"I was near death," says the Oscar nominee of what happened "at the beginning of 2006"

By Caris Davis and Stephen M. Silverman
Updated March 10, 2008 10:15 AM

Oscar nominee Samantha Morton has for the first time revealed that in spring 2006 she suffered a stroke so debilitating that she was “near to death” and forced to retreat to the shadows for 18 months, for fear of word about her condition affecting her career.

The actress, 30, also tells the new issue of Observer Music Monthly that the paralyzing attack forced her to spend more than a year learning how to walk again.

“I was near to death,” Morton is quoted as saying. “I had a stroke at the beginning of 2006.”

The stroke is believed to have been triggered by a freak accident in her London home when a ceiling collapsed, leaving her with serious head injuries.

Morton was Oscar nominated in 2000, for Woody Allen’s Sweet and Lowdown, and in 2004, for Jim Sheridan’s In America. In 2002, she was seen in the Steven Spielberg sci-fi movie Minority Report, starring Tom Cruise. She played a clairvoyant.

Earlier this year she won a Golden Globe for her depiction of serial killer Myra Hindley in the HBO drama Longford.

Therapy With Friends

Following the stroke, Morton learned to walk again with the help of her close friend Jason Pierce, 42, a vocalist with the band Spiritualized (and who had just recuperated from pneumonia), and his girlfriend Juliette Larche.

“Jason and I have been mirroring each other,” said the actress. “He was really sick and then I had a stroke at the beginning of [2006].”

Added Morton: “Their friendship knows no bounds. He was the only person I knew who understood what that was like, being near to death. He is very courageous and he helped me get through it all.”

The stoke forced her to pull out of a starring role opposite Woody Harrelson in Transsiberian, in which she was replaced by fellow British actress Emily Mortimer.

At the time, it was only reported that injuries sustained by the ceiling collapse in her home had forced her withdrawal.

Now Fully Recovered

Now fully recovered, Morton gave birth on Jan. 4 of this year to Edie, a daughter whose father is Morton’s fiancé Harry Holm, whom she met in 2005 when he directed her in a video for the band The Victims.

She has a 7-year-old daughter Esme with her former partner, actor Charlie Creed-Miles.