Sharon Stone has bared all for a new photoshoot, and opened up in the accompanying interview about the life-changing stroke she suffered in 2001 that left her in intensive care for nine days.
The star, who was Oscar-nominated in 1995 for Scorsese film Casino, only recently revealed the gruelling two-year recovery from the massive brain haemorrhage involved having to learn to walk and talk again, and she now says she feels the experience made her “more emotionally intelligent.”
“It took two years for my body just to absorb all the internal bleeding I had. It almost feels like my entire DNA changed,” she told Harper's Bazaar. “My brain isn’t sitting where it used to, my body type changed, and even my food allergies are different. I became more emotionally intelligent.
“I chose to work very hard to open up other parts of my mind. Now I’m stronger. And I can be abrasively direct. That scares people, but I think that’s not my problem. It’s like, I have brain damage; you’ll just have to deal with it.”
Stone also discussed how she felt more comfortable during the revealing photoshoot than she did when she posted for Playboy in 1990 - something she only undertook after being told she was losing jobs because she wasn't seen as “sexy”.
“I’m aware that my ass looks like a bag of flapjacks but I’m not trying to be the best-looking broad in the world,” the Basic Instinct star told the magazine.
“At a certain point you start asking yourself, ‘What really is sexy?’ It’s not just the elevation of your boobs. It’s being present and having fun and liking yourself enough to like the person that’s with you.
“If I believed that sexy was trying to be who I was when I did Basic Instinct, then we’d all be having a hard day today.”
Stone, 57, was also refreshingly honest about struggling to rebuild her career, including what she described as an “humiliating” stint on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in 2010, when she forgot her lines on set, but resolved to use the opportunity as best she could.
“I thought, ‘You know what? I got thrown off the bullet train, and now I'm going to have to crawl up a hill of broken glass, get back on the train that's going a million miles an hour, and work my way from the cattle car up.
“‘That's just the way it is, so I'd better get humble and shut the f**k up and do the job. Because if I can't do this job, I'm certainly not going to be able to do anything else’. ”
Words: Amy Swales / Images: Rex Features, @harpersbazaarus