As general election campaigning begins in earnest, Ann Romney recounted a recent health scare and detailed the limitations that her multiple sclerosis diagnosis brings to her everyday life, explaining that despite the rigors of the campaign trail there are times she needs to take a break.
"Most people, when they get to empty, they have a reserve tank - and with MS you go to empty, you are on empty, that's it, you are done and you literally collapse. You can't even walk anymore, you can't even talk anymore. You are done and that's one you don't ever want to go," Ann Romney told "Entertainment Tonight's" Nancy O'Dell, describing in detail how her MS may limit the time she spends on the trail with her husband.
Romney said that before the Super Tuesday contests she "had a little bit of a scare," explaining the symptoms in the interview.
"What happens is that I start to almost lose my words, I can't think, I can't get words out," Romney said at the interview at the Palm Too steakhouse in New York City. "I start to stumble a little bit and so those things were happening and I thought, 'Uh oh, big trouble.'"
Wearing a black top and a white beaded necklace, Romney said the long hours and rigorous campaign schedule can make her MS symptoms flare up.
"For people that have MS, there are certain rules that we've got to follow," Romney said in the interview that aired Thursday evening. "One is go to bed on time, don't have stress in your life, eat balanced meals every day and, of course, being on the campaign trail none of those things work. And it's been a hard thing for me to balance. If I feel myself getting a little off balanced, a little unusually fatigued I'm like, 'See you later!'"
Romney had a rigorous schedule in the days leading up to Super Tuesday, stopping in five states and being by her husband's side at more than a dozen campaign events. Afterwards, she immediately took a few days off in Boston before going to Florida with her husband. She often takes days off the trail, spending time at her home outside of Boston and in La Jolla, Calif., where the Romneys have another home. She even took 10 days off the trail after the March 20 Illinois primary, spending it in California.
O'Dell asked Romney about her 2008 breast cancer diagnosis, something she rarely talks about in detail. Romney said she was "diagnosed very early" with a mammogram, but the radiation was exceptionally hard on her because of her MS.
"I still had to go through surgery and through radiation and having the MS it kind of really put me in a hole for awhile," Romney said. "The radiation really kind of knocked my flat."
She said her MS "may have scarred her" and "left her a little bruised," but she's now "more open and more compassionate for those that are suffering."
In an earlier interview on another entertainment program, "Extra," Romney recounted how riding horses helps her keep her MS symptoms at bay because "they make you use your balance and your core."
"It's very healing," Romney said.
She repeated similar thoughts to O'Dell, saying, "It's the rhythm of the horse, it's the peacefulness of them. They have such a wonderful, solid feeling to them."
The interview had its lighter moments, as well, with Romney weighing in on whether her husband should do "Saturday Night Live," although she said he hasn't made a decision whether he wants to go on or not. He told Diane Sawyer earlier this month it "sounded like a lot of fun."
"I think he should," Ann Romney said. "Who knows when he will do that or how, but I think at some point I think it would be fun for him to do that."
Romney said the "SNL" episodes featuring Jason Sudeikis as her husband are "funny," but "not accurate."
"Mitt is a very funny guy," Ann Romney said, before explaining why Sudiekis' portrayal is not correct.
"He doesn't comb his hair when we are not going places," she said with a laugh. "It's all over the place."
"Entertainment Tonight" also played a clip of Kristen Wiig, who plays Ann Romney on "SNL," inviting her to come on the show.
Romney said she would go on and it "would be a great thrill."
In another, lighter moment on "Extra," Romney was asked to share one secret of her husband's that no one knows about.
"Our first date was going to 'The Sound of Music,'" Romney recounted. "He picked me up, he had washed his car. It was spotless."