"They had a priest at the end of my bed," Chad Michael Murray recalled

By Dave Quinn
October 30, 2019 10:58 AM

Chad Michael Murray nearly died at the age of 15 when doctors failed to discover that he was bleeding internally.

The One Tree Hill alum, 38, recalled the scary experience on Tuesday during a visit to SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Show, explaining that his intestines had twisted, causing blood to build up in the surrounding area.

“They didn’t know what was wrong,” Murray told Jess Cagle and co-host Julia Cunningham.

At the time, Murray was playing football in high school. And as it turned out, his fit physique made it all the more challenging for doctors to come up with a diagnosis.

“This sounds so stupid — and trust me, I’m not on an ego trip when I say this — but because I was in physical good condition, my abdomen was tight and when I started bleeding internally, my stomach didn’t expand,” Murray said.

“Basically, my abs kept it flat so the doctors couldn’t tell I was bleeding,” he added. “They saw my red and white blood cells dropping but they didn’t know where it was going.”

Things got so bad that a member of the clergy was called in to perform last rites.

“I almost died,” Murray said. “They had a priest at the end of my bed. I remember, it was the only time I ever saw my dad cry — well, one of two times.”

So how did Murray recover? It was all thanks to the on-duty nurse.

“[She] saved my life that night,” Murray said. “Her name was Sandy, I’ll never forget her, we took her chocolates for years after until she moved hospitals. But she got four units of blood and saved my life that night, against the grain. She just did it. She locked the door, gave me four units of blood, and saved my life.”

Chad Michael Murray

The experience impacted Murray’s life in a profound way.

Years later, during his One Tree Hill tenure, he looked back at his time in the hospital as a reminder to why he pursued acting in the first place.

“Along the way, I forgot why I did it. And one morning, when I was 25, I woke up and I changed my perspective,” Murray said, recounting being in the hospital at 15. “The one thing that really saved me from that moment in life where I missed Christmas and I missed New Years was television and film. … These movies and television would be on and I would be like, ‘I want to do that man. I want to give people something to smile about. That’s what I want to do. I want to entertain so people can stop worrying about the mundane aspects of life.’ Maybe you’re going through something tough, I want to pull you out of it for two hours.”

“That’s why I became an actor in life and I remembered that,” Murray said. “I’m just having fun and trying to remember to do those things. Because that’s what it’s about, entertaining. It’s not about anything else for me but putting out good love and good energy in the world through my family, god, and my work.”

“I’m just super blessed to do what I do,” he also said. “I love my job.”

Chad Michael Murray
| Credit: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for GQ

Murray was on The Jess Cagle Show to promote the current season of Riverdale and his Hallmark Christmas movie Write Before Christmas.

As for his health now, he told Cagle and Cunningham that he focuses on clean eating and avoids alcohol to assure something like that doesn’t happen again.

“I fueled myself with food and I’ve made myself sick because of food,” he said. “I’ve been on the bad side of it and the good side of it.”

The Jess Cagle Show airs Mondays through Fridays at 3:00 p.m. PST on SiriusXM.