As a well-known lawyer, journalist and television personality, Star Jones has access to good medical advice, including the advice that saved her life three years ago when she was almost 47. Although she didn’t know then that 35 percent of American women die of heart disease, she is now committed to telling other women about their risks.

“I was terrified. But I loved myself enough to save my own life. If I convey one thing to other women it would be: ‘You’re worth it. Take care of yourself.’”

Shock and disbelief

On January 11, 2010, Jones received the news: She would have to undergo open-heart surgery to repair a defective heart valve. Without that surgery, she would either need more invasive surgery — relatively soon — or she would die. Her response was disbelief and shock. “I was angry. I had done everything I had to do to get healthy inside and out, including bariatric surgery, therapy and adopting a healthy lifestyle. And then this,” Jones says.

On March 17, 2010 — one week before her birthday — she checked into Mt. Sinai Hospital to undergo surgery by head cardiologist, Valentin Fuster, MD. During surgery, Jones’ heart was out of her body for 22 minutes.

Life goes on

After surgery, Jones threw herself into cardiac rehabilitation and continued eating healthy and staying centered. “Cardiac rehab gave me confidence,” she says.

“And now I’m not afraid to max it out at SoulCycle.” Was she scared? “I was terrified,” Jones admits. “But I loved myself enough to save my own life. If I convey one thing to other women it would be: ‘You’re worth it. Take care of yourself.’”