'Fifty Shades of Grey' author E.L. James shares frightening amnesia episode

·3-min read
Author E. L. James attends a special fan screening of
E. L. James attends a special fan screening of "Fifty Shades of Grey", 2015 (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

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Fifty Shades of Grey author E L James has spoken out about the stressful episode in her life which led to her forgetting everything for a short time.

The Christian Grey creator opened up to Kate Thornton on the latest White Wine Question Time episode about what doctors called transient global amnesia — a period of around 18 hours when the author could not remember anything.

“That was incredibly stressful. I had this moment where I just forgot everything.

“I think it was September, October 2019 and I was in Cornwall and I just suddenly started feeling odd. I phoned my husband who was walking our dogs and he came back and he found me sat in our little study that I have in our house in Cornwall and I couldn't remember where I was.”

WATCH: E L James opens up about her frightening experience of amnesia

She was initially taken to Bodmin hospital, but because there was no major trauma unit there she was taken in an ambulance and blue-lighted to Truro.

She continued: “I have no recollection of any of this. I knew who I was and I had kids and all of that kind of thing but I thought the Prime Minister was David Cameron.

“I just couldn't believe it when they said: ‘No it’s Boris. It’s Boris Johnson.’ ‘You’re kidding!’

CORAL GABLES, FL - APRIL 29:  E.L.James greets fans and signs copies of her book
E L James greets fans and signs copies of her book "Fifty Shades Of Gray" at Books and Books in Florida. (Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images)

“I couldn't wrap my head around it. Not that I remember any of this because I didn't make any short term memory during that time.”

She said the episode was probably linked with some of the more difficult parts of the success behind the hugely popular series, and that it led to panic attacks afterwards too.

James said: “I think it’s mainly to do with the negative sides of all of this. I didn’t have a good time making the first movie, I shudder thinking about it."

Listen to the full episode and hear E L James talk openly to Kate Thornton about her ‘fast and furious’ rise to fame and how she won’t rule out a return of Ana and Christian

The author said the episode lasted around 18 hours, and that doctors termed it transient global amnesia. She admitted that went on to have panic attacks after the event too.

Read more: Jamie Dornan Felt Less Pressure Going Into ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Sequels

“That was it, and please God it doesn’t happen again. And my poor husband, I got very clingy after that. I suffered a spate of panic attacks but that seems to have died down as well.”

E.L. James arrives at the RNIB at the Hilton Park Lane Hotel in London.
E.L. James arrives at the RNIB at the Hilton Park Lane Hotel in London.

Thornton asked her about the causes of the temporary condition, wondering if it was the stress of the previous rollercoaster ride to fame catching up with her.

“I think it was probably stress related,” James said.

“You can get it if you step into very very cold water, if you’ve had incredibly rigorous sex, sadly that wasn’t the cause!

“And it’s stress. So I think it was probably a catch up, yes. It was a bit of a wake up, just sort yourself out Erika. I still haven't but I'll try!”

Buy it: Freed by E L James | £5 (Was £8.99) from Amazon

WATCH: E L James on researching for Fifty Shades

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