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Jennifer Esposito got serious about health issues after tooth fell out on set

Published 04/10/2016

Jennifer Esposito
Jennifer Esposito

The Crash star spent seven hours in a hospital psychiatric ward as she was seeking treatment for her severe stomach issues.

Actress Jennifer Esposito has her former Samantha Who co-star Melissa McCarthy to thank for urging her to seek out help that became a celiac disease diagnosis.

The Crash star admits she had been suffering undiagnosed health issues for years when a tooth suddenly fell out while she was filming a scene on the 2008 TV series, and McCarthy told her it was time to get serious about her wellbeing.

"We were dear friends... and she knew I was struggling for a while," Jennifer tells Access Hollywood Live. "I was having panic attacks and I would sleep all through lunch... She knew I was searching and kept going to doctor after doctor.

"My tooth fell out in the middle of a scene with her and Christina (Applegate), and I looked at them and said, 'Did my tooth just fall out out of my mouth?'

"Melissa said, 'You're ill...' I said, 'I know, but what do you do?' I was with three or four doctors at that time... (They were saying) everything from 'you need therapy' hypochondria, to 'you're stressed - you're in a crazy business; it's difficult'... I just kept pushing and I went to one female doctor and she sat with me for about an hour and she took a test for celiac and she called me and said, 'You're the worst case I've ever seen, I don't know how you're alive!'"

In her new book, Jennifer's Way, Esposito reveals one medic transferred her to the psychiatric ward of a hospital after she shared her suicidal thoughts with him as he was treating her.

She explains, "I was in such bad shape I said, 'Please keep me here in the hospital. I cannot go home. I'm jumping out of my skin'. He kept me but he kept me in the psych ward because I said, 'I wanna jump out the window'... I thought, 'This is not OK!'"

Jennifer spent seven hours in the ward with severely disturbed and unstable people and lost her cool when it came to meal time, adding, "It was a platform of food with pigs in a blanket and fruit in cans and I thought, 'This is what you're giving these people to eat? I know now this is related to my gut. Maybe these people have a similar thing'.

"I thought if I ever get outta here alive - because it was a very scary time - then I would do something."

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