Jimmy Kimmel reveals why he didn't want to get 'too close' to son Billy

PHOTO: Jimmy Kimmel attends the Lionel Richie Hand And Footprint Ceremony at TCL Chinese Theatre, March 7, 2018, in Hollywood, Calif.PlayTommaso Boddi/Getty Images
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Jimmy Kimmel revealed that he and his wife Molly McNearney were afraid to get "too close" to their son Billy after he was born with a heart defect.

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"There were secrets we kept from each other that we revealed only after the second surgery," the late-night talk host told Oprah Winfrey for O Magazine's April issue. "The biggest one was that, I think subconsciously, we didn’t want to get too close to the baby, because we didn’t know what was going to happen."

PHOTO: Kimmel is interviewed in the April issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.Ruven Afandor
Kimmel is interviewed in the April issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.

Both were surprised to learn that the other felt the same way, Kimmel told Winfrey.

"I don’t know if that’s right or wrong or common or uncommon. But when I told her I was feeling that way, she said, 'Oh, I’m so happy you said that because I was feeling that way too, and I didn’t want to express it.'"

Kimmel's son was born with a heart defect and has already undergone two open-heart surgeries, including one three days after his April 21 birth. The late-night host opened up to his viewers about his son's condition during an emotional 13-minute monologue that drew an outpouring of support.

Kimmel told Winfrey that he has no regrets about getting personal during his monologue.

PHOTO: Jimmy Kimmel on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Sept. 14, 2017.Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images
Jimmy Kimmel on "Jimmy Kimmel Live", Sept. 14, 2017.

"I don’t know if it was scary, but it was uncomfortable, and it’s not something I looked forward to. I definitely felt a sense of relief when it was over," he said. "And according to polls I’ve seen, it has cost me commercially. That’s not ideal, but I wouldn’t change anything I said."

Nor does Kimmel regret speaking out about the nation's health care or gun control.

"I know my job is, for the most part, to entertain people and make them laugh," he said. "That said, if I can be selfish every once in a while and talk about something serious, that’s important to me, then I do want to take that opportunity. But I don’t want to abuse my position. I pick my battles. Ninety percent of the time, I’ll joke around, but some of the jokes, I hope, make people think."

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