Last updated: Oct 15, 2008
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We polled celebs, writers, and other famous folks and asked what theyre grateful for, what scared them most, and more. Here are their intimate answers.


Im most grateful for…
“For my good health!” — Scarlett Johansson, starring in The Spirit, out December 2008

“When our daughter, Audrey, was born seven weeks early right before Christmas and was healthy.” — Grammy-winner Tim McGraw, appearing in the movie Four Christmases

"When youre diagnosed with breast cancer it really makes you stop and think about what is important in life. Im grateful for every new, healthy day I have and for early detection, which I believe is the reason I am still here and stronger than before!” — Olivia Newton-John, singer and partner with Curves in launching the Liv Aid, a breast self-exam aid that helps women do breast self-exams correctly

“To be able to wake up in the morning and do the job that you love? And to be able to live from it, too? I am so grateful.” — Penelope Cruz

“I am grateful that I have my healthy, wonderful children.” — Lori Loughlin, 90210

“I feel the most grateful every day when I meditate or do yoga or eat a beautiful, delicious, cruelty-free meal made from plant-based foods. These things remind me of how fortunate I am and how healthy I feel.” — Alicia Silverstone

“It may seem strange, but the most grateful Ive ever felt was when I was held up at gunpoint. After I handed over my wallet and the mugger ran off into the woods, I thought, Thank you for not shooting me. I was overwhelmingly glad to be alive and unharmed.” — Juliana Hatfield, musician (her latest CD is How to Walk Away) and author of the memoir When I Grow Up

“After my horrible divorce had finally settled, I took a train up the coast to Cinque Terre in Italy. I bought a simple lunch of octopus salad and fresh bread. And I hiked to a beautiful remote spot, found a rock near the waves, and sat alone in the sun eating. My joy at this was so disproportionate to the simplicity of the setting (cold salad, a hunk of bread, a rock, and sunlight) that you could call it euphoria. My gratitude was immense, because I realized that I had pulled through a period of dark years and depression, and now a new life was opening for me.” — Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

“The second my son was born. Because I had cancer, I was unable to carry my own child and we had to have a surrogate. I will never be as grateful to or for anything as I am for my son and the woman who carried him.” — Marissa Jaret Winokur, Tony award–winning actress and television personality

“When my grandmother, who I was very close with, died about six years ago, she left some money to her offspring and grandchildren. It came when I was in the midst of a nasty divorce, and I was financially strapped. I was thinking, Im going to end up homeless in a shelter with my kids. It felt like some angel came down and plucked me out of that mess. I feel like she knew and she was there. I was grateful that she had planned, and now I say to myself, ‘Where am I planning ahead with my children?” — Jennifer Berman, MD, author of For Women Only: A Revolutionary Guide to Overcoming Sexual Dysfunction and Reclaiming Your Sex Life

“I am grateful that I can spend time with my children. For me, the priority is spending time with them over, say, housekeeping or cooking. I want to make sure theyre happy, fulfilled, and having a good time. And that theyre enjoying projects and camps and whatever theyre involved in. Thats far more important to me than me going to bed—and all the toys that are left out in the living room!” — Soledad OBrien, CNN anchor and special correspondent




The time I felt most scared...
“When I was told I had cancer. I fought hard to stay focused on beating it, to fight for my exciting future. I was very proactive with my doctors and faced it head on! Never say never!” — Marissa Jaret Winokur

"My scariest moment was when my father was shot. I was in high school, just a frightened child—not sure if her father was going to be all right, seeing her mother cry, trying to be brave. The bullet grazed the major vein in his hip and almost shattered his knee. He made it through, though. Im a lucky person.” — Carrie Ann Inaba, judge on ABCs Dancing With the Stars

“When I was a neurosurgery resident, I got a 911 call from the emergency room to come down. I thought it was a consult, but found out that my son had fractured his skull. He had been running around the supermarket and had fallen off a cart onto the cement. He was trying to be Superman! He lost consciousness momentarily, and I was absolutely petrified, as I know what can happen with severe head injury. At that moment, I thought, Are you a brain surgeon, or are you a father? For me it was simple: I was a father. I called my best friend who was the chief resident and asked him to please take care of my son. Everything was fine. But it was the most terrifying moment in my life.” — Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, MD, neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital and star on ABCs Hopkins

“I was most scared when my mother suffered a massive stroke. My sister and I were in the ER, waiting to see if she would ever regain consciousness. My way of dealing with it was to lean on my sister and to be there for her to lean on. P.S.: My mom made it and is doing great today!” — Stacy London, cohost of TLCs What Not to Wear




The most helpful health advice I ever heard…
“That my health was my responsibility...not a doctors or anyone elses. It was the knowledge that what I put in my body affects how I feel and what sickness I get or dont get.” — Alicia Silverstone

"Someone told me to stop drinking coffee because I suffered from insomnia. Its been one year with no coffee, and now I sleep perfectly well, Im not stressed during the day, and my energy level is balanced.” — Carmindy, beauty specialist on TLCs What Not to Wear

“That we should be getting, as adults, at least eight hours of sleep every night. Its a myth that the older you get, the less sleep you need. Were all so damn busy, we want to cram everything in to a day! Youve really got to just turn the light out.” — Alfre Woodard, NBCs My Own Worst Enemy

“Chew your food, and savor every bit. I put my chocolate in the freezer—when I put it in my mouth, it takes longer for it to dissolve, and so I eat less of it.” — Giada De Laurentiis, chef and host of Food Networks Giada at Home

“In 1965, I was advised to stop dieting, skipping meals, starving myself, and then bingeing, which was only making me fatter and fatter and more desperate to shed the extra 35 pounds I was lugging around. I taught myself to eat three wholesome meals and a small treat of something I loved each day. After two years, I had lost all the extra weight—and Ive never gained it back. Of course, exercise, daily exercise, was part of the formula and remains so to this day.” —Jane Brody, personal-health columnist, New York Times

“In my 30s I was going through a tough patch and decided to see a therapist. I was so tough on the outside but felt like a Faberge egg on the inside. I was sensitive to what everyone thought about me—trying to please everyone and, in the process, pleasing no one, particularly myself. I was miserable. The therapists words were very simple: ‘What you think of me is none of my business. Thats it. That statement allowed me to tune out the outside world. If someone doesnt like me, it really isnt my business! I stopped living my life trying to get approval and adulation. I started living myself for me—being kind and responsible and working hard—but living for me. I have never looked back.” — Nancy Snyderman, MD, NBC News chief medical editor and author of Girl in the Mirror: Mothers and Daughters in the Years of Adolescence

“I have two tips, both given to me by my grandmother when I was around 5: Wash your face every night, and take vitamins every day. It worked for her. Shes 97 and doesnt have wrinkles.” — Stacy London

“A famous Beverly Hills nutritionist told me that her two secret antioxidant-packed, cancer-fighting weapons were broccoli sprouts and prunes—both of which I always keep in my kitchen.” — Jancee Dunn, author of the novel Dont You Forget About Me

“It was when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I was 187 pounds with a blood glucose level of about 495. My doctor said, ‘Sherri, if you dont start eating right and exercising, you are in line to have a stroke and amputation, and early death might be a part of your future. Who will be around to take care of your son? Ive since lost 37 pounds and have been taken off my diabetes medication.” — Sherri Shepherd, comedian and cohost on ABCs The View

“I was recently told by a doctor that Id feel better in 10 years than I do today if I just start to exercise regularly. Very motivating advice!” — Kate Spade, designer

“Not to be concerned with what my body looks like, but to keep healthy. Id much rather be healthy than too skinny.” — Jodi Lyn OKeefe, Foxs Prison Break

“My obstetrician said, ‘Eat less, move more. Thats it.” — Elizabeth Cohen, CNN medical correspondent and author of What Your Doctor Doesnt Tell You




The most physically painful moment Ive ever had...
“Nothing comes close: The worst pain of all is a bone marrow extraction [that she had because of a suspected lymphoma; it was later ruled out]. Sign me up for labor any day. At least you get something good out of it!” — Nancy Snyderman, MD

“It was when my son Jeffrey Charles was born prematurely at 25 weeks. He had severe bleeding on both sides of his brain, a hole in his intestines, and a hole in an artery near his heart. The doctors predicted he would probably have severe cerebral palsy, severe mental retardation, and many operations. The entire time he fought for his life, I thought Id never smile, laugh, or be able to make people laugh again. During his fight, I had to put the ‘comedienne-actress Sherri on the shelf with the fine china and become the ‘fierce momma lioness Sherri. I fought along with my son, with prayer and love. We got through it, and three years later he is a running, walking, talking miracle.” — Sherri Shepherd

“Going into labor. Despite the fact that Im a physician, Im the biggest wimp and screamed and complained about the epidural. I cant even stand an IV prick!” — Jennifer Berman, MD

“Eleven years ago, I injured my shoulder, which was very painful. Then I tried yoga. Its amazing how something bad can turn into something good.” — Lisa Edelstein, Foxs House

Get more intimate answers from celebs, writers, and other famous folks here.