

“I’m so obsessed with animals,” Perrette told the Wall Street Journal.

“So much so that my [NCIS] producers started giving Abby scenes with animals.”

So what is Pauley up to now? She was back in television comedy with Broke, though that show was labeled as a “limited series.” The last episode aired in May of 2020. As of today, no new credits have been added to Pauley’s name.

Pauley Perrette suffered ‘massive’ stroke

Perrette has plenty of experience working in comedy, having featured in both Frasier and The Drew Carey Show. So it was the perfect time for her to do a comedy show again.

“It’s such a weird time for everybody,” she told USA Today. “I was already so excited about people seeing our show because it’s my favorite show I’ve ever done, so funny, sweet and awesome. But now I’m really excited in a whole other way. I feel people need this right now. It really makes people happy, When we’re in times like these, when your job is specifically to bring people joy, that’s a great job.”

On September 2, though, Pauley announced some chilling news. Through her Twitter account, the former NCIS star revealed that she suffered a life-threatening stroke last year.

“It’s 9/2. One year ago I had a massive stoke [sic],” Perrette wrote. “Before that I lost so many beloved family and friends …Yet still a survivor after this traumatic life I’ve been given so far.”

“How many times do I cheat death?” Perrette asked in a video she included in the post, adding that she lost her dad and cousin before the medical event.

“I’ve been through a lot in the last two years — things that are harder than having a stroke,” she said. “But I’m still here and I’m so grateful. And thank you, those of you who are my friends. Thank you. God bless you all. I’m still here.”

New health update

In an interview with Entertainment Now, the 53-year-old actress recalled the terrifying moment she had her stroke.

“I woke up and had no feeling on the entire right side of my body,” Perrette said. “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.’”

At first, she was hesitant of following the doctor’s advice. The former NCIS star wanted to speak to her therapist – who also is a neurologist – first. But the doctor told her to head straight for the ER.

“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,” Perrette recalled. “They know how serious a stroke is and how immediate care is imperative.”

Today, one year later, Pauley Perrette is gladly doing very well. Speaking to People, she wants to raise awareness about strokes, and how they can happen to anyone, no matter what age. 

“I am doing great and am super healthy now,” Perrette told the outlet. “I want to thank everyone for their concern and take this opportunity to really plead for everyone to educate themselves on the signs of a stroke and the importance of getting medical help immediately.”

“Also that you can have a stroke AT ANY AGE, which I did not know. Teenagers can have a stroke,” she added.

Pauley Perettes’ dark love life

Pauley had a strong fanbase while starring as forensic scientist Abby Sciutto on NCIS. She has maintained that fanbase with new projects, but the actress has maintained a strict private life outside the spotlight.

In 2000, Perrette wed musician Coyote Shivers. The couple’s union lasted until 2004, before they finalized their divorce.

As per reports, their divorce wasn’t a simply affair at all. In fact, even their marriage turned dark in 2004. Perrette went even as far as taking out formal restraining orders against her husband, claiming that Shivers stalked her.

“I have a permanent restraining order, but those can only do so much,” she said in a 2018 interview with 48 Hours, as quoted by People.

“The biggest problem we have right now is that the stalking laws have not been updated since the internet,” she added.

“That is just ridiculous because a lot of stalkers use the internet, that’s their main tool. There’s a lot we have to get changed but especially internet stalking laws.”

A couple of years after the split from Shivers, Pauley dated cameraman Michael Bosman. The two got engaged, but they never married.

“I don’t have to have a boyfriend”

Pauley also got engaged to former British Royal Marine Thomas Arklie. They were to tie the knot, though decided to not get married until California’s Proposition 8 – eliminating the right of same-sex couples to marry – was abolished.

It’s not clear why or when the couple split. However, reports suggest they went separate ways in late 2016 or early 2017.

In 2018, in an interview with CBS, Pauley said she wasn’t looking for a partner anytime soon.

“Tried it. Not for me. Not at all,” the actress stated. “Probably the best decision I ever made in my life was the time that it took me to go like, ‘Wait a minute. This is silly. I don’t have to have a boyfriend, or a husband, or a girlfriend, or anything, you know?’”

Perrette added: “I don’t need any of that. Like, I do whatever I want. I do whatever I want. And I think that is rad!”

We are so glad that Pauley Perrette made it through after having the stroke. We wish her all the best in the future and hope to see her back on-screen soon.

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