Arnold Schwarzenegger Nearly Died After Open-Heart Surgery — Then Made ‘Terminator 6’

Tudum: A Global Fan Event - Credit: Mauricio Santana/Getty Images
Tudum: A Global Fan Event - Credit: Mauricio Santana/Getty Images

Arnold Schwarzenegger revealed that his third open-heart surgery was upended by some unexpected complications that nearly ended his life.

In a recent video shared on YouTube, Schwarzenegger said the operation took place several years ago, just before he started working on Terminator: Dark Fate (released in 2019). Schwarzenegger remembered waking up after the procedure and seeing his doctor, who told him the operation had not gone as planned. The actor said the procedure was supposed to be a relatively non-invasive one to replace a heart valve, but his doctors “made a mistake and poked through the heart wall.”

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That puncture caused serious “internal bleeding,” forcing Schwarzenegger’s doctors to open him up quickly to save his life. The actor recalled his sarcastic reaction: “I said, ‘Well great, this is really great news. I mean, Jesus.’ So anyway, the bottom line is, you cannot roll the clock back. It was a disaster. I was in the middle of a disaster. So now it’s, how do I get out of it? You have to shift gears, collect yourself, and shift gears.”

Schwarzenegger went on to discuss his subsequent recovery, even sharing some footage of him walking around the hospital and building back his strength. There were serious risks if Schwarzenegger’s health languished: His doctors were particularly adamant about him exercising his lungs because of the risk posed by a potential pneumonia infection. But there were other concerns as well.

“I wanted to get really going with the exercise and get out of the hospital as quickly as possible, and then get going with the training again because three months later, I started with Terminator 6,” Schwarzenegger said. “I had to be in shape, I had to be able to move around, run around, lift things up, do the fight scenes. So we did it, because I had a positive attitude, I knew exactly how I was gonna get there, and I had the support system. Because none of this we can do by ourselves.”

Earlier this year, Schwarzenegger starred in the action-comedy TV series, FUBAR. His life and career — from bodybuilder to movie star to California Governor — were also covered in the three-part docuseries, Arnold. The film notably found Schwarzenegger addressing groping accusations and apologizing for his actions.

Recalling his initial response to the allegations after they were revealed before his 2003 election, Schwarzenegger said, “My reaction in the beginning, I was kind of… defensive. Today, I can look at it and kind of say, it doesn’t really matter what time it is. If it’s the Muscle Beach days of forty years ago, or today, that this was wrong. It was bullshit. Forget all the excuses, it was wrong.”

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